Online factories of suicide bombers: An establishment’s production
It is a known fact that as long as we have sectarian madrassahs, websites and literature of extremist Deobandis and Ahl-e-Hadith (Wahhabis) in Pakistan, it will not be possible to eradicate the menace of jihadi and sectarian terrorism in this country and the entire region.
While Pakistani nation is facing suicide attacks by the brainwashed Deobandi (and some Wahhabi) teenagers on a regular basis, while innocent Pakistanis are dying in mosques, imambargahs, churches, markets and offices, while some units of Pakistan Army are fighting the bad (i.e., out of control) Taliban in Swat, FATA and other parts of the country, it may be futile to fight such wars unless the factories producing suicide bombers are not highlighted and dismantled.
Equally important, one must also consider Pakistan Army’s (ISI’s) continued strategy of using non-state actors (jihadi and sectarian extremists) as cost-effective recruits for its ‘strategic’ operations in Afghanistan and India.
Muslaman Bachay: Case study of an online jihadi magazine for Muslim kids
Here is a glimpse of what kind of literature is being taught to very young children in extremist Deobandi and Wahhabi madrassahs and also through their magazines and newspapers (some of them are also available on line).
We provide a brief overview of one online Urdu mgazine titled Musalman Bachay (Muslim Kids) and its associated websites. These websites are being run by an ISI-sponsored Maulana Masood Azhar who is an extremist Deobandi terrorist, and is himself a student of the Father of the Taliban Mufti Taqi Usmani of Karachi.
Let us start with the editorial page of “Musalman Bachay” available at the following link:
The editorial offers an example of a sahabi (companion) of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) illustrating how the sahabi was only a child when he took up a sword to wage jihad against someone who was blasphemous to the Prophet. The editorial then encourages Muslim children that they must kill any kafir (infidel) who commits blasphemy to the honour of the Prophet. This editorial must be read in conjunction with the recent demand by the Taliban to execute a Christian mother of five, Aasia Bibi, who has been charged with blasphemy to the Prophet of Islam.
On its front page, the magazine provides links to the following jihadi websites:
Rang o Noor
Banat e Ayesha
Juma Lectures at the Usman o Ali Mosque
Kids’ Artwork: A specimen of brainwashing
Website for Muslim women
Extremist Deobandi terrorists have also set up a website titled Daughters of Ayesha (Banat-e-Ayesha) to brainwash Muslim women. There are many jihadi articles on that website. One article is titled “Punishment for not participating in Jihad”. It is written by someone named Muhammad Usman, the martyr of Halmand, Afghanistan.
Apparently the online magazine is based in Bahawlpur. For example, a notorious Deobandi mosque in Bahawalpur (Markaz Usman o Ali) has been promoted through this magazine and the lectures of Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Mufti Abdur Rauf Asghar, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamezai, and Mufti Yusuf Ludhianvi are provided online.
Here is a candid admission by Mullah Masood Azhar that in view of his jihadi commitments in the Jaish-e-Muhammad and Sipah-e-Sahaba (of the ISI), he is setting up these websites including the Ihya-e-Sunnat; his deputy Mullah Salees Ahmad of Bahawalpur is responsible for religious propaganda on his behalf.
Address for registration for jihad against Shias, Christians, Ahmadis, Barelvis, Hindus and Americans
On one of the linked websites (Ahya-e-Sunnat), an address is provided in case someone needs to contact them to register for jihad:
مزید معلومات اور رجسٹریشن کے لئے اوپر دیئے گئے پتہ یا فون نمبر پر رابطہ کریں
ای میل پر رجسٹریشن نہیں کی جاتی
Please contact to the above address or phone number for more information and registration.
You can not register through email.
The ISI Connection
The connection between the ISI and Mullah Masood Azhar (and other extremist Deobandi and Wahhabi organisations) is widely known in Pakistan. Mullah Masood Azhar was a close friend of Mullah Azam Tariq, slain leader of the Deobandi terrorist group Sipah-e-Sahaba.
Historically, the ISI has been using religious hatred based jihadi and sectarian curriculum in religious madrassahs in order to recruit non-uniformed jihadi soldiers for its operations in Afghanistan and Kashmir.
