Media discourse on Khariji Deobandi terrorism – 1 to 13 April 2014


Situation Report: Pakistan – by Frederic Grare – 09th April

Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan

The Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a sectarian organisation created in Jhang (central Punjab) to counter the new Shi’i assertiveness resulting from the Iranian revolution with the acceptance (and later support) of the regime, transformed what were essentially economic and social grievances into outright hatred of the Shia. The SSP provided these discontented people with a political platform and access to the political arena. It has been carrying out attacks against Shi’i since 1985 and has occasionally clashed with Barelvi groups.[20] It is no coincidence that Jhang, where Shia landowners have traditionally held political power, became the first city to fall prey to sectarian violence in the mid-1980s in an effort to dislodge the traditional power holders. The SSP was created as an instrument to fulfill this objective.[21] The SSP is now operating under the name Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) and led by Ahmed Ali Ludhianvi.


The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), led by Akram Lahori, was formed in 1996 by a break-away group of the SSP. It operates essentially as the military wing of the SSP in anti-Shia activities, but has also conducted operations in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

Poppy revolution in Afghanistan to follow the elections? – by Claudio Gallo 9th April

Although not all Taliban are drug dealers, many “theology students” (as the Pashtun word goes, for the religious and political movement established in 1994 with the help of the Pakistani secret service and money from Saudi Arabia), are increasingly interested in the opium trade as a powerful form of financing. Wars and turmoil in the Middle East, after the so-called Arab Springs, made some rich Taliban sponsors shift their attention and their money from Asia to the Mediterranean shores. Less petro-coins, more a case of dope-coins being the solution! To be sure, in the beginning the “students” were openly against drug cultivation.

During their five years in power, 1996-2001, when the main part of Afghanistan was an Islamic Emirate, drug production was practically eliminated as a tribute to Sharia. But they soon discovered the pragmatic side of the world.

The Americans don’t seem really interested in eradicating the plague of opium, even though since 2001 Washington has spent more than 6 billion dollars to curb opium production, including crop eradication programs and subsidies for alternative crops. The words of Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate caucus on international narcotics control, with their apparently inner contradiction (unless you really believe that the Taliban may become an “international” threat) reveals the US attitude well: “Very little product from the Afghan drug trade, namely heroin, is actually consumed in the United States. The majority of heroin consumed here originates in Mexico and Colombia. So why does the cultivation of poppy in a faraway land matter? Simply put, the illicit drug trade in Afghanistan finances the terrorist activities of the Taliban. The war against the Taliban is far from over, and a positive outcome for our 12-year investment in blood and treasure will increasingly depend on these critical counter-narcotics efforts

TTP getting active support from seminaries in Rawalpindi, Islamabad – April 13th

ISLAMABAD A report jointly prepared by the Rawalpindi and Islamabad police has claimed that the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was getting active support from hardliner religious seminaries to carry out terrorism in the twin cities.

Fearing a strong backlash from the TTP in case of the failure of the ongoing peace talks, the federal government had directed the police to collect information about the sympathisers and supporters of the Taliban. The police prepared the report with the help of intelligence agencies.

The report stated that the TTP was not alone whenever it carried out terrorism activities in the twin cities. “It (TTP) gets full support from the religious seminaries and worship places of the Deobandi school of thought.

Negotiating through violence – by Tahir Kamran April 06

Professing strongly that the Punjab is the epicentre of religious extremism which expressed itself in such a ruthless manner in the attack on Raza Rumi, I will assert that alongside Lahore, Faisalabad and Gujranwala are powder kegs, ready to explode any moment. These cities are riddled with seminaries; the most influential among them being Deobandi which were mostly relocated to that city on the eve of the partition. Besides, Sahiwal, Faisalabad and Gujranwala had the optimum number of migrant population. Given the sharp religious zeal among some of them, they are a ready constituency for sectarian and extremist religious outfits.

Scholars of sectarianism know that Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan was founded in Jhang city (in September 1985), which was avidly supported by the migrants living in Jhang. More pertinently, Faisalabad’s munificent financial and moral support was vital in anchoring that anti-Shia outfit. Thus, violence became an effective means of communication by Sipah-e-Sahaba.

