ISLAMABAD - Voicing her objections to Rs82 million given to Jamaat-ud-Dawa after it was banned as part of a terrorist purge, former information minister and PPP MNA, Sherry Rehman wondered why no one had questioned the grant made by the Punjab Government when all the political forces in the country had committed themselves to reversing the tide of extremism and terrorism sweeping Pakistan. Referring to a recent report in the media in which the Punjab Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah, confessed to making such a provision in the budget for its welfare activities, Sherry Rehman demanded that such grants to the banned outfits be stopped forthwith, as welfare activities could be taken over by the Punjab government itself, or handed over to a number of non-extremist organisations which could supplement state capacity in this respect. Giving an outright grant to the JD, when it has been banned, tells us that some elements in the Punjab Government are still not fully committed to the idea that jihadi outfits like the LeT, with known leadership and cadre links to the JD, must be rooted out and that their activities shut down, she added. The country can no longer afford this mollycoddling of terrorists, and the Punjab is fast becoming a victim of its own ambiguity. There can be no military operation against terrorists in Punjab, but there must and should be a police sweep, with enough evidence to obtain convictions through our courts. Instead of building police capacity to throw such a dragnet around terrorists, who openly hold rallies in the streets of Lahore and Rawalpindi, we see money being doled out of the tax-payers pockets through the annual budgetary exercise to these outfits, she further said. We are told that the government appointed an administrator to run these schools and dispensaries two years ago, but by now this infrastructure should have been taken over by the state, instead of allowing a banned organisation to earn support on JD and LeT branding. And if its only an administrator that is using the funds, why has Rs79 million of this grant gone directly to the Markaz-i-Tayyaba in Muridke which is the JD headquarters, she asked. Asking Federal Government to take note of space being granted to banned outfits through such disbursements, Ms Rehman feared that such lax dealing with such banned outfits would give strength to the attacks on mosques, non-combatants and minorities in Lahore and other parts of the country. She advised the Punjab Government to take back this grant and firm up its resolve to combat terrorism by reducing space for banned outfits, and by building governance capacity to administer its own social services or find non-violent partners who can deliver at the grassroots.