There is ample evidence that the ISI continues to have collaboration with religious madrassahs, in particular, with the extremist Deobandi madrassahs headed by Mufti Taqi Usmani, Muhammad Hanif Jallandhari, Mulla Sami-ul-Haq and similar other madrassahs operated by the Jamaat-e-Islami and Sipah-e-Sahaba.
The ISI has similar collaborative arrangements with the Ahl-e-Hadith (Wahhabi) madrassahs operated by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa / Lashkar-e-Taiba.
While extremist Wahhabis are used by the ISI for its operations in Kashmir, extremist Deobandis are used for operations in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas and also in Afghanistan.
It is however a fact that almost all suicide attacks and other acts of jihadi and sectarian violence in Pakistan are performed by extremist Deobandis (of the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba).
It is high time that the government of Pakistan must nationalize all religious madrassahs (not only of Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith sects but also belonging to other sects including Barelvis and Shias).
Such madrassahs must be converted into government schools and their curricula completely replaced by the existing government schools curricula.
Pakistan cyber crime and anti-terrorism agencies must bring down such websites and arrest their editors and owners for spreading hate speech, violence and inciting to terrorism.
International agencies (e.g. UNO, European Union, IMF) must offer (a tightly monitored) generous support to Pakistan in order to control this menace, as the aim is to control the ever expanding wave of religious hatred-motivated jihadi and sectarian terrorism.
However, this will not be possible until there is an extreme internal and external pressure on Pakistan military and the ISI to refrain from further exploitation of religion to recruit non-state actors (jihadi soldiers).
This in turn means that Pakistan military and its agencies must be brought under a complete control of Pakistan’s civilian government. However, how will this happen remains a huge question mark for all concerned Pakistanis particularly in view of the historical and ongoing marriage of necessity between the CIA and the ISI.
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Inside a school for suicide bombers
The important things that are missing from Taliban’s “education” is ability of the students to access outside information, inability to understand everything they were told, they were also lied to.
These children become a devil’s workshop because they ignorantly believe, having been misinformed and misguided, that the predicaments in which they find themselves are caused by others who do not share their faith. The cause of the problems is undoubtedly identified as poverty, illiteracy and politics not to hammer on religion. But what we need to begin to look into is who sponsor the Taliban in the real sense of it? where do they get their ammunition from? There are many ways to tackle this ”canker-worm” but an understanding of their source of sponsor and ammunition could show us a path we have never taken to address this problem.
Pakistan: Taliban buying children for suicide attacks
July 07, 2009|From Nic Robertson CNN
Children are shown at a training camp in this video footage shot by the Taliban.
A top Taliban leader in Pakistan is buying and selling children for suicide bombings, Pakistani and U.S. officials said.
Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud has been increasingly using the children in attacks, the officials said. A video released by Pakistan’s military shows the children training for the task.
In the video of a training camp, children can be seen going through exercises.
Mehsud has been selling the children, once trained, to other Taliban officials for $6,000 to $12,000, Pakistani military officials said.
Some of the children are as young as 11, the officials said.
“He has been admitting he holds a training center for young boys, for preparing them for suicide bombing. So he is on record saying all this, accepting these crimes,” said Major General Akhtar Abbas, spokesman for the Pakistani army.
The young suicide bombers may be able to reach targets unnoticed, the military said.
“If he is approaching on foot, there is a possibility he will bypass security,” Abbas said.
“In certain areas, there is a possibility in the population centers everyone can not be checked physically, so he can create havoc there.”
Pakistan has launched an offensive against the Taliban, started in the Swat region of the North West Frontier Province. The Taliban have countered with a spate of suicide bombings, including a July 2 attack in Rawalpindi, in which a suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck a Pakistani Defense Ministry bus. At least one person was killed and 29 others were wounded.
Pakistan’s army said it is hunting Mehsud in the hopes that the supply of suicide bombers will dry up after the Taliban leader is captured.
Meanwhile, a suspected U.S. drone attack killed at least 12 people and wounded five others in northwest Pakistan Tuesday, Pakistani officials said.
The missile strikes in South Waziristan targeted a suspected Taliban hideout at a madrassa, or Muslim school, in Zangarah, according to intelligence officials.
The attack near the border with Afghanistan involved a pair of missiles shot from an unmanned drone, local resident Janbaz Mehsud told CNN. He said all the dead and wounded were Taliban.
A local government official, who asked not to be named, said the madrassa was a training center for the Taliban and belongs to Baitullah Mehsud. That official put the death toll at 14, but said the number of dead could rise.
