DOPEL analysis

The list of banned organizations[1] released by the National Assembly of Pakistan during 2012 names as many as 48 organizations that have been banned or have been put under the watch list. These organizations have been banned either due to their direct or indirect involvement in violent activities, such as hate speech through various means or due to their separatist or anti state ideologies.

The main idea behind DOPEL is to highlight the various activities of these banned organizations, which are undertaken to develop inroads into the society and various communities living across Pakistan. This analysis in particular is an effort to describe in detail the trends followed by these banned organizations in terms of communication and recruitment and the use of various tools which ultimately help them in fulfillment of their organizational objectives. The use of the various types of media, also termed as Ďmilitantsí mediaí has been particularly highlighted because it greatly helps the banned organizations in recruitment.

The banned organizations like Jaish-e Muhammad (JeM), Sipah-e Sahaba (SSP), Lashka-e Jhangvi (LeJ), Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT)/Jamat ud-Dawa (JuD) and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan etc directly recruit from the various madrassahs or religious seminaries that are operating across the country. However, they donít just rely on direct recruitment, but also indirectly recruit through various other means. These means or tools represent the trends followed by the banned organizations in terms of communications and recruitment.

The use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and various other social media platforms by the banned organizations has been highlighted in great detail. This trend points out that banned organizations are dynamic in terms of communication and are evolving with the passage of time. It also points out that these banned organizations donít just recruit from madrassahs but also target other segments of the society which are active on the social media.

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In addition to this, there are other organizations that are not included in the list but are linked to the banned organizations in one way or the other. For instance, certain publishers[2] publish books by banned organizations.

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Similarly, a number of studentís organizations are linked with banned organizations and carry out their promotional activities in schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutes. For instance, Al-Muhammadiya students Pakistan is associated with Jamat ud-Dawa, which is a banned organization, however, Al-Muhammadiya students Pakistan is not included in the list.

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In addition to social media, use of the mainstream media by the banned organizations has also been highlighted. However, a number of the mainstream newspapers previously associated with the proscribed organizations have been banned, but are still being published online. There are other newspapers that are not banned but are ideologically associated with banned organizations.

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Similarly, a number of magazines for women, children and men are associated with banned organizations, which are still being published.

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The social media platform is used by the banned organizations for promotion of their activities or communication with the target population.

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Social media pages are also used to highlight and advertise different events, competitions (sports and others) and publications of banned organizations. Different slogans associated with banned organizations are also promoted among the youth on various social media platforms.

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Service delivery as a tool has also be been highlighted in this analysis. This is one of the strongest tools used by the banned organizations. In Pakistan, a number of people live below the poverty line. This segment of the population is not always catered by the welfare activities of the state.[3] Therefore the banned organizations try to fill the gap and provide health facilities, shelter to the needy, provision of charity and matrimonial services etc to make inroads into various communities. A number of humanitarian organizations are also linked to these banned organizations, which carry out relief activities in flood affected or earthquake affected areas.

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Some of the banned organizations also ask their target groups for various forms of religious taxes such as Usher (applicable on the agricultural produce) and Zakat etc. These taxes are collected by the state and not by any private organization especially when a state is an Islamic Republic. This way banned organizations also challenge the writ of the state by acting as a state within a state.

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The detailed analysis has been categorized into various sub categories, which are the various communication tools/techniques/approaches used by banned outfits to target a particular community.

Charity

Charity is considered an important part of Islam, the religion of the majority (95-98%) in Pakistan. Taking advantage of this religious obligation, a number of organizations (religious or nonreligious) make use of different communication techniques to appeal to the target community for their charities. There is no doubt that a number of organizations like Edhi Foundation are trusted widely in the country and a number of people prefer giving them their charities. However, a number of banned organizations also run promotional campaigns to ask people for their charities with the promise that their money will be used for helping the poor. Sadly for the citizens, their charities are not always used for the promised cause. Funds collected through charity are often used to fuel the activities of banned organizations.

These banned organizations also accept various forms of religious taxes and charities like Zakat, Khairat and even usher (agricultural tax). Actually, these religious taxes are collected by the state and Pakistan has well developed mechanisms for the collection of these taxes. However, due to rampant corruption and mismanagement of the various governments, people donít prefer giving their religious taxes to the state. Citizens prefer giving their religious taxes and charities to private organizations and many of them knowingly or unknowingly give their money to banned outfits.

Although, different governments have banned a number of charitable organizations associated with banned outfits from time to time, but they reappear under new names and continue their activities. Citizens are often not aware of name changes, therefore some of them end up giving their charities to such banned organizations.

For example Al-Rehmat trust is the service delivery side of Jaish-e-Muhammad. They act as state within a state because collection of Zakat and Usher is the stateís responsibility. Through their service delivery mechanism, these organizations by providing help to earthquake, floods and other natural calamity victims they easily get donations and win trust of the affected communities.

