|Riaz Basra||Riaz Basra||Lashkar-e Jhangvi||India-Pakistan||20030725|
|Riaz Basra||Taliban||Afghanistan/South Asia||20040619||Link|
|Riaz Basra||Lashkar-e-Jhangvi||Afghanistan/South Asia||Pakistani||Deceased||20030829|
|One of the founders of LeJ|
|Haqqani network on top as US shares list of 20 terror groups with Pakistan|
|[Khaama (Afghanistan)] The United States has shared a list of at least twenty terrorist groups with Islamabad which Washington insists use the Pak soil for the terrorist activities in Afghanistan and elsewhere, it has been reported.|
Diplomatic sources have confirmed to the local news outlet Dawn News that the White House retains a list of 20 terrorist groups that the Trump administration claims are operating in Pakistain.
The sources further added that the list has reportedly been shared with Islamabad by Afghanistan and the United States.
In the meantime, reports indicate that the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the US and Pakistain had been engaged in "a very healthy exchange of information on terrorists" since his visit to Islamabad last week.
Tillerson has further added that further information will also be shared with Pakistain in the future to include information on "specific location on any given day of where certain individuals or certain cells may be located."
According to reports, the Haqqani terrorist network is on the top of the list shared with Islamabad as the US officials are saying that the network has safe havens in Fata and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan.
But the Pak officials reject the claims by Washigton and insist that no such safe havens exist in the country.
Added from Dawn:
Top on the list is the Haqqani network which, the United States claims, has safe havens in Fata and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan. Pakistan strongly rejects the charge, saying that there are no such safe havens inside the country.
Harakatul Mujahideen is a Pakistan-based militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. The US says that group had links to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda as well.
Jaish-e-Mohammed operates mainly in Kashmir and the liberation of the Indian occupied Kashmir is its declared objective.
Jundullah is associated with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and was commanded by militant Hakimullah Mehsud, the Emir of TTP until his death in November 2013. It had vowed allegiance to the militant Islamic State group.
The United States identified Lashkar-e-Taiba as one of the largest and most active terrorist organisations in South Asia. Founded in 1987 by Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal in Afghanistan, the group had its headquarters in Muridke. It too is focused on Kashmir.
Lashkar-e-Taiba was involved in the 2001 Indian parliament attack and the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Lashkar-i-Jhanghvi, an offshoot of anti-Shia sectarian group Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, was founded by former SSP activists Riaz Basra, Malik Ishaq, Akram Lahori and Ghulam Rasool Shah.
The US blames this group for committing hundreds of target killings and dozens of mass attacks inside Pakistan.
Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella organisation of various militant groups, was based in Fata, but has now relocated to Afghanistan. The US says that the group wants to enforce its own interpretation of Sharia and plans to unite against Nato-led forces in Afghanistan. It has conducted hundreds of terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.
Other groups on the list are: Harakatul Jihadi-i-Islami, Jamaatul Ahrar, Jamaatud Dawa al-Quran and Tariq Gidar Group, which is one of 13 TTP affiliates. The Tariq Gidar Group has been behind some of the deadliest attacks inside Pakistan, including the Dec 16, 2014, massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar that left 132 schoolchildren and nine staffers dead.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Commander Nazir Group, Indian Mujahideen, Islamic Jihad Union, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan ISIS-Khorasan, Al Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent and the Turkistan Islamic Party Movement are also on the list.
|LeJ al-Alami claims responsibility for professor’s murder|
|[DAWN] LAHORE: Banned outfit al-Alami on Saturday for killing a retired professor belonging to the Ahamdi community.|
Dr Ashfaq Ahmad, 68, a nutritionist by profession and a retired professor of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, was going along with his grandson and another relative by a car when near Shah Fareed Chowk, the attacker shot him in the head and . Dr Ahmad was taken to the Mayo Hospital where doctors Sabzazar police registered a murder case on the complaint of victim’s heirs and did not add terrorism charges in the case.
A news release issued by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami claimed that Riaz Basra brigade’s special commando had killed the retired professor.
Investigating Officer Naseem Ahmed said police handed over the body to the heirs after completing legal formalities.
He said initial investigation revealed that the man was targeted while adding he did not know about any statement of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami.
He said they were working on the case and would arrest the suspect involved in the killing.
|The miasma of hate|
|[DAWN] FANATICS flourish in the soil of hatred. The seeds of bigotry were sown in Pakistain unfortunately by none other than an army general. Let me share a personal account.|
Earlier in my career as assistant superintendent, I was posted as sub-divisional police officer of Jhang city in 1981. Little did I know I had walked into the epicentre of developing sectarian tensions and conflicts. I found the Barelvi and Deobandi s hurling the choicest expletives at each other on their mosque loudspeakers.
Suddenly, we noticed the Shia community being targeted in tirades by the Deobandi s, chief amongst them one diminutive named Haq Nawaz. This rang alarm bells, especially in the wake of the Iranian revolution and the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. A proxy war, it appeared, was being fought on our soil between the international stakeholders. The Anjuman-e-Sipah-e-Sahaba was established in response to the formation of Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqah Jafria. The name of the former was later changed to .
