First day of Governor Rule: ASWJ-LeJ flags being hoisted around Pakistan Army posts in Lasbela, Balochistan

According to our sources, Sipah Sahaba (ASWJ-LeJ) flags are being hoisted in large numbers on and near Winder-Lasbela Road in Balochistan. The flags have been hoisted on the Zero Point from Winder to Lasbela Road (the Gwadar intersection) and other areas. Many places where the flags are being hoisted are in the immediate vicinity of army check-posts, e.g., Uthal.

Lasbela is the electoral constituency of Jam Yousuf (National Assembly) and Aslam Bhootani (provincial seat). Jam Yousuf’s son is a diehard Deobandi supporter, TJ affiliate, ex-District Nazim Jam Kamal.

Jam and Bhootani both are complicit along with army officers who are facilitating activities of Takfiri Deobandi militants of Sipah Sahaba (ASWJ-LeJ) in the Lasbela District

Read my previous post about ASWJ’s Jamia Farooqia at Balochistan-Sindh border:

District Lasbela comprises mostly Sindhi and Baloch population, 97% are Muslims. There is a also a tiny population of Hindus and Christians. The majority of population speaks either Sindhi or Balochi.

As we have stated earlier that Balochistan bordering district with Karachi, District Lasbela has seen a rise in the activities of Takfiri Deobandi militans. ASWJ-LeJ (Sipah Sahaba)’s wall-chalkings and posters can be seen on the road side hills and milestones with blatant and naked threats to Shia population as well as Sunni Barelvis.

New branches and offices of Sipah Sahaba (ASWJ) are being inaugurated in small towns and villages, raising concern who is paying the expenses for these offices and permanent staff working there. Hundreds of flags of ASWJ-LeJ can be seen on the electric polls at RCD highway going through Hub, Winder, Uthat to Bella Bazars. All of these towns have main Bazars located on both sides of the road.

First, a rally of SSP/ASWj was held in the Hub Chowki, most of the participants and speakers came from Karachi. Soon after the rally (Jalsa), the typical ASWJ-LeJ slogans/graffiti started to appear threatening Shia Hazras and leadership of the Jafaria Alliance (Shia rights committee).

Then another gathering occurred a few months ago in Winder town, a few KM distance from Sonmyani firing range, Pakistan army weapons testing zone. Here most of the population belongs to Sunni Barelvis and a reasonable size of Hindus too live there. Before the gathering took place, non local Sipah Sahaba activists appeared started hoisting their flags in the Bazars, no one interrupted them as they fully enjoy the State’s support. A full time operational office of ASWJ-LeJ was opened there, monitoring the activities, recruiting new members, and propagating the LeJ-ASWJ hate material.

Now, on the first day of Governor Raj imposition in the aftermath of the Quetta Sit-in (after massacre of more than 87 Shia Muslims by ASWJ-LeJ militants), Sipah Sahaba activists without any interruption by the local administration have extended their activities to Uthal, the central town of Lasbela District. Most of the administrative staff is residing here as District Municipal offices, District Nazim office, District Police Officer and District courts are located here. An Army checkpost with unit of army deployed here along the Coast guard office.

Main Bazar of Uthal has seen SSP activists opening their office as well as decorating the electric polls with their multi-color flag and walls have their usual graffiti.

While the local population mostly Sindhi speaking has huge following of Sajjan Sain of Khandyaro, Dadu Sindh among them. Sajjan Sain visits every year to address a large gathering of devotees attending the annual Mela at the Urs of Sain Fida Hussain Shah. The disciples come from far and away town of Sindh as well as from Turbat, Lakhda, Mand, Gawadar, Awaran, Wadd, Bela and other parts of Balochistan. The town has small businesses are mostly owned by members of Hindu community, who are living here since decades, they too have shattered by a few incidents of kidnappings for ransom and threatening calls from various groups.

Locals have raised concern over the rise of SSP activities which has made its presence with “Calls of Munaziras” on various rituals and beliefs regarding Sufi shrines and life of the prophet. The calls and poster campaign have bittered the environment because a very small population of Deobandis there too have condemned the calls and tried their best to avoid escalation in tensions. But, locals fear that the rise in ASWJ-LeJ activities may have violent repercussions in the future, which can pollute the pluralistic and tolerant environment of the town.

As earlier noted, today is the first day of Governor Rule in Balochistan which was enforced in response to Shia Muslims demand to suspend the insensitive and incompetent civilian government led by Chief Minister Raistani. However, the Shia community of Quetta also wanted the army to be directly responsible and accountable for law and order in Quetta, a demand which was not acceded to by President Zardari and his PM Pervez Ashraf. In final talks with PM Ashraf, Shia community of Quetta had shown dissatisfaction with and distrust in the performance of Frontier Corps in Balochistan which is currently led by General Obaidullah Khattak.

In addition to the Governor Rule, Shia Hazaras also demanded for a targeted action against LeJ-ASWJ terrorists not only in Balochistan but in all provinces and areas of Pakistan. Apparently that demand too was ignored and the result is the latest news report from Lasbela that suggests that instead of a targeted operation, ASWJ’s influence seems to be growing under the watchful eyes of Pakistan army, the producer and protector of Jihadist proxies.

According to another uncofirmed report, a brother of Governor Zulifqar Ali Magsi is a leader of ASWJ (Sipah Sahaba) in Jhal Magsi, Balochistan.

We hope that the federal government, judiciary, civil society and media will carefully examine the information provided in this post and throw further light on these issues.



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