Al Akhtar Trust

FormedNovember 2000
DisbandedGroup is active.
UpdatedJuly 19, 2012

Narrative Summary

Al Akhtar Trust is a Pakistan-based charity known to have provided support to Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003. The group took over the activities of Al Rashid Trust after it was declared a terrorist support group in 2001.[1]Since then, the organization became active in raising funds for jihad in Iraq and was linked in the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl. The U.S. Treasury Department designated Al Akhtar Trust as a terrorist organization in 2003. 

Al Akhtar Trust is an offshoot of Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM). JeM formed and registered the organization along with Al Khair Trust as humanitarian aid agencies following the house arrest of JeM's leader, Masood Azhar. JeM used the organizations for delivering arms and ammunition to their members under the guise of providing humanitarian aid to refugees and other needy groups.[2]  Al Akhtar Trust's formation was hailed by other militant organizations.[3] 

With the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001, Al Akhtar Trust came on the U.S.'s radar for supporting terrorist groups in Afghanistan. The U.S. government reported that Al Akhtar Trust was secretly treating wounded Al-Qaeda members at its medical facilities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This was followed by information from a senior Al-Qaeda detainee who, in a custodial interview, revealed that Al Akhtar Trust and Al-Rashid Trust were the main relief agencies used by Al Qaeda to send supplies in Kandahar.  

During that time, Al Akhtar Trust was providing a wide range of support to Al-Qaeda and Pakistani-based sectarian and jihadi groups, specifically Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-I-Jhangvi, and Jaish-e-Muhammed.[4]  These efforts included providing financial and logistical support as well as arranging travel for fighters and operatives. All three of these organizations have been designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S Department of Treasury. 

Not much is known about Al Akhtar Trust since its designation in 2003. According to a 2006 UN Security Council Committee report concerning Al-Qaeda,the Taliban, and Associated Individuals and Entities, Al Akhtar Trust was trying to raise funds through newspaper advertisements.[5]In 2008, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Al Akhtar Trust as a result of its links to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. [6]

Leadership

The leadership of Al Akhtar Trust has its roots in the jihadi organization Jasih-e-Muhammed (JeM). Maulana Masood Azhar, who is also the Amir of JeM, led Al Akhtar Trust since its founding in 2000 as its Supreme leader.[7]Another important leader of the charity was Saud Memon, who was linked with Al Qaeda and died mysterious circumstances in 2007.[8]

At the time of designation, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Al Akhtar Trust was Hakeen Muhammad Akhtar. According to US Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, he confessed to Al Akhtar Trust's links with Al Qaeda and Taliban, saying that "Al Akhtar's services for the Taliban and Mullah Omar were known to the world."[9]Hakeem Akhtar's name was put on Pakistan's exit control list by Government of Pakistan's Ministry of Interior in 2003 on charges of supporting terrorism, thus barring him from leaving Pakistan.[10]Currently, Mohammad Mazhar is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Al Akhtar Trust.[11]

  1. Maulana Masood Azhar (2000 to Present): Azhar is the Supreme Leader of Al Akhtar Trust and Amir of JeM.
  2. Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar (2003 to Unknown): Akhtar was the former chairman and chief executive officer of Al Akhtar Trust.
  3. Mohammad Mazhar (2011 to Present): Mazhar is considered the current chairman, president and chief executive officer of Al Akhtar Trust.

Ideology & Goals

Akhtar Trust was created to provide financial assistance to 'mujahideen'. The organization provides food, clothes, and education to orphans of the Al Qaeda/Taliban fighters. 

The leadership of the group is Sunni with strong Deoband ideological leanings. Maulana Masood Azhar, the Supreme Leader of the group, is an active affiliate of the Binori Mosque of Karachi, a strongly Deoband and anti-Shiite religious seminary well-known for its advocacy of jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan. He was also a follower of Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, founder of an anti-Iranian and anti-Shiite organization Sipah-e-Sahaba, who was killed in 1990.[12] 

Name Changes

Al Akhtar Trust is associated with the following alternate names:

Pakistan Relief Foundation
Pakistani Relief Foundation
Azmat-e-Pakistan Trust
Azmat Pakistan Trust

Al Akhtar Trust also has a very close association with Al Rashid Trust.

[13].

Size Estimates

Designated/Listed

Al Akhtar Trust was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States in 2003[15] and the United Nations in 2005[16]

Resources

Al Akhtar Trust relies on donations.  The group seems to depend on the business and industrial elites of Pakistan as their funding base and issues calls for donations in which they appeal to religious obligations. [17]


The Trust also employs press advertisements to solicit donations, and has run several distinct campaigns, including one drive to finance activities in Iraq.[18]

According to a former Indian government official, Al Akhtar Trust's predecessor, Al Rashid Trust, was supported by Pakistan's intelligence service ISI.[19]

Geographical Locations

Al Akhtar Trust operates in various cities and provinces in Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Mirpur Khas, and Bhawalpur.  The group also operates in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.

Targets & Tactics

Al Akhtar Trust has served as a financier of terrorism operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. To do so, it operated in the guise of a charitable organization.[20]

Major Attacks

Al Akhtar Trust is a charity who supports violent jihadi organizations, but has not been attributed to specific attacks. 