I was soon to see the fallout on law and order. Every year on Muharram 7, Shias take out one of the largest mourning processions in Jhang city. Some locations along the route traditionally entail tension which is resolved in advance through adherence to a code of conduct.
In 1981, while I was on duty for the procession, Maulvi Haq Nawaz reached a mosque en route and violated the code of conduct by launching into a provocative speech. This created unrest amongst the Shia processionists. They stopped near the mosque and refused to move forward unless the was stopped. With a 40-men force, I was caught between the fury of the huge procession and the fire-breathing . Deputy commissioner Shehzad Hasan Parvez and district superintendent police Ahmed Nasim arrived, entered the mosque and tried to persuade Haq Nawaz to put an end to his hate speech and leave the mosque, but he refused. The Shia youth became restive and wanted to attack the mosque.
It was time for a quick decision: stop the madness or allow a bloodbath. I asked the to take off their shoes and we stormed the mosque, making a beeline for the rostrum where the five-foot 'maulvi' was making the congregation chant vitriolic sectarian slogans. Getting hold of him by his neck, we dragged him out of the mosque, put him in my police jeep and headed straight to the . the procession started moving along its assigned route. I was in the process of filing a report of the incident when I received an urgent call from the deputy commissioner to reach his camp office.
When I reached there I found the DC and SP standing outside in the lawn looking worried. The DC told me he had received a call from Gen who wanted 'Maulana' Haq Nawaz to be released forthwith. I was taken aback. How could we do that while the Shia procession was on the move? What if the enraged mullah headed back to another mosque en route and resumed his incendiary campaign? As in charge of the law and order situation, I could not allow that to happen. "You mean you want to defy the orders of the chief martial law administrator?" asked the DC in a mocking tone, for he understood the administrative imperative of maintaining order rather than appeasing a mullah.
I told the DC and SP that it was for them to handle the military dictator while the police would fulfil their duty. Both of them supported my viewpoint and asked that the be taken away from the located in the heart of the city and released on bail after the procession. I had no idea how they placated Gen Zia but in my heart I was beholden to them for not letting the police down.
This episode, fairly early in my career as a law-enforcement officer, made me wonder at the nexus between the mullah and the military developed in the early 1980s and sustained throughout that decade in furtherance of 'national interests' based on convoluted ideology and politics. I got promoted and left as SP Quetta and served in for the next four years. Jhang witnessed some bitter politics and sectarian violence. Maulana Haq Nawaz even won a provincial assembly seat. In an era of 'controlled' democracy, some mullahs were definitely enjoying state patronage.
The sectarian hatred unleashed in Jhang led to horrendous consequences all over the country with tit-for-tat killings in a matter of a few years. By the time I returned to the Police in 1989, the sectarian menace had spread everywhere. Haq Nawaz's in 1990 followed the deadly violence perpetrated by (LJ) formed by Riaz Basra, Malik Ishaq, Akram Lahori and Ghulam Rasul Shah (four diehard supporters of Jhangvi's mission).
Riaz Basra was in Lahore in 1992 under my command as police chief of the city. Despite my request for his jail trial, after my transfer in 1994, he was taken from prison to the Model Town courts complex from where he the judicial lock-up and unleashed a reign of terror for about 10 years as a .
On promotion, I got posted as deputy inspector-general of police range on Aug 11, 1997. Late IG Punjab Jahanzaib Burki gave me one task: arrest Malik Ishaq of LJ. Just about a month later, on Sep 13, Ishaq was arrested by Faisalabad police in a sting operation. But by manipulating a faulty criminal justice system which failed to protect the judges, victims, witnesses, , prosecutors and prison officials, the dreaded LJ survived for long and was even suspected to have received patronage from some political and security elements.
In a nutshell, indifference, apathy and even collusion by elements of the state have resulted in our nation paying a heavy price in terms of violence and bloodshed. Now at last, another army general is trying to reverse the tide of sectarianism by hopefully breaking the nexus between obscurantist mullahs and the deadly s, including all the non-state actors, and their erstwhile sponsors. He is fighting a defining battle for the soul of Pakistain.
Good luck, General.
|Consortium of Terror|
|Al Qaeda (AQ)|
AQ is not just a conventional group but the fountainhead of a violent ideology.
The organisation was founded at the end of the 1980s by Osama bin Laden while he was in Afghanistan/Pakistan waging war against the Soviets. According to Al Qaeda literature, the organisation's ultimate goal is to establish a hardline global caliphate. It seeks to fight America and her 'apostate' allies in the Muslim world.
While the organisation maintains a relatively low profile in Pakistan, it is behind much of the coordination between different jihadi groups in a bid to 'channelise' and 'streamline' the effort.
In contrast with many other jihadi groups, the overwhelming majority of their cadres in Pakistan are university graduates hailing from well-off urban families.
Al Qaeda regards Pakistan as a 'Daar-ul-Kufr wal harb' (abode of disbelief and war). It classifies the rulers as 'apostates' against whom it is obligatory to rebel and fight.