 

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Hate speech

Various banned organizations in Pakistan are involved in hate speech against other sects. This hate speech is either directed towards minority sects or minorities in general. According unofficial estimates[4] about 85-90% of the Muslim population in Pakistan belongs to the Sunni sect, while 10-15% belongs to the Shiite sect. On the other hand, 3-4 % of the population belongs to various minority groups such as Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus and others. Some of these organizations promote hatred against minority sects particularly Shiites and Ahmadis.  Banned organizations like Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and its associates actively campaign against Shiites, the second largest religious community/sect in Pakistan. Ahmadis are discriminated against in Pakistan in the worst possible manner. Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims during the 70ís, as the government at that time wanted to appease the religious segments of the society. A number of these banned organizations call the other sects non-Muslims due to differences in their belief system. The following example on Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistanís Facebook page is promoting hate speech against Shiites.

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Expose the Linkages

One the primary aims of this database is to expose the existing or previously existing linkages of different banned outfit operating in Pakistan. General Parvaiz Musharraf proscribed a number of organizations after joining the war on terror in 2002, however these organizations continued their work under new names and kept on running communications campaigns with or without the help of their linked groups, including banned organizations, student organizations and even publishers. For example Dar-ul Andlus publisher is not banned but it publishes Jihadist literature and literature for Jamat ud-dawa. Jihadist literature comprises of books and magazines etc which are published with the intention of promoting the jihadist ideology. These books and magazines incite their readers for joining jihad by terming it as the only solution to their problems. 

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Similarly, Al-Mohamdia Students Organization is the student wing of Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan. It promotes the ideology of SSP through various means including publishing magazines.

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Youth, women and children are targeted through an integrated communication process undertaken by extremist organizations. Offline and online communication tools are sometimes used together to target different segments of the society at the same time. For example the leader of Jaish-e-Muhammad Masood Azhar writes for Jaish-e-Mahammadís newspaper Al-Qalam. His column is available in newspapers, in audio format and is also reproduced on websites and Facebook pages.

Targeting the Audience

These banned/proscribed organizations not only make use of service delivery mechanism to reach their target audience but also involve students, youth, women and children through competitions, student support programs and literature. These organizations conduct speech competitions, writing competitions, summer camps, quizzes, games competitions and seminars for students. An example is given below

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DOPEL monitored both online and offline tools used by the banned outfits. It was noted that due to proscription of these groups, their offline tools are used only covertly. Their newspapers, magazines, books and other forms of literature are usually not available at mainstream book stores, but can be acquired from bookstores and outlets run by their associates. However, most of the offline material is reproduced online on different websites.

The use of offline and online tools in an integrated manner has helped extremist groups in creating a dedicated following. Better planning, management and administration of the various tools of communication has allowed extremist groups to reach their target audience most effectively. Details of each and every tool have been provided in the respective frameworks. The detail of each and every tool reviewed during our research is given below:

List of their offline and online tools are given below

Offline

1.      Newspapers

2.      Magazines (for women, children and youth)

3.      Rallies

4.      Speeches

5.      Poems

6.      Sermons (online and offline)

7.      Stickers

8.      Service Delivery

9.      Innovative Products (USBs, wall clocks etc)

10.  Brochures

11.  Leaflets

12.  Pamphlets

13.  Pictures, cartoons, art

14.  Student Wings (with the names of student wings they have Facebook, web and twitter pages)

15.  Publications

16.  columns

Online

Due to proscription of most of the offline tools/material, the cyber wings of these banned outfits actively engage their audience through the various online tools.

1.      SMS Service

2.      Website

3.      Facebook

4.      Twitter

5.      Blogs

6.      Forums

7.      Radio (and web radio)

8.      Television

9.      Online Magazines and Publications

All the above tools are discussed in detail with examples in the respective profile of each organization. However, one example of each tool is described in this analysis:

Analysis of Offline Tools

Newspapers

Newspapers are used as a tool to convey the various messages of these outfits to the target audience and promotion of their activities. This offline tool is further replicated on Facebook, and different websites. For example Al-Qalam is a weekly newspaper of Jaish-e Muhammad, which has website and a Facebook page as well. This website not only provides the electronic version of the newspaper but also introduces other publications of the group. It also provides links to books, audios, videos, articles, jihadist songs, cartoons and speeches etc. The website and Facebook page of this newspaper is given below:

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Magazines (for women, children and youth)

In order to target the youth, women and children, a number of magazines are used by these outfits. Most of these magazines are published under the name of their student wings and other linkages. At times direct links of the banned outfits to these magazines are not found, because they are not allowed to disseminate their literature openly. These magazines are also reproduced on different websites and Facebook pages.  