Saud Memon, a financier of Al Akhtar Trust, however was found to be involved with the kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal's journalist Daniel Pearl.[21] Memon owned the compound in the outskirts of Karachi where Pearl was being held before his murder in January 2002. Memon's employees are believed to be responsible for killing Pearl. 

Shortly after Pearl's murder, Pakistani police sealed Mr. Memon's home in Karachi. Mr. Memon remained one of the key figures at large in the Pearl slaying until 2007, when he was mysteriously found near a dump in an injured and unconscious state. His family accused the FBI of kidnapping him from South Africa. Rights Group suspected that Pakistani intelligence agencies kept him under detention from 2003-2007. He died in Karachi's Liaqat National Hospital in November 2007.

Relationships with Other Groups

Al Akhtar Trust is linked closely with Jaish-e-Muhammed(JeM): after the arrest of one of JeM's leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, JeM explored setting up charities, including Al Akhtar Trust, as a front for the organization. [22] They hoped to portray the organization as new and entirely separate charitable group, but to also use it as a method of delivering arms under the guise of delivering aid to refugee groups and other disadvantaged Muslim communities. [23]  The group seems to have provided a wide range of logistical and financial support to Al-Qaeda as well as other Pakistani-based sectarian and jihadi groups, specifically Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi.[24]

Additional affiliations include Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen, whose leaders have endorsed the group and issued calls in support of donating to it [25]

In 2001 or 2002,  Al Akhtar Trust's relationship with a similar charity, Al Rashid Trust, became an even closer collaboration, with some reports indicating a merger between the two groups. [26]

Community Relationships

Al Akhtar Trust was active in emergency relief activities on the Pakistan side of Kashmir after the October 8th, 2005 earthquake. It was able to garner sympathizers from locals as a result, and was portrayed in a positive light by the Pakistani print and electronic media.


References

  1. ^ "U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq" (US Department of Treasury, October 14, 2003), http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/js899.htm.
  2. ^ "Pakistan bans 25 militant organisations," Dawn, August 6, 2010, http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/provinces/18-25-militant-organisations-banned-am-02.
  3. ^ United Nations Web Services Section, "Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and Associated Individuals and Entities," http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE12105E.shtml.
  4. ^ U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq" (US Department of Treasury, October 14, 2003), http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/js899.htm.
  5. ^ United Nations Web Services Section, "Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and Associated Individuals and Entities," http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE12105E.shtml.
  6. ^ SECURITY COUNCIL AL-QAIDA AND TALIBAN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE ADDS NAMES OF FOUR INDIVIDUALS TO CONSOLIDATED LIST, AMENDS ENTRIES OF THREE ENTITIES, Press Release (United Nations, December 10, 2008), http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2008/sc9527.doc.htm.
  7. ^ Amir Mir, "Of Pakistani jehadi groups and their al-Qaeda and intelligence links," The News, March 24, 2009.
  8. ^ Raman, B. "THE JAISH-E-MOHAMMAD (JEM)." South Asia Analysis Group, December 16, 2001. http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers4%5Cpaper376.html.
  9. ^ Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities, Press Release (US Department of Treasury), http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/tg643.htm.
  10. ^ "SHC orders removal of Hakim Akhtar's name from ECL," The News, February 18, 2009, Online edition, thenews.jang.com.pk/updates.asp?id=68889.
  11. ^ Treasury Designates Two Pakistani Individuals For Supporting Terrorist Activities, Press Release (US Department of Treasury), http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/tg643.htm.
  12. ^ "Al Akhtar Trust." SATP (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm.
  13. ^ "Treasury Identifies New Aliases of Al Rashid and Al-Akhtar Trusts, Pakistan-Based Trusts Previously Designated For Supporting Al Qaida." 2008. Available at: http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp1065.aspx
  14. ^ "U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq" (US Department of Treasury, October 14, 2003), http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/js899.htm.
  15. ^ U.S. DESIGNATES AL AKHTAR TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of fund raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq" (US Department of Treasury, October 14, 2003), http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/js899.htm.
  16. ^ United Nations. http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE12105E.shtml.
  17. ^ "US Designates Al Akhtar Trust." US Treasury. 2003. Available at: http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js899.aspx
  18. ^ United Nations Web Services Section, "Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and Associated Individuals and Entities," http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE12105E.shtml.
  19. ^ Raman, B. "THE JAISH-E-MOHAMMAD (JEM)." South Asia Analysis Group, December 16, 2001. http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers4%5Cpaper376.html.
  20. ^ "Al Akhtar Trust." SATP (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm.
  21. ^ "Link found between Pearl's killers, Muslim charity," Daily Times, April 19, 2005, http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailytimes.com.pk%2Fdefault.asp%3Fpage%3Dstory_19-4-2005_pg7_29&date=2009-08-29.
  22. ^ "Al Akhtar Trust." SATP (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm.
  23. ^ "Al Akhtar Trust." SATP (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm.
  24. ^ "Al Akhtar Trust." SATP (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm.
  25. ^ "The Al Qaida Sanctions Committee." UN Security Council. 2009 Available at: http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQE12105E.shtml
  26. ^ "Al Akhtar Trust." SATP (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/Al-Akhtar_Trust.htm.

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