Al Qaeda considers Shias as disbelievers 'in the garb of Islam'. As such, the militant organisation considers it permissible to shed the blood of Shia Muslims and confiscate their wealth. However on strategic grounds, the Al Qaeda chief has advised the operatives not to engage minority groups anywhere in a confrontation unless 'absolutely required' such as in Syria and Iraq.
The organisation rejects the concept of nation-states. It seeks to expand the theatre of war, topple governments in Muslim countries and form a global caliphate.
Formally launched in 2007, the TTP is effectively Al Qaeda's local franchise in Pakistan. Among anti-state jihadi groups here, TTP maintains the strongest footprint with operatives all over the country. Its stated objective is to turn Pakistan into an 'Islamic state'.
Up till its recent splintering, The group regarded the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Umar, as its supreme leader.
As with Al Qaeda, the TTP regards Pakistan as a 'Daar-ul-Kufr wal harb' (abode of disbelief and war) and considers its rulers apostates.
While the TTP also considers Shia Muslims to be apostates, there is currently a debate within the organisation on whether a front should be opened against them.
The TTP is also increasingly looking at global operations, most recently with top TTP leaders forming splinter group TTP Jamaatul Ahrar; the group has openly pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
The IMU was founded by Tahir Yuldashev and Jumma Kasimov (both Uzbeks) in 1991. The two had earlier fought in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion of the country.
The initial objective of the organisation was to topple Islam Karimov's regime in Uzbekistan and to establish an 'Islamic state' in the country. They also fought alongside the Taliban against the Northern Alliance.
Kasimov died in the fighting while Yuldashev, along with his fighters, managed to escape into Pakistan's tribal areas during the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan. IMU maintains strong contacts with Al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban as well as the TTP.
For now, its focus remains on strengthening the group as it prepares for the war in Central Asia.
An offshoot of the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), the virulently sectarian LJ was formed in 1996. Its founders Riaz Basra, Akram Lahori and Malik Ishaq had differences with the SSP and believed that the parent organisation had drifted from its original ideals.
LJ's primary targets are Shia Muslims and it has indiscriminately targeted them through both assassination and mass casualty attacks. The LJ has killed thousands of people, including many women and children. Its largest attacks to date have been against the Shia Hazaras of Quetta.
LJ leaders say their aim is to turn Pakistan into a Sunni Islamic state and consider it a 'priority' to target Shia Muslims. The group also seeks to establish stronger ties with anti-Iran groups operating in the region.
Splinters, subdivisions and shadow groups
The lines blur when it comes to differentiating between militant groups in Pakistan. They share space, tactics and resources and sometimes, subdivisions are created for specific purposes and for creating confusion in the public's minds.
TTP Jamaat ul Ahrar
On August 26, 2014, key commanders belonging to the TTP announced the formation of a new group by the name of TTP Jamatul Ahrar, with Maulana Qasim Khorasani as the new Ameer and also comprising other commanders. The new group comprises of members from four of the seven tribal districts bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan, namely Mohmand, Bajaur, Khyber and Orakzai.
Former TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan, who has been nominated as the spokesman for the splinter group says the new group only wants the Shariah system to prevail in the country.
At least 60 people were killed on Sunday November 2, 2014 in a blast near the Wagah border, the responsibility of which was claimed separately by the outlawed Jundullah and TTP-affiliated Jamaat-ul-Ahrar outfits.
Ahrar ul Hind
The group's name literally means freedom fighters of India (referring to the Indian subcontinent as a whole).
According to a commander of a Taliban group, the group derived its name of 'Ahrar' from Majlis-i-Ahrar-ul-Islam, because the Ahraris were against the formation of Pakistan, and they believed that the entire subcontinent was their homeland. The commander said that the group planned to expand their operations to the remaining part of the subcontinent.
A North Waziristan based group primarily concerned with the 'welfare' of locked-up jihadis. Its tasks include intelligence gathering about Pakistani jails and planning jailbreaks to release militants. It is closely allied to TTP and draws many of its fighters from TTP and IMU. Its basic agenda is to free all militants locked up in jails across the country.
Al Qaeda allied group with a single point agenda to track down and eliminate 'spies' in North Waziristan.
A small organisation affiliated with the TTP. Its primary focus is targeting armed forces personnel and politicians. As with AQ and TTP, Ansar al-Mujahideen aims to turn Pakistan into an 'Islamic State' and use the state to launch 'jihad' against other belligerent states.
Al Qaeda affiliated group that started off from South Waziristan. It gained most notoriety for its assassination attempt on the then Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Ahsan Saleem Hayat. The outfit has also targeted Shia Muslims and foreign tourists.
Not to be confused with the
A group formed after the Lal Masjid operation in Islamabad. It is named after Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, the former Lal Masjid cleric who was also killed in the operation. Most of its members are relatives and friends of the people killed in the 2007 operation.
This group has practically merged with the TTP. Some of its members and sympathisers in and around Islamabad are known to provide intelligence and a footprint in the capital. Members of the group consider it a priority to target former president Pervez Musharraf.
The 'Other' Militants
Then there are those jihadi groups who, for one reason or another, have historically been classified as 'good' militants by the state. Part of the reason for this is that these groups do not prioritise targeting the Pakistani state and instead turn their energies outwards. However, there is evidence that militants from their ranks can and at times do join other organisations, such as the TTP, AQ and LJ.