The U.S. military routinely offers no comment on reported drone attacks. However, the United States is the only country operating in the region known to have the ability to launch missiles from drones, which are controlled remotely.
How to defuse a human bomb: Rescuing the Taliban’s teenage recruits
In Pakistan, young boys are being recruited as suicide bombers by the Taliban. Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy visit a new school that offers these brainwashed children a different future
Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy
The Guardian, Saturday 16 October 2010
The boy comes into view on the CCTV footage for just a few seconds, long enough to see that he is very young and wearing something bulky under his shalwar kameez. He walks purposefully through a crowd of worshippers gathering at Data Darbar Sufi shrine in Lahore, and then the screen is filled with a flash, followed by a juddering cloud of smoke. The blast settles to reveal a soundless world of body parts, shoes and clothes. The teenage suicide bomber killed himself and 45 others, and maimed 175 more, in this blast on 2 July 2010 – a good result for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that trained him, and another tragedy for Pakistan.
Abida Begum, a mother of six, living hundreds of miles away in the Swat Valley, in Pakistan’s north-west, recalled seeing the footage on TV in the village shop and feeling nauseous. Every time she heard of a suicide blast, she immediately thought of Attaullah, her 14-year-old son, who had gone missing in February on his way to school. She suspected he had been abducted by the TTP which had seized control of Swat in 2008, transforming this erstwhile idyll of trout streams and ski slopes into a wasps’ nest of blood-letting and terror. Hundreds of young boys from Abida’s village of Kabal and those surrounding it had disappeared, pressed into the TTP’s ranks, leaving once boisterous alleys and cart tracks deserted after dusk. The Pakistani army had launched an offensive to drive out the TTP in April 2009 – and even claimed victory at the end of last year – but the militants’ influence was being felt once more, with the bullet-ridden bodies of those who crossed them turning up in local fields.
Many boys went voluntarily, lured by the swagger of the long-haired Islamic fighters. Others were taken by force in the night, when heavily armed figures slunk into villages, demanding money and recruits. Some were even sold by their parents for 25,000 rupees (£180), the going rate paid by the TTP for a healthy teenager.
The families of the missing boys always feared the worst. News filtered back that most were destined to become human bombs. Rumours spread that if the army caught them, they were summarily executed, a story that gained credibility last month when a mobile phone clip emerged in Swat showing soldiers killing six young blindfolded men by firing squad. The army claimed the footage was faked by the TTP, but the human cost of the teen recruits was undeniable. For three years, a legion of these “dumb bombs”, as the locals called them, had terrorised the country, claiming 3,500 lives in 200 attacks.
The night of the Lahore blast, Abida went to bed imagining Attaullah, a knockabout kid who had loved his English classes best, coerced into a nylon jacket packed with explosives and flesh-ripping ball bearings. Days later, she heard an extraordinary story from a neighbour – this woman’s son had vanished, too, but after more than a year he had, miraculously, come home.
Recruited by the TTP, the boy confirmed he had been locked into a programme to produce martyrs. However, before he could be utilised, the army had busted his training camp. Rather than killing everyone in it, the soldiers had taken several boys to their base at Malakand Pass, 30 miles south-east of Kabal, putting them in a kind of reform school along with dozens more young, would-be suicide bombers. They were fed, clothed, taught English and allowed to play volleyball and cricket. Respected religious scholars patiently explained how killing civilians was wrong according to the Qur’an. Psychologists counselled them. Some were eventually allowed back home.
The neighbour’s son said many other boys from local villages were still at the school. Abida made the dusty bus journey to Malakand Fort, at the southern end of the Swat Valley. Once a British-era military outpost, it was now the headquarters of Pakistan’s 19th Infantry Battalion and the centre of a bold deradicalisation project.
Down a lane winding between apricot trees, three whitewashed compounds rise up against the stunning backdrop of Malakand Pass. The road to the Sabaoon school is blocked with steel barricades and razor wire, the entrance gate protected by blast walls and dugouts. Weapons are trained on visitors from the windows, roof, gatehouse and guard-posts that rise up at each corner.
Sabaoon means “first light of dawn” in Pashto. Beyond the soldiers are well-thumbed English books and Urdu dictionaries. Boys dressed in green-and-white striped shirts, cream slacks and white plimsolls huddle in shady corners.
