As of November 3rd, Islamist charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and 59 other organizations cannot be covered by Pakistani media. The groups in question are known to have ties to terrorist groups such as al-Qaida. Jamaat-ud-Dawa in particular is suspected of planning the three day terrorist siege of Mumbai, India’s financial capital, in 2008 which killed at least 166 people.
That siege was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a terrorist organization in which Hafiz Saeed, a cleric associated with JuD, is suspected of playing a leading role. Television or radio stations which break the ban will be in breach of Pakistani obligations under U.N. resolutions.
Not everyone is convinced that JuD is up to no good, or that Saeed is connected to LeT, but the latter organization has been listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations and the United States, and Saeed has had a $10 million bounty placed on him by the U.S. government.
Shortly before the official announcement of the ban, Saeed held a press conference to announce that JuD and affiliated, also banned groups, would be providing aid to victims of a recent earthquake in northern and northwestern Pakistan. Even before the media ban, JuD was among a number of groups which were prohibited from providing aid. Saeed stated that Pakistanis have been working with his charity and donating money despite the official stance against the group.
If banning nominally charitable groups from providing aid in situations like this seems odd, it’s important to remember that not all charities are non-partisan organizations. Non-profits in the United States routinely support politicians, and even charities here have political agendas, whether they act upon the openly or not. In the modern world, little if anything is not, or cannot be, politicized, and charities can provide excellent fronts for funneling money to terrorist organizations.