They also share ideological commonalities with those groups and in some cases even share resources and physical space.
Formed in the early 90s in Afghanistan, the group has been primarily operating in Indian-held Kashmir. It seeks to 'liberate' the people of Kashmir from 'Indian oppression' and establish an Islamic state' in the region.
It sees India, the United States and Israel as eternal enemies of Islam and boasts about defeating them through armed struggle. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the head of Jamat-ud-Dawa denies that his charity is simply a cover for the banned militant outfit. However the lower cadre not only acknowledges their connection with LeT but proudly boast about their operations in India.
In line with their particular brand of Salafism, the organisation is strongly opposed to rebellion against the Pakistani state. Members of the group say they are bracing themselves for the Ghazwa-i-Hind ' a grand war in which Muslims will regain control of India, they claim.
Jaish-e-Muhammad was formed in 2000 by Maulana Masood Azhar. Shortly after its inception, it effectively swallowed a previously existing but now largely defunct Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). Its primary goal is to 'liberate' Kashmir from Indian rule and it has carried out various attacks on Indian interests including the 2001 attack on Indian parliament.
The group was banned by then President Pervez Musharraf and rebranded itself as Khuddam-ul-Islam. It continues to engage in open fundraising outside many Pakistani mosques on Fridays.
The group emerged as an offshoot of Jaish-e-Muhammad after serious differences emerged between various commanders. TGI is led by Commander Abdul Jabbar and operates primarily in Afghanistan. Publicly, the organisation opposes rebellion against the Pakistani state. It stresses on its cadre to focus on Afghanistan.
The group has recently emerged in parts of Balochistan bordering Iran. It has targeted Shia Muslims and claims to be countering Iranian interference in Pakistan. The group also seeks to extend the theatre of war into Iran.
Hafiz Gul Bahadur group
He is one of the most influential figures in North Waziristan but at the same time, maintains a very low profile. Bahadur is politically affiliated with Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman's Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam.
Hafiz Gul Bahadur have been very secretive about their plans. In public, they have always maintained focus on 'liberating' Afghanistan and re-establishing Taliban rule. He is considered a pragmatic figure who knows how to consolidate his position. He has successfully managed his relations with both the military and the TTP.
He has never made his position on the Pakistani state public. However one of his most prominent commanders, who has since been killed in a US drone strike, gave an hour-long interview to Al Qaeda's media wing As Sahab in 2009.
In the interview he made it clear that he did not have any differences with Al Qaeda or the TTP and that they were his 'brothers'. He had also said that his men would fight against the Pakistan army if it sided with the Americans.
This setup operates primarily in the Eastern Afghan provinces of Khost and Paktika even though it has carried out 'daring' attacks in Kabul. The network has also attempted to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The group is currently headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of the sons of veteran Afghan jihadi commander Jalaluddin Haqqani. He is one of the most powerful commanders in the region and maintains good relations with Al Qaeda and the TTP.
The group has been silent on their view of the Pakistani state, however when questioned about the TTP, Sirajuddin Haqqani is on record as saying that he does not have differences with his 'brothers'. Their future plans focus on the reinstatement of the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
The group was formed in the 90s in response to the anti-Shia violence perpetuated by Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). It maintains a very low profile and seeks to primarily target leaders of anti-Shia militant organisations such as SSP and LJ.
Its leader Syed Ghulam Raza Naqvi has been in prison since the mid-90s. Pakistani intelligence agencies claim the group is backed by Iran in a bid to extend its influence in the region.
|Slaughter of Shias in Pakistan|
|Pakistan was created for the Muslims of the sub continent to live in peace and to be immune from the domination of the Hindu majority. I would not prefer to go into the rationale and justification of that decision on the part of the Muslims leaders then fighting for an independent Muslim state.|
What I want to emphasize is that the treatment that Muslims of the subcontinent feared from the Hindus, the same awful treatment is being meted out to the Shias that patently are a sect within Islam like many other sects, including Wahabis, Brelvis, Deobandis, Ismailis, Qadria, Chishtia, Naqshabandi and Suharwardi.
The Shia Sunni fratricide however started following the death of Prophet Muhammad on the issue of his successor. Thus Islam was divided forever, into two branches. The Sunni claim that the appointment of first three caliphs was right. The Shias believe that the caliphate which they term as Imamate was the divinely ordained right of a member of the bloodline of prophet, who they claim was prophet's son-in-law and cousin brother Hazrat Ali.
The day Pakistan was declared as the Islamic Republic, the seeds of the sectarian discord were sown. Not only was that but the country pushed into the lap of the cruel and merciless religious bands getting stronger with the time passage. With the time passage, the religious animosity and cutthroat sectarianism has attained new horrendous heights.
Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) is a Sunni Deobandi Pakistani organization. It was formed in 1985 by a conservative Sunni cleric Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, in collusion with the then military dictator Ziaul-Haq. Its tacit and declared goal then was and is to stem the spillover influence of 1979 Iranian Revolution in Pakistan. When Pervez Musharraf banned it in 2002 as a terrorist organization, it reemerged under a new name "Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat".