For most of them, Sabaoon is the first proper school they have attended. Only a few weeks ago, some were living under rough blankets in a dark corner of a TTP training camp. Others were tramping the unforgiving terrain between Pakistan’s tribal areas and neighbouring Afghanistan, acting as lookouts: spotting an army convoy to attack or a girls’ school to bomb. Some were scouring the villages where they had once lived, in search of more young recruits. The one thing they all had in common was a belief in the righteousness of killing. All of them expected to die before reaching adulthood.
Abida finds Attaullah sitting with the school director in a counselling room with a two-way mirror. He has just been sprung from a TTP camp. The boy who died in Lahore on 2 July was someone else’s son. Abida sobs into her son’s neck. “Stop it, Mum,” he whispers, embarrassed. “I’m OK.” A would-be killer, he is suddenly transformed into an awkward kid. Abida’s relief turns to anger as she learns from the school director that they suspect him of scouting for targets and recruits. She slaps him round the face. “Why did you go with them?” she cries. “You stupid boy!”
Before becoming director of Sabaoon, Dr Feriha Peracha had a lucrative career as one of Pakistan’s most respected psychologists. Her practice in Defence Colony, a well-heeled suburb of Lahore, had a roster of clients from Pakistan’s wealthy elite. In the shade of the school’s volleyball court, her head covered with a silk YSL scarf, she recalls her journey here: “I needed to take responsibility,” she says. “Things are now desperate for Pakistan. I want every child in here to see that they should not give in to life after death as the only option.”
On arrival, the teenagers are assessed and classified according to the risk they present. Compound One contains the most trusted students: those who probably have not handled weapons, who do not display pathological behaviour and whose family have had no known contact with the TTP. “These boys are the most likely to have been used as cannon fodder,” Peracha says. “The Taliban does not waste money or time training those it chooses to be human bombs.”
The second compound takes the teenagers who may have straddled this world and that of the jihadi fighter. The third houses the high-risk, all of whom have received advanced weapons training and been subject to the most intensive indoctrination. As we walk around, we can feel snatched glances from teenagers hiding behind curtains and in doorways. “You are the first foreigners they have ever seen,” Peracha says. She takes us into the art room. The work is a carnival of gore: paintings of limbless bodies, severed heads, rocket-propelled grenades.
Dr Peracha explains how Pakistan’s normally conservative army devised this initiative. “In July 2009, they approached me to assess a group they had recovered from Taliban camps. They wanted to know if I thought they could be rehabilitated.”
She drove up to Swat at the height of the army offensive known by its code name Rah-i-Rast, the Straight Path. “I was so afraid when I first arrived,” she says. “Every building had a soldier on the roof, all the shops were shuttered, there wasn’t a woman in sight.” The army escorted Peracha to the court building in Mingora, Swat’s capital, where she found herself confronted with a dozen dirty teenagers. “The first one had such a look of contempt when I tried to speak with him. I spent hours with him. Eventually, he bragged that he could take apart a Kalashnikov, and the story of his militancy spilled out.”
A month later, Peracha was summoned to Malakand Fort to meet some more boys. “The skies swarmed with helicopters. I knew a bigwig was coming.” In strode the chief of the army, staff general Ashfaq Kayani. “He was very curious about these boys,” she says. “Many of them were compromised intellectually and had psychological problems. He asked me, ‘Would a school help?’ I replied, ‘Yes’ and then he said, ‘This is the site. You will be the director.'”
Colonel Aamer Najam, fort commander at Malakand, enters the room. He has been fighting the TTP in Swat since August 2008. “Many were against the school,” he says. “They said, ‘Why bother, why waste the money? These boys are finished already.'”
But the colonel understood the significance of the experiment. Throughout 2009, his men had picked up large numbers of children from TTP camps. “Sometimes we’d apprehend them at militants’ compounds, a child hiding in a cellar or arms store,” he says. “Other times the militants would melt away during a fire-fight and there’d be kids left wandering around the battlefield. We had already witnessed a spree of suicide blasts over the north-west, carried out by bombers aged between 13 and 17. And they weren’t doing it because they wanted to.”
The colonel has two children of his own, currently living in Glasgow with his Scottish wife. “Children are very soft,” he says, pulling on a cigarette. “They break down very easily. They have no idea what is right or wrong, and they are just as much victims as those killed in the blasts.”