Towards insanity – April 03

Jihad was made popular less for its ability to motivate people to struggle and strain against any restriction preventing progress and modernity but as a tool to eliminate those allegedly deviating from the original meanings and rites of Islam. We are killing Ahmedis, Christains, Shias and Muslims for their belief systems and connecting to God in their own ways, while the state amidst all this is sitting silent. In fact the recent wave of appeasement of the terrorists in the name of talks has given a new lease of life to the mullahs. They are now giving their point of view on anything and everything they deem un-Islamic.

The Coming Apocalypse – by Khaled Ahmed 1st April

Azhar has always been a man possessed. He tirelessly toured abroad to raise funds for Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, loosening donor purse strings with arguments he articulated in 29 jihadist tracts. (He was caught carrying counterfeit dollars at Jeddah airport during one of these trips.) Azhar was also instrumental in getting Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami to merge for some time. Azhar was devoted to Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the fanatically anti-Shia and anti-Iran founder of Sipah-e-Sahaba, who was murdered in 1990 which in turn led to the murder of an Iranian diplomat in Lahore—this started the great sectarian war of the decade, drawing Arab funds to Deobandi warriors. Azhar’s trail in Somalia in 1993, when bin Laden was in Sudan, links him and his Pakistani warriors with bin Laden-supported Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid’s Mogadishu ambush that killed 24 Pakistani troops on U.N. duty. Azhar is said to have met bin Laden in Medina in 1994 when both were disguised. It was his mission to bring his jihadist organization, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, under the aegis of Al Qaeda.

The wrong kind of tolerance – April 13

The reports point to two seminaries run by clerics known for advocating violence and sectarianism: Azizur Rahman Hazari reportedly runs a madrassah that ‘brainwashes’ and prepares candidates for suicide bombing and terrorism, while Fazlur Rahman Khalil reportedly provides weapons training at his seminary. Khalil is on the US terrorist watch-list for signing Osama bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa (decree) declaring war against the US. He also founded the now banned Harkatul Mujahideen in 1985 and police believe his current group, Ansarul Ummah, is a front for the banned outfit, despite his denials. No judges are willing to prosecute him, police say, for fear of their lives, and both men are believed to have provided logistical support for the TTP attack on army headquarters in Rawalpindi in 2009. The reports were corroborated by security officials. The Wafaqul Madaras, an umbrella organisation for Deobandi seminaries, has resisted calls for madrassah reform or registration, claiming it is interference in their affairs, and successive governments have backed down in the face of blackmail by religious leaders, who threaten to bring their supporters out on the streets. However, with Pakistanis being blown to pieces daily, it seems there is little more that they can do that the government should be afraid of, which raises the question of why nothing is being done about seminaries that pose a direct threat to the capital and its citizens.

Sagacity Needed to Foil Pakistan’s Communal Designs – by G Parthasarathy

Most significantly, in recent days, Deobandi cleric Maulana Masood Azhar, whom Jaswant Singh so gallantly escorted to Kandahar during the hijacking of IC 814, is back in business, spewing venom against India and reinforcing the cadres of the Pakistani Taliban and other sectarian outfits. In March 2004, former ISI Chief Lt General Javed Ashraf Qazi, then Pakistan’s railways minister, acknowledged in Pakistan’s National Assembly that Azhar had masterminded the attack on India’s Parliament in December 2001 and thereafter participated in an attempt to assassinate President Musharraf. Sharif and sections of the army evidently believe they can buy peace in Pakistan, by getting the likes of Azhar and Hafiz Mohammed Saeed increasingly involved in efforts to restore the Taliban in Afghanistan and exploit communal and other ‘faultines’ in India, through incitement and violence.

Why Talibanisation grew in Pakistan? – Asif Haroon Raja

Tehrik-Taliban-Pakistan comprising an alliance of five militant groups, nicknamed TTP emerged on Pakistan’s landscape in December 2007 under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud belonging to Shabi Khel tribe, which is not among the main tribes of Mehsuds. It took the TTP five years to establish itself starting 2002 with its sub-commands in five tribal agencies of FATA and main HQ at Srarogha in SW. Subsequently it spread its tentacles into settled areas of KP called PATA including Swat, Malakand and Dara Adam Khel. Linkage with Punjabi Taliban under Asmatullah Muawia extended TTP’s reach to Punjab as well. Alignment with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Kashmir related Jihadi groups that were banned in 2002/03 spread the sphere of influence of the TTP to every part of Pakistan



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