The Lashkar-e- Jhangvi is a breakaway faction of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. It was established in 1996 by two former stalwarts of SSP namely Riaz Basra and Malik Ishaq. LJ has ties to the Talban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Al-Qaida, and Jundullah.
These and other religious militant factions have been wreaking havoc by fomenting sectarian wars and forcing the respective government in Pakistan to accept their dictates. Since its establishment, the SSP and LJ have launched countless attacks on the Shias, their religious processions, shrines and mosques killing them in innumerable numbers.
|Epitome of hate|
|[Dawn] THE terrorist sectarian outfit (LJ), which has been active in Pakistain since the mid-1990s, has become a strategic asset for many including Al Qaeda, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) and the so-called non-violent religious sectarian parties.|
Lately divided into many factions and small terrorist cells, the LJ is once again coming under a unified command, which could be a major reason for the escalated sectarian violence during the last few weeks.
The outfit has undoubtedly become the second most lethal terrorist group in Pakistain after the TTP. A comparison of the geographical spread of incidents of sectarian violence from 2009 to 2012 suggests that , Quetta, Gilgit and have become regular hotspots of sectarian violence, the areas where the group is largely operational either alone or in collaboration with the TTP and foreign s.
Although the nexus between the sectarian Sunni groups and the TTP was already well-established it was for the first time that in 2012 the TTP for several attacks on the Shia community in different parts of Pakistain.
The LJ was believed to be involved in 128 terrorist attacks across the country in 2012, largely in and Quetta; these attacks ranged from sectarian assaults to strikes on the security forces. LJ and other such terrorist sectarian groups, which had absorbed Al Qaeda and Taliban ideological tendencies, increasingly returned to their primary sectarian agendas.
Once a breakaway faction of the (SSP), now known as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has an ever more violent anti-Shia agenda.
Although it claims to be a separate entity, whatever it does furthers the cause of the SSP in one way or the other. The group solely depends on the SSP for human resources and justifies the killing of Shias in Pakistain. A recent statement circulated by a faction of LJ led by Asif Chotu declared Shia s the major obstacle in the way of enforcement of Sharia in Pakistain. The SSP denies any direct link with the terrorist group, but the LJ is the major source of its vigour that it exploits for political gains. Though a faction within the SSP is against sectarian violence its voice is diminutive in the larger discourse of the organization.
The LJ had lost central command when the police launched an extensive operation against the group in the late 1990s and later when it was proscribed in August 2000.
These steps caused the emergence of internal differences and divisions among the group. Thus many splinter groups emerged.
After 9/11, LJ had joined the angry Kashmiri jihadists and tribal Taliban, who were not happy with the sudden change in the state's policy that abandoned jihad in the region. The major terrorist attacks between 2001 and 2007 in the country were launched by this emerging alliance. The nexus was further strengthened when these small groups joined Al Qaeda and the tribal Taliban. Such alliances ideologically transformed the sectarian groups injecting in them global jihadist tendencies.
This was the time when the LJ was losing its sectarian identity and the group was become a tag name for small terrorist cells. Qari Hussain, the trainer of s who was killed in a drone strike in 2010, had infused new life into the group while recruiting Punjab- and -based youths and re-initiating sectarian terrorist attacks.
Tariq Afridi, head of the TTP's Darra Adam Khel chapter, was the second person who revitalised the violent sectarian agenda of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and launched deadly terrorist attacks in Fata and . The release of Malik Ishaq, founding member of the group who was facing trial in the killings of more than 100 Shia scholars and community leaders, further emboldened the group.
Although these facts injected new life into the agenda and operations of the group, on the organizational level it remained splintered and disconnected until recently. Its chapter, led by Usman Kurd, which targets the Hazara Shia community in Quetta, had little interaction with groups in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Seven other LJ groups are active in and Punjab, including the Attaur Rehman alias Naeem Bukhari, Qasim Rasheed, Muhammad Babar, Ghaffar, Muaviya, Akram Lahori and Malik Ishaq groups. These groups have devised their local agendas as well and indulge in local s.
Asif Chotu, once a close aide of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi founder Riaz Basra, is reorganising the group. He had joined the TTP in 2010 and reunited the scattered members of LJ and on behalf of the TTP launched several operations across the country. He has approached other factions as well and now most of the splinter groups have come under one umbrella because of his efforts.
It is a dangerous development, which can lead to an escalation of sectarian violence across the country. The LJ nexus with Al Qaeda and TTP has not only broadened its ideological horizon but also equipped it with lethal operational tactics. It may not be the LJ of the 1990s, which was mostly involved in s, but its new face is extensively lethal in terms of operational capabilities and connections with terrorist groups.
The TTP will not let the group focus only on sectarian killings but could use it to hit other targets as well such as security forces, foreign interests and hip.
On the other hand, the state and hip seem ignorant of the fact that a new nexus is causing a new, critical threat to loom. A few mainstream parties appeared to have kept links with sectarian organizations for electoral success. Sectarian groups welcome all political parties because they seek political legitimacy through these alliances.