Right now, his greatest fear is maintaining security for the project. “We are tampering with the terrorists’ investments. They have spent money on these boys, recruiting and training them. One day, they will come after us.”
“These kids are completely brainwashed,” says Dr Farooq Khan, a religious scholar and vice chancellor of Swat University, who was brought in to correct the boys’ religious misconceptions. “In the camps, the TTP told them that Pakistan is run by foreign infidels, so it is imperative to wage jihad. They told them, ‘Join with us to wage holy war and you will go straight to heaven.’ At Sabaoon, we have to start again, right from the beginning, to explain true Islam and the Qur’an.” Does he worry for his own safety? “The time of life and death is already given,” he says.
A student knocks and enters. He has a counselling session with Peracha. Everyone is particularly jittery today. The day before, a teenage bomber devastated Mingora bus station, killing himself and five others, and maiming 50.
“This one is high-risk,” Peracha whispers. “I feel threatened by him. Sometimes I think, ‘You want to kill me. If we were in another environment and you had a chance, you would do it.'” The boy calls himself Saddam, a popular name in Swat, where Saddam Hussein is a hero. This 17-year-old is from the first intake of pupils who arrived last August, but he is unlikely to be going home any time soon.
Eleven months on, he still denies any involvement with the TTP, even though he was caught trying to attack an army convoy in a suicidal assault. His parents have filled in large parts of his story, claiming they lost control after sending him to a madrassa at the age of 11. The offer of free board, lodging and education proved irresistible, despite rumours about the seminary’s extremist connections. Soon after, Saddam disappeared. “When he came home again, his father says he was completely changed,” Peracha says. He was aggressive, obsessed with guns and had unexplained shrapnel wounds to his leg. “We still have a long way to go with him.”
She dismisses Saddam and calls in some others.Brothers Mohammed, 16, and Amjad, 14, sit on their hands like naughty kids summoned to the head teacher. “You would think that butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths,” Peracha says, “but Mohammed was a handler, scouting the target and dropping the bomber off on his mission. We think his other job was to recruit young boys to wear the jackets. There are lots of Talibans in their family, so there is a lot of peer pressure.”
Like these two, the vast majority of boys come from around the Mamdheri, Tal and Peochar settlements on the left bank of the Swat river. While the right flank of the valley once boasted tourist ski resorts, few outsiders ever made it to the left bank, where the roads and even the electricity fizzle out. Communities here became cut off altogether after Maulana Fazullah, the popular leader of the Swat Taliban, began building a complex of madrassas and training camps in 2007. Fazullah, a one-time ski trolley operator who found support among the poor and marginalised through nightly broadcasts on a pirate radio station, graduated into the real business of jihad after the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) operation in July 2007, where police and armed forces stormed a mosque in Islamabad that had become a militant redoubt. Scores of religious students died and religious conservatives across the country vowed revenge.
Signing an alliance with Baitulluh Mehsud, then the overall leader of the Pakistani Taliban, a newly armed and funded Fazullah had, by 2008, established a parallel government in Swat, his followers setting about the slaughter of anyone connected to the state. By June 2009, there were only 30 serving police officers left in the valley, with more than 2,000 having fled or been killed. By the time Mohammed and Amjad disappeared from their village in late 2009, the army had destroyed Fazullah’s bases and silenced his radio show, although Fazullah himself had vanished. He is said to be in hiding on the Afghan border.
There are new arrivals at Sabaoon. Peracha rushes over to Compound Three. On the way, she tells us how difficult it has been to recruit staff. The stigma of working with suicide bombers is enormous. Joining us is “Rafi”, a psychologist from Peshawar, who has not even told his family of his work here. “When I came, I was so frightened. I arrived in the dark to face all these suicide bombers, expecting them to be wild-haired and crazy, but they were just kids,” he says. Rafi has become a father figure to many of the children here, who call out for him at night when the nightmares begin. “In the day they are boastful,” he says, “but by night they dream of the people they have seen shot and mutilated.” Many dwell on friends who were taken off one day and never returned. The camp commander would choose his boy, take him off for a haircut, measure him up for new clothes, always a size too large to accommodate the explosive waistcoat. The chosen ones were treated as if they were about to be married, fed meat and given milk or Pepsi. Then a handler took them away to board a bus to Peshawar, Islamabad or Lahore. Some would be given drugs to pump them up or calm their nerves. “A few days later, the remaining boys would hear that their friend had reached paradise,” Rafi says.
