Pakistan Uncertain if ‘Arab Afghans’ Take Charity Money from Kuwait
Pakistan does receive funds from Kuwaiti charity groups but Islamabad does not know if they end up in the hands of anti-western "Arab Afghans" accused of terrorism, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
"Some Kuwaiti charity organizations continuously send donations to Pakistan to finance several projects but the Pakistani government doesn't know if part of these funds are going to the Arab Afghans," the first secretary at the Pakistani embassy in Kuwait, Mohammed Ifthikar, told the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas.
Arab Afghans are Arabs such as wanted terror suspect Osama bin Laden who originally went to Afghanistan to help fight the Russian invasion of the country in the 1980s.
Six of Kuwait's main Islamic charity societies released a joint statement Tuesday, refuting claims by Kuwaiti liberal groups that at least 100 Islamic charities illegally operated in the country, collecting funds to support terrorist organizations abroad.
"Kuwaiti charity organizations ... are keen on complete financial transparency in coordination and cooperation with the government. These societies present their financial and administrative reports to the government agencies in Kuwait, periodically and in accordance with the law," said the statement.
It added that Kuwaiti charity organizations "welcome any additional control and organizational measures to develop and organize their work for the purpose of protecting charity work."
The statement also threatened court action against those who accuse these charities of funding terrorism.
A political source told AFP earlier this week that the Kuwaiti cabinet had decided to take "serious measures" to control Islamic charity groups "illegally operating" in the country.
The source, who said the move was in line with worldwide efforts to combat terrorism following the September 11 attacks in the United States, said the government had decided to monitor and crack down on such groups.
"No one knows where the money is being funneled. Ordinary Muslims donate zakat money to these groups. The government has always turned a blind eye to these groups and hesitated to take any measures against them," the source said -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)