Law-enforcement agencies appear to have no clear countering strategy mainly because of the frail threat perception and lack of inspiration to take action against homegrown terrorist threats.
|Shahbaz Sharif's 'revolution' in Punjab|
|A 'revolution' may not punish the PPP and bring PMLN to power. It may bring Al Qaeda closer to ruling Pakistain|
...Three developments must be noted in the move of the PMLN: a gradual reconciliation with the Army, a steady support to the 'independent' judiciary, and a convergence with the nonstate actors of Punjab. Add to this the ingredient of 'revolution' and you have the contours of how the PMLN wants to shorten the days of the PPP in power.
Shahbaz Sharif has been known to meet the Army Chief to feel the pulse of any toppling plans. He accompanies this act of nationalism with 'selfless' devotion to the Supreme Court currently busy subjecting the federal government to intense critical scrutiny. The other strand in the strategy comprises change of policy on nonstate actors and banned jihadi organizations and pitting them against the PPP in South Punjab.
Jihadi publication Daily Islam (23 Feb 2010) reported that Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah visited Jhang and paid his respects at the tomb of the founder of the greatest banned sectarian-terrorist Deobandi organization, Sipah-e-Sahaba: Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi. He led a delegation of the PMLN which also counted parliamentary secretary Iftikhar Baloch and party MPA from Jhang, Sheikh Yaqub. He visited the tombs of other Sipah-e-Sahaba martyr-leaders like Maulana Isarul Qasimi and Allama Azam Tariq.
The News (27 Feb 2010) in a report titled PMLN sees no harm in seeking banned outfit's blessing observed: 'Sipah-e-Sahaba is rearing its head again and its leaders' participation in an election rally in PP-82 constituency, along with Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, has sent shivers down the spines of citizens here'.
But the 'revolution' may not be to the advantage of the PMLN. In 1999, nearly got killed through in an reported planted by the Sipah on the road to his residence in Raiwind. Killer Riaz Basra also got himself photographed standing next to him without the latter noticing it. In 2002 after Basra was finally killed, he was buried wrapped in a Sipah Sahaba flag. Today a Sipah franchise is said to be in touch with Tehrik Taliban Pakistain. Therefore the 'revolution' may not punish the PPP and bring PMLN to power. It may bring Al Qaeda closer to ruling Pakistain.
Just as no one can convince that he should not use 'tsunami' as the informal emblem of his party, it is futile to remind Shahbaz Sharif that 'bloody revolution' is an inapt simile to use for the victory of the PMLN in the coming election. His party doesn't have the ideology suited for a revolution; its overtures to the do not transform his party into an organization willing to indulge in mass extermination of the 'exploiting classes'.
What kind of order will come into existence after the 'bloody revolution'? The truth is that revolution comes first and then makes itself bloody by killing the enemies of the people. The following is the pattern recognised in history: The state turns authoritarian, producing a utopian alternative among the intellectuals of the coercive state, followed by popular uprising, elimination of the elite through a reign of terror, and the installation of directly participatory institutions.
Pakistain is habituated to a pattern of its own. First the politicians fight among themselves and bring the country to a standstill till the people start complaining about being economically squeezed. Then Army - reputed for producing intellectually average officers - starts thinking that it can run the country far better by interrupting the tenure of the incumbent government and grabbing power. We all know what happens for more or less a decade after that.
In the present case, the PPP threatens to complete its tenure after four years of pathetic governance. (When was governance non-pathetic in Pakistain?) Strange to say, the Army is no longer quivering with expectation; it is the opposition leaders wringing their hands at the threat of a break in the pattern. Therefore, if not the Army, who?
Everybody in Pakistain has his ducks in a row for the coming revolution and they are remarkably identical ducks: hate America and hope Al Qaeda will be appeased by that and somehow go away. In fact, Al Qaeda may see the decks being cleared for its own 'revolution' in two countries simultaneously: Afghanistan and Pakistain. It has the classical ingredients in place: an ideology that has appeal and an indoctrinated cadre willing to kill for the revolution.
But revolutions eat their children. The leaders who initiate it usually get killed in the process of establishing a revolutionary order. It is especially cruel to its harbingers.
|The Al Qaeda connection|
|Having joined hands with Al Qaeda, sectarian outfits continue to threaten urban Pakistain|
"My teacher had told me if I kill Shias I will go to heaven," says Mohammad Azam. "Barelvis and Shias are the same. They both need to be killed," adds Jalandar Khan. The two men were before they could launch s.
Sectarian differences in Pakistain took a violent turn after the Soviet fall, when men who had been fighting in Afghanistan used their resources and training to carry out attacks on Shias and other minorities in Pakistain.
Riaz Basra and his accomplices were accused of targeting key Shia state officials and professionals until 1996. In 1997, the killings became indiscriminate and all Shias became targets.
After the strict Salafist Taliban government took over in Afghanistan, violence against Shias and minorities increased significantly. At least 193 people were killed in sectarian violence in Pakistain in 1997, 157 in 1998, and more than 261 in 2001. This happened while many in Pakistain had been praising the Taliban for the peace they had brought in Afghanistan.