He has traced some of these teenagers to their villages. “Slowly we are putting together a profile of the communities. How many militants live there? Does the family have any TTP connections? Can they afford to look after their son? Is there any local schooling? We cannot keep them here for ever.” Boys who go home are kept on parole for two years, monitored by the school and army. Families have to sign an agreement that if the boy goes missing again, a family member will surrender to army detention until the child is recovered.
A boy with bad acne and a startling grin enters the room. Fifteen-year-old Sajad’s father had two wives and nine children, and the family lived in a kutcha (temporary shack) near Nowergali, at the heart of Fazullah’s former power base. Sajad’s mother died when he was seven and he became the family’s main breadwinner, bringing home 8,000 rupees (£60) a month as a labourer. At the age of 11, two friends took him to a TTP training camp. There was food, weapons and militants who talked of a better life by winning a respectable death. To Sajad, it seemed a far better option than rising at 5am to dig fields by hand. He underwent basic arms training in Orakzai Agency, a tribal area dominated by the TTP. One day, he was strapped into a suicide jacket. He and his TTP handler tried to cross into Afghanistan, but an alert Pakistan border guard spotted them and Sajad was captured. “I was very sad,” he says, his fingers tensing and flexing. “I wanted to die.” Peracha asks him if he would have blown her up if they had met at the border. “Why, yes,” he replies. “And these foreigners, too, if they had been there?” His smile returns. “Of course,” he says.
After the previous day’s blast at Mingora, a calming excursion has been planned: tonight, some of the boys from Compound One are to be taken to a local riverside beauty spot where they will draw. A dozen of them pile excitedly into a minivan with an armed guard, while Colonel Aamer, Peracha and a visiting lecturer from the National College of Arts squeeze into an army pick-up. The threat of ambush is constant. Scanning the faces along the roadside, it is impossible to ignore their undisguised contempt for the military. Almost immediately, we have to stop for the soldiers to check out an abandoned car. By the time we reach the beauty spot, crowds have gathered, making the place too difficult to secure. The colonel aborts the trip and we head back towards Malakand.
Still, Peracha refuses to give in. She diverts the convoy again, to a ridge outside the colonel’s fort, a place that offers breathtaking views over Swat and a safe vantage point for the army. The art teacher hands out drawing pads and pencils. Soldiers stand guard at a distance. The colonel blows smoke rings.
“Sometimes I come here to pray,” Peracha says. “If I start thinking about all that needs to be done, I frighten myself, but we have to save Swat. The terrorists are not far off. They are never far off.”
It begins to rain, a slow patter on Swat’s scorched earth. The drops pick up pace, until rivulets form. Within a day of our departure, the entire valley is flooding. Within a week, it is cut off from the rest of the world. Within two, bridges are down across Pakistan, leaving 12m people stranded and starving, many of their homes and livelihoods destroyed. Cholera sets in. The army, fighting a war on so many fronts, cannot cope with a disaster on this scale. Nor can the government.
Soon, skimming across the muddy tide, come wooden skiffs heaped full of privately funded aid and medicines, paddled by the very people the Pakistan state has fought so hard to keep out. Here are the jihadists and insurgents, their charities and front organisations laden with gifts for the sick and the suffering. Floating by is Lashkar-e-Taiba, accused of plotting the Mumbai hotel attacks of November 2008, and the TTP, too, broadcasting a threat for the government: “Do not take western aid.” Rumours spread that the TTP is planning to kill foreign aid workers.
Soon, the bombings begin again, too, with more than 150 killed in the first nine days of September: Lahore, Quetta, Lakki Marwat and the tribal areas of Kurram and Kohat. On 2 October, the TTP gets Dr Farooq Khan, too, assassinating him while he’s having lunch with an assistant, sending a chill through everyone who works at Sabaoon. On 7 October, two teenage bombers blow themselves up at a sufi shrine in Karachi, killing nine and injuring more than 60.
But the school survives. Even in the flood, Colonel Aamer’s men have made sure the pupils are fed and classes continue. Established as a beacon of hope, the school is now an island.
All names of boys and their families have been changed to protect their identities.
Taliban recruits teenage suicide bombers for revenge attacks
Video films made by the Taliban in Pakistan’s troubled Swat valley show teenage boys being groomed as suicide bombers for revenge attacks against local security forces.
