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Rabita Trust

The US State Department on September 23, 2001 categorised the RT as an organisation linked to international terrorism. The US administration has pointed out that the Rabita Trust is part of a web of charities funding Islamist terrorist movements such as Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.


Rabita Trust (RT) was formed in 1988 during the term of the then President Ziaul Haq, who was its founding Chairman, with the aim of organising the repatriation and rehabilitation of stranded Pakistanis from Bangladesh.


The Rabita Trust describes itself as a as "a popular, international, Islamic and non-governmental organization, at which Muslims from all over the world are represented." It is a charitable organization that assists Afghan refugees in Pakistan. The main objectives of the Rabita Trust are to disseminate Islamic Dawah (culture) and expound the teachings of Islam, and to ‘defend’ Islamic causes in a manner that safeguards the interests and aspirations of Muslims, solves their problems, refutes false allegations against Islam, and repels inimical trends and dogma which the enemies of Islam seek to exploit in order to destroy the unity of Muslims and to sow seeds of doubt in the Muslim brethren.

Leadership and Structure

Jeddah-based Saudi businessman Wael Hamza Jalaidan is the Secretary-General of Rabita Trust. Jalaidan is reported to be a founding member of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorist network and is also considered to be its chief of logistics and had fought along with bin Laden against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. He was also temporarily head of the Saudi Red Crescent Society and the Muslim World League during his stay in Afghanistan. He reportedly developed strong linkages with leaders of the various Afghan factions, in his capacity as an official in charge of distributing large scale Saudi relief aid to Afghan refugees. He had also established linkages with the then Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq and his successor former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Jalaidan was one of the three persons during that period who represented Arabs assigned to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The other two were Abdullah Azzam and Osama Bin Laden. Jalaidan is considered to be an expert in arms transportation and distribution. Jalaidan left Afghanistan at the end of 1992 and thereafter settled in Saudi Arabia and is reported to have engaged in ‘commercial activities’. He then joined the ‘aid operations’ to Bosnia, where he supervised temporarily the Saudi Aid Committee, the largest aid organization then in Bosnia. He also assumed the office of the supervisor of the Muslim World League endowments. Jalaidan is also reported to have lived in Arizona, USA, in the early 1980s and headed an Islamic centre there before joining bin Laden in the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

President Pervez Musharraf was one of the patrons of Rabita Trust. Media reports quoting US sources have indicated that the US administration had warned the Pakistani President of the impending order against the Rabita Trust and encouraged him to disassociate himself from the trust. A Pakistani government spokesperson clarified on October 15 that the post of Chairman of the RT being an ex-officio position had been with the Prime Minister and after taking over as Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf became the Chairman, but never presided over any of the trust meetings. The spokesperson also said that the President had ordered an audit of the accounts of Rabita Trust by a private firm to ascertain whether its funds were used for any other purpose than the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis from Bangladesh. Simultaneously, the Auditor General of Pakistan is also reported to be carrying out an audit of the trust.

The members of the trust included Pakistan’s ministers of finance and interior, Saudi Prince Talal ibn Abdul Aziz, secretary-generals of the Muslim World League and the International Islamic Relief Organization and President of the Council of Saudi Chamber of Commerce. The governing body of RT comprises an equal number of members from the Government of Pakistan and the Saudi-based Rabita Alam Al-Islami.

The RT secures its finances primarily from Saudi businessmen. Rabita Alam Al-Islami had contributed Rs 50 million while the share of the Pakistan government was Rs 250 million when the trust was established. The trust had constructed 1,000 houses in Mian Channu, Punjab, during the early 1990s and it was the only expenditure incurred by the trust in this regard. The last meeting of the RT held in 1997 was presided over by the then Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif as Chairman. Currently, the secretary Cabinet Division holds the charge of Chairman of the trust.


Peshawar in Pakistan was the main depot for smuggling arms into Afghanistan and other bordering points and with the help of Azzam, Jalaidan was able to smuggle arms not only into central Afghanistan but further into the northern parts. Rabita Trust is affiliated with a Saudi-based Pan Islamic organisation Rabita Alam-e-Islami or the Muslim World League, which is known in different countries with different names. In Pakistan, they have links with the Jamaat-e-Islam (JeI).

The RT is also linked to the UK-based International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIRO). Media reports indicate that Muhammad Jamal Khalifa, brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden, heads the IIRO branch office in Philippines. Khalifa is reported to be the intermediary between bin Laden and the Abu Sayaf terrorist group.





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