The first suicide attack of sectarian nature was carried out in 2003, on a Shia mosque on Pakistain-Afghanistan border. At least 55 people were killed.
In mid-2002, Al Qaeda began to cooperate with local sectarian organizations in , strengthening their networks and capacity. Among the first attacks carried out by this alliance was an ambush on corps commander Gen Ahsan Hayat.
Since then, attacks have been carried out on almost all major Sufi shrines, and Barelvi and Shia people have been under constant attack. In 2006, a large number of Barelvi leaders were killed in a at a religious gathering in Nishtar Park.
Sectarian violence in :
"More than 200 of our workers have been killed in recent attacks," says Sarwat Ejaz Qadri, the chief of Sunni Tehrik.
Sunni Tehrik was formed in 1992 to safeguard the interests of Barelvi s. It opposed the appointment of rival Deobandis on key state posts. Important Deobandi ideologues it had opposed were from the Binori Town mosque in . The founder of the mosque was killed in May 2004 and his son, nephew and driver , when his car was ambushed by .
The occurred three weeks after a powerful bomb killed 15 Shia worshippers in Hyderi Mosque.
A day after the , at least 24 worshippers were killed and 34 others injured when a high-intensity bomb during the evening prayers at a Shia mosque on MA Jinnah Road in .
A top intelligence official said they were seen by security agencies as tit-for-tat attacks.
When Intelligence Bureau and CID conducted a raid to arrest a suspect believed to be involved in the Nishtar Park bombing on a house in Baldia locality in , the inmates retaliated. The three people eventually - Sultan Omer, Siddique Mehsud and Zubair Bengali - admitted to have been involved in suicide attacks at Nishtar Park and on Allama Hassan Turabi. One of them was a relative of Baitullah Mehsud.
The Al Qaeda link:
In March 1995, two American consulate officials - Garry C Durrell (CIA) and Jackie Van Landingham (a consulate secretary) were targeted by a local group in an attack sanctioned by Al Qaeda in response to the extradition of Ramzi Yousaf.
According to an intelligence source who has been following sectarian outfits for over two decades, it was among the first verifiable indications of sectarian tagging with Al Qaeda.
"It was Khaled Sheikh Muhammad, the Al Qaeda number three and an anti-Shia Baloch of Iranian origin who supervised the attack."
In 2002 when Khaled Sheikh Muhammad came to , he was housed by local sectarian groups, says a former intelligence chief who asked not to be named. Some of these groups became the operational arms for Al Qaeda in Pakistain's urban areas.
Suspects by security agencies and intelligence reports also show these groups have connections with Al Qaeda.
In South , Khanewal, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Leiah, Shujabad, and DG Khan have recently become major centers of sectarian outfits. According to a survey, there are more than 798 madarssas in DG Khan and more than 1000 in Bahawalpur. A large number of them are fuelling sectarian discords.
In , scores of Hazara people have been killed for their Shia beliefs. The government has failed to respond to the threat so far and key s have not condemned the brutal acts.
In and Punjab, banned sectarian groups are now operating under new names and leaders once seen as involved in sectarian violence are addressing political gatherings.
These developments indicate the sectarian fault lines emerging in urban Pakistain.
|Lashkar-e-Jhangvi: inciting sectarianism in Afghanistan?|
|[Dawn] , the terror group blamed for deadly attacks on Shias in Afghanistan this week, has forged ties to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in a murderous campaign to wage sectarian warfare.|
Since its inception in 1996 by a religious , the faction has claimed to have killed thousands of Shias in bombings and shootings across Pakistain.
It takes its name from Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the founder of terror group Sipah-e-Sahaba from which leader Riaz Basra broke, and preaches indiscriminate violence against Shias.
A tore through a crowd of worshippers in Kabul on Tuesday as they marked the holy day of Ashura, killing 55 people, as a second blast in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif left four more dead.
There has been no confirmation of a purported claim from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) splinter al-Alami, but Kabul blamed the group for Tuesday's massacre, unprecedented in targeting such an important religious holiday in Afghanistan.
LeJ is not thought to have struck in Afghanistan before.
"We will pursue this issue with Pakistain and its government very seriously," said , threatening to ratchet up tensions with Islamabad which are already frayed over accusations of sponsoring violence.
Afghan officials say the motive was to inflame a 10-year Taliban insurgency and drastically increase violence by importing Pakistain and Iraq-style sectarian conflict as combat troops prepare to leave by the end of 2014.
A substantial rise in sectarian unrest could also draw arch US foe Iran deeper into Afghanistan, threatening to whip up proxy wars.
The Taliban denied involvement, but in a cauldron of violence where religious terror groups are interlinked and have overlapping allegiances, experts say it would have been impossible for the LIJ killers to have acted alone.
As with Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other terror groups the world over, LeJ was born from the ashes of the 1980s Afghan war against the Soviet Union.
The group's leaders were veterans of that conflict and its ranks populated by graduates of madrassas packed off to terror training camps in the mountains on the Afghan-Pak border.
It developed close ties to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which ruled in Kabul from 1996 until the 2001 US-led invasion.