By Nick Meo in Peshawar 6:04PM BST 30 May 2009
After the army began an operation to clear Taliban from the valley in May, fighters went from house to house demanding a boy or young man from each family, with recruits encouraged to volunteer for martyrdom missions.
Last week 24 people died and more than 300 were wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded outside a secret police headquarters in Lahore, and six policemen were killed when an attacker detonated explosives at a checkpoint in Peshawar.
Taliban spokesmen said the attacks inside Pakistan’s main cities were revenge for the army’s assault.
Propaganda films obtained by The Sunday Telegraph in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province, show boys of 14 or 15 recording farewell messages before climbing into vehicles filled with explosives.
Suicide bombings were extremely rare in Pakistan but have increased dramatically since the Taliban took control of Swat in the aftermath of a bungled government crackdown on extremists launched in 2007.
One film which Pakistanis have been watching with horrified fascination shows a boy of about 15, named in the video as Arshad Ali from Swat, who attacked a polling station after the Taliban banned voting last year.
Sitting with an AK-47 cradled in his lap and fiddling with prayer beads, he stares into the camera. Speaking calmly, he said that the people of Swat were living in evil times and that sacrifice was called for.
“Some hypocrites say that we are doing this for money – or because of brainwashing – but we are told by Allah to target these pagans,” he said, in a reference to government claims that the families of suicide bombers were paid after the attacks.
He said: “I invite my fellows to sacrifice themselves”.
His final message was for his father, who he urged to stop working in a bank which paid interest, a practice which extremists consider to be usury and unIslamic.
The film then switched to the scene of devastation after the attack, with demolished buildings and piles of rubble-strewn with corpses. The two-minute clip has become the latest hit in a craze for jihadi videos that has swept Pakistan’s north-west. DVDs and CDs are openly sold in bazaars, replacing Bollywood films which the extremists have banned.
Films are also swapped between mobile phones or on social networking sites.
Many of them feature the last messages of young suicide bombers, and footage shot of their attacks from a distance – with the cameraman heard chanting “Allah Akbar” (God is great) after each explosion.
The films also show gruesome “trials” and beheadings of alleged spies and captured policemen, whippings of criminals, the aftermath of attacks by guerrillas, and scenes of young jihadis preparing for holy war in training camps.
Another boy, who looks even younger than Arshad Ali, tells the camera: “If I die, do not cry for me. I will be in Heaven waiting for you.”
Soon afterwards he killed himself in an attack in which dozens of security personnel died or were wounded.
Sermons from firebrand leaders, jihadi songs about revenge, or chanting of Koranic verses are played as a soundtrack over the footage.
In one sermon, Maulana Fazlulla, one of the movement’s leaders in Swat, who is also known as Maulana Radio from his liking for broadcasting, said that the Taliban has set up their own media wing because Pakistani journalists were biased against them.
Maulana Fazlulla is believed to be the commander chiefly responsible for the Taliban’s strategy of using young suicide bombers. Last year he told Pakistani journalists: “I am so proud that our boys use their flesh and bones as a weapon for Islam”.
On one of the videos he is heard to say: “A lot of people have given us everything for jihad, their homes, their money, their children too.”
Another video showed Pakistani planes bombing villages. Such bombardments have killed large numbers of civilians. As the pictures of burned victims and charred villages are played, the maulana says: “To revenge our children we will send out regiments of suicide bombers.”
The suicide attacks, which seem to be modelled on al-Qaeda’s tactics in Iraq, have spread fear through the ranks of the military and silenced many of the tribal leaders who oppose the Taliban.
“They have ruined our Pushtun culture,” one Peshawar businessman said. “They attack mosques at prayer times, murder elders, and recruit boys to kill themselves. All of this is forbidden in Islam.”
The man did not want to give his name for fear of falling victim to the Taliban’s assassination campaign.
“Not even in the bloodiest battles in the past have we seen this. It is the Arab al-Qaeda way of jihad. It is poisoning our lands.”
One of the few leaders from Swat who is prepared to speak out against the Taliban is Riaz Khan, a political worker for the PML-N opposition party who described how the Taliban had taken over the valley. “The Taliban says to people, if you want to live here you will have to support us with money or give us one person from your family.