Example of the magazines are given below including magazine for the youth (Akhbar-e-Talaba), magazine for women (Banat-e Ayesha) and magazine for children (Bachoon ka Islam) along with their websites and Facebook pages:

 

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Rallies and Events

The organizations openly organize rallies, conferences, book launches and seminars. Rallies and events are the source to distribute their literature, convey their message and to target the audience. They announce their events through their magazines, blogs, forums, pamphlets, wall chalking, posters, banners, bill boards and banners on local transport (Rickshaws) and social media. Pictures of some rallies, events and blend of different tools are given below:

http://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/ssp.jpg?w=640&h=480[17]

 

http://criticalppp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/difa-e-pakistan1.jpg[18]

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Speeches

A speech made by a leader always has a profound effect on the listeners and viewers. Banned outfits make good use of audio and video speeches made by their various leaders. These speeches are later reproduced on online media, social media and websites. An example is given below:

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Poems/Songs

Songs and poems have always been used by humans as means of inspiration. The banned organizations are also aware of this fact and hence use it to promote the jihadist fervor and ideology among their recruits and followers. A number of the Jihadist songs are available in Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki and Arabic languages on their websites:

 

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Sermons (online and offline)

Sermons made by the various leaders of the banned outfits described in this database are recorded and made available both online and offline.

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Stickers

Downloadable stickers are available on their blogs, websites and Facebook.

 

Service Delivery

Advertisements of their community services are available on websites, magazines, newspapers and social media. Including filter plants, marriage bureaus, medical services and relief activities.

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Innovative Products (USBs, wall clocks etc)

A Jihadist wall clock that is branded with Jaish-e Muhammadís flag and another product, a memory card (8GB) containing speeches and video clips of their leaders are examples of innovation used by these organizations to target different communities.

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Leaflets

Leaflets are produced and disseminated in various localities to promote the ideology of the various banned outfits.

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Pamphlets, booklets, and posters

Pamphlets, booklets and posters also serve the purpose of different banned outfits.

Pictures, cartoons, art

Cartoons help to add humor in the delivery of their intended messages. Magazines for the children contain handmade art made and submitted by their readers. Cartoons are also used as a tool on Facebook pages and newspapers, which are also available on the website of such magazines.

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Student Wings

Student wings of different banned outfits are active on the internet and conduct various activities including events and rallies etc.

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Publications

Publications of their leaders are made available online.

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Columns

Rang-o Noor is column written by Maulana Masood Azhar, founder of JeM in weekly newspaper Al-Qalam.  These articles are available in readable formats both in Urdu and English languages and can also be accessed in audio formats[35].

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Analysis of Online Tools

SMS Service

SMS services are available including PRING (SMS Service Website) and some other on all the networks. Anyone can get news through subscription. They promote their SMS service through websites and social media.

 

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Websites

Literature, audios, videos, news and links of other websites are advertised on their websites:

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Facebook

There are countless Facebook pages with the name of these organizations, their trusts, student wings, publications, magazines, newspapers and leaders. Some of them are official pages however the others are unofficial but contain the same message and content available on official pages. An example of the Facebook page is given below which is run by a woman, who belongs to Lashkar-e Jahngvi:

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Twitter

A number of organizations have their representatives running their twitter accounts as well. An example is given below:

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Blogs

This blog contains magazines and newspapers of a number of banned organizations described in the database.

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Forums

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Radio (and web radio)

1st web radio of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan is coming soon they are promoting their web radio through their Facebook page.

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Television

An online television channel run by an associate of Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan

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Online Magazines and Publications

Sada-e Azeemat is one of the magazines linked with Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistanís internet wing. Website of Sada-e Azeemat have been proscribed (www.sadaeazeemat.com)

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 You Tube and other similar websites

Militant organizations make good use of You Tube and other websites like Tune.pk. The access to You Tube has been blocked in Pakistan thatís why it was difficult to access it during our research.

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The examples of different online and offline communications tools used by banned organizations provide the justification for this database. These organizations use different communications tools to target different communities and spread their ideology which is generally anti-state, spreads hatred and promotes violence and terrorism in the country. It is important that the youth, women, children and every segment of the society is aware of the different mechanisms used by militant outfits to target them, so that they donít get caught in the propaganda of these outfits either knowingly or unknowingly.

 

banned organization's activities highlighted in main stream newspaper


 

[1] List of banned organizations in Pakistan: The Express Tribune. October 24, 2012. Accessed online from: http://tribune.com.pk/story/456294/list-of-banned-organisations-in-pakistan/. Date of access: November 11, 2013.

[2] Dar ul-Andlus.

[3] 22.3 % according to 2006 estimates. Source: The World bank. Accessed online from: http://data.worldbank.org/country/pakistan. Date of access: November 11, 2013.

[27] Advertisement. Accessed online from: http://www.sadaemujahid.com/images/stories/photos/ads/memorycard.jpg. date of access: December 2, 2012.

[35] Rang-o Noor in audio. Accessed online: http://www.rangonoor.com/rangonoor_aud.htm. Date of access: December 28, 2012.