Pakistain formally banned the group in 2001 and there have been numerous crackdowns with arrests and killings of known Jhangvi operatives over the last 20 years.
Islamabad has asked Afghanistan to provide proof that Jhangvi were responsible for Tuesday's attack, but it is understood that Afghan officials do not have any hard evidence.
One official said the bomber was a Pak from Kurram, part of Pakistain's tribal region with Afghanistan, and a specific flashpoint for sectarian unrest.
But as long as doubts persist over the al-Alami claim, it remains unclear how exactly the group could have carried out the attack.
"The question is, how credible is the claim? Some Taliban groups can do the same as they share school of thought with LeJ," said Pak-based security analyst Hasan Askari.
Militancy expert Rahimullah Yusufzai also doubted the claim, saying that the splinter group's capacity is very limited even in Pakistain, which has seen a recent decline in attacks linked to its own bloody Taliban insurgency.
"There is one possibility that this group may have support of Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistain or some of the rogue elements inside Afghanistan," Yusufzai.
Jhangvi's founder Basra has been dead for a number of years. Reports differ on whether he was killed in an or a shootout with security forces.
A senior Pak security official said LeJ and other groups are "hand in glove with the Taliban".
"But they cannot carry out such an attack on their own. This would have surely been a Taliban-connected operation," he told AFP.
"Al-Alami are basically the i Taliban, who were involved in the attack on (army) GHQ (general headquarters) two years ago," he added.
|Mastermind behind Lahore mosque blast arrested: police|
|The Crime Investigation Agency on Tuesday arrested an accused wanted for a suicide blast in a mosque in Lahore, said an official statement. |
Hafiz Muhammad Yasin alias Nadeem, close ally of Riaz Basra, had masterminded suicide attack at Masjid Kashmirian at Akbari Gate, Lahore and several other terrorist activities, the statement said.
During initial interrogation, Yasin had confessed to killing Punjab ombudsman Babar Ali Mirza and police Inspector Saqlain. He told the police that he had also attacked former MPA Mumtaz Cheema in Faisalabad. He said he was also involved in the murder of Shia leader Ghulam Hussain Najafi. The statement said a bounty of Rs 500,000 had been offered for the capture of Yasin.
Bomb Defused: Meanwhile, police defused a bomb in Kalan Bazaar near Chogalla on Tuesday morning, District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Iqbal has said. The DPO said the police were committed to providing safety and security to the public. He said law enforcement authorities were performing their duties with honesty, and keeping a vigilant check on terrorists to maintain peace in the district.
|Riaz Basra among two held in Sargodha|
|Police and law enforcement agencies have arrested proclaimed offender Riaz Basra whose head price was fixed at Rs 1 million, sources said on Thursday. According to details, Basra was wanted by Sargodha and Jhang police in cases of murder, dacoity and looting, and was arrested when Cantt Station police carried out a raid in the area. Police also arrested another proclaimed offender Ghulam Shabbir, who had been wanted in a murder case for the last five years.|
|Police looking for Dadullah deputy in Sargodha bombing probe|
|Police are looking for at least four suspected key terrorists, including a deputy of killed Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah, in a probe into the suicide attack on a Pakistan Air Force bus in Sargodha on November 1 last year, sources told Daily Times. Identified as Ustad Rabbani from Talagang, the suspect is believed to be the second-in-command of Dadullah, who died in fighting NATO forces in Afghanistan on May 12, 2007. |
Other wanted suspects include Tayyab (who investigators said was trained in making bombs and an expert attack planner, and according to one investigator, he was also involved in the suicide attack outside Lahore High Court on January 10), Azmari (also known as Luqmani, a wheatish African-looking long-haired man who speaks Pushto and Arabic, and is believed to finance terrorists) and one Mohsin.
Police had initially held five suspects in connection with the Sargodha attack, identified as Umar Farooq, Abrar, Sikandar, Khalid Usman and Qari Asghar. Umar Farooq admitted he could make bombs, jackets used in suicide attacks, remote-controlled detonators, toxic injections and poison that could be mixed in water. He was known as the machine of bombers, investigators said. A two-inches-by-six-inches bomb was seized from a location he disclosed.
Sikandar said he was assigned by Mohsin to attack the office of the Faisalabad superintendent of Traffic Police. He said Mohsin assigned another person to attack a deputy inspector general of police. Qari Asghar, who lived in a madrassa in a village 16 kilometres from Sargodha, had provided the empty milk cans which were filled with explosives to carry out the attack, investigators said.
Information revealed by the men led the police to other suspects including Fahad Basra, the nephew of killed sectarian terrorist Riaz Basra, on January 26. Investigators said Fahad had received from Umar two jackets for suicide bombers for a plan to kill a leader of another sect.
Two suspected would-be suicide bombers were then held from Kabirwala and Jhang. Police seized jackets to be used in suicide attacks, ball bearings and nails, detonators and explosives from them. Investigators said one of them had said four other men had entered Punjab with the intention to carry out suicide attacks on politicians two of them in Lahore, and two in southern Punjab. Investigators said the network was highly organised and were possibly linked to Baitullah Mehsud and Al Qaeda. They said the group was also getting financial and other support from outside Pakistan.