“They brainwash boys in madrassas. They prepare them mentally for suicide bombing. There has never been anything like this in Swat before – before this the people of Swat were religious but peaceful.”
The British government is so worried about the spread of radicalisation among young people in NWFP that in April it announced the quadrupling of spending on development in Pakistan to more than £600 million over four years
The government has been so concerned about propaganda videos that Pakistani television stations have been forbidden from showing them.
But they can also backfire on the groups who make them. When ordinary Pakistanis watched the films that they can buy in bazaars, they see what life under Taliban rule is like.
“I always had a soft corner of my heart for the Taliban because I thought that they were good Muslims and they were fighting against government injustice,” said Mohammed Khan, a shopkeeper who lives in Islamabad.
“But when I saw men being slaughtered like beasts in executions, and boys going to kill themselves, I was shocked.”
There have been growing signs in the past week of a new bitterness in the battle between the Taliban and the Pakistan government. The price on the head of Maulana Fazlulla was increased to 50 million rupees (£372,000) alive or dead, ten times the original bounty that was offered for him. In return, the Taliban have threatened new revenge attacks.
A telephone intercept of Muslim Khan, a Taliban spokesman in Swat, was released in which he urged attacks on the families of soldiers. “Strikes should be carried out on their homes so their kids get killed and then they’ll realise,” he was quoted as saying.
The army appears to have been successful in driving Taliban back in large areas, and it claimed yesterday that it had regained control of Mingora, the capital of Swat. However, the battles have resulted in an exodus of 2.4 million refugees. In turn this has created a new security problem – hundreds of terrorists are feared to be hiding among those who have fled.
Police have so far arrested more than 30 suspected Taliban in refugee camps, but there was concern that many more may have used the chaos to slip into Pakistan’s cities. Fears of suicide bombers striking crowds are running so high in Peshawar that gatherings of more than 10 people have been banned.
See the Taliban’s film of Arshad Ali on Telegraph TV
9 December, 2010 – 14:07 GMT
Pakistan’s child suicide bombers
Many of the suicide bomb attacks which have claimed thousands of lives in Pakistan in recent years were carried out by young boys.
Some joined the militants of their own free will, whilst others were sold by their parents for small sums of money.
But when youngsters who have been trained by the militants are captured by the Pakistan Army, the challenge then is how to integrate them back into their communities.
In July of this year the Pakistan Army set up a special school for young boys whom they had taken back from militant factions.
This school is now independently run by an NGO.
It has the difficult task of completely changing the perspectives of these very troubled youngsters, who have been told that suicide bombing is a direct route to heaven.
One of the psychologists who has been working with these children spoke to Outlook’s Matthew Bannister.
She explains how she tries to help the children re-build their lives.
She says “I believe that most children don’t want to die, don’t want to be involved in militancy if they realise the horror of the end results of militancy, unless they feel that living in this life is just not worth it.”
The psychologist does not want to be named for security reasons.
Rented suicide-bomber used for attack on a Shia politician in Bhakkar
Police investigation into the suicide-bombing incident in Bhakkar in Punjab in August this year revealed that the killing was done through a suicide-bomber “bought” in South Waziristan. The targeted man was killed in the attack but so were other people, and the incident was generally described as sectarian, unleashing tensions between sects that gave rise to further violent events in the region. The police have now revealed that one Waqqas Hussain and his four accomplices had “hired” a suicide bomber and an explosives expert from Wana to kill a former friend of theirs with whom they had a monetary dispute.
marvellous article….as a left wing revolutionary..a socialist..i congratulate the authour on this great piece of work…
اس وقت وزیرستان سے لے اسلام آباد تک اور باجوڑ سے لے کر کراچی تک آگ و خون کا جو کھیل جاری ہے اس کی نظریاتی بنیادیں ہم نے خود استوار کیں، اس کے لئے ماحول خود بنایا اور دونوں طرف اسی دھرتی کے اپنے ہی بچے ایک دوسرے کے خلاف مورچہ زن ہیں لیکن ہم سازش، سازش اور سازش کی ورد کرتے ہوئے بڑی آسانی کے ساتھ اپنے آپ کو مبرا کرنا چاہتے ہیں۔سوال یہ ہے کہ ہم اگر آپس میں نہ لڑتے تو یہود وہنود کی سازش کیسے کامیاب ہوتی ؟
Excellent post ! simply the best a good research article !