An American lawmaker has alleged that a US-based NGO in Pakistan has links with designated terrorist organizations. This NGO has been receiving financial aid from US Agency for International Development (USAID).
In a letter dated January 24 to USAID administrator Samantha Power, Congressman Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee requested suspension of the USAID funding to the NGO pending a full and in-depth review of these accusations.
Reportedly, the in question nonprofit organization, Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD), which is based in Michigan, is affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist terrorist organization that operates in South Asia. USAID granted HHRD a grant of $110,000 in October 2021 to cover the costs of shipping associated with its humanitarian relief work.
“This award was made despite longstanding, detailed allegations that HHRD is connected to designated terrorist organizations, terror financiers, and extremist groups,” McCaul’s letter read.
Moreover, McCaul stated that the aid agency has failed to investigate the allegations against the NGO in question or suspend the grants made to it despite detailed information provided by congressional staff earlier.
In November 2019, three Members of Congress requested that the State Department review these alleged ties to terrorism in a public letter, McCaul wrote. McCaul urged Samantha Power to conduct a personal and immediate review of the grants to HHRD and pause the grants until a full review is concluded.
“Please immediately personally review this grant to HHRD. I strongly urge you to pause this grant while you complete a thorough review of the allegations, to include coordination with the intelligence community, federal law enforcement, the State Department Counterterrorism Bureau, and the Department of Homeland Security,” McCaul added.
Reportedly, Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), the charitable arm of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist organization responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, is one of the sponsors of HHRD events in Pakistan.
It is pertinent to note that FIF has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States in 2016.
With reference to Pakistani media reports that the NGO organized a conference in Pakistan with both FIF and the Milli Muslim League, two branches of Lashkar-e-Taiba that are both designated as terrorist organizations by the US and the UN, several members of the US Congress, Jim Banks, Chuck Fleischmann, and Randy Weber wrote to the US State Department in 2019 asking for further investigations into the HHRD.
Concerns about the HHRD’s relationship with Al-Khidmat, Jamaat-e-Islami’s official charitable organization, were also expressed in McCaul’s letter.
(This piece is taken with gratitude from OpIndia)
(Panchmukha is interesting content floating on internet, brought by NewsBred for its readers. They don’t necessarily reflect our views but make our platform diverse.)