The scourge within
Moreover, across Sindh, waderos with political ambitions are also willing to highlight the sectarian affiliations of rivals to win the support of Deobandi groups who have growing influence in the province, and can rally voters on the basis of ideology or through intimidation.
Punjabi Taliban give up ‘armed struggle’
Zulfiqar Ali | Nasir Jamal
The term “Punjabi Taliban” is generally applied to distinguish Pakhtun and Afghan fighters from mainly Punjab-based Deobandi militants who are, or once were, involved in sectarian violence or focused on jihad in India-held Kashmir. According to analysts, sometimes the term is also loosely used to include the Urdu-speaking, Kashmiri and even Bengali fighters. Some groups which are part of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Punjab are closely linked to Al Qaeda, they say.
Agencies broaden information gathering scope
Jawad R Awan
Security sources sharing some information about scanning of the religious seminaries (madaris) told this correspondent that there are nearly 15,000 religious seminaries in Punjab belonging to Deobandi, Barelvi, Ahle Hadith and Shia sects, which is a huge number but the intelligence agencies dealing with the scanning of these institutions have also been maintaining a new database to store information in a scientific manner.
Informing about the breakup of the madaris, they said there are approximately 7,710 Deobandi, 5m000 Barelvi, 2,000 Ahle Hadith and 260 Shia religious seminaries operating in Punjab. The religious seminaries are imparting education of both ‘Darse Nizami and Quran Recitation, according to the fresh data collection.
AQIS: A Possible Al Qaeda Resurgence In South Asia? – Analysis
In order to strengthen the jihadist movement, al Qaeda is trying to normalise its relations with the Afghan Taliban as is evident from Zawahiri’s pledge of renewed loyalty to Mullah Omar. This move represents the possible tactic of using Afghanistan as the theatre of jihad and penetrating into the other countries of the Indian subcontinent. The spread of Deobandi jihadism in the region has an immense capability of providing an impetus to the activities of AQIS as the organisations which belong to this school have at some point or the other worked in tandem with al Qaeda. For instance, Fazlur Rahman Khalil, the leader of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HM), was one of the signatories of the 1998 Fatwa issued against the U.S. by bin Laden. HM has been active in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and southern Thailand and it has gradually increased its membership recruiting new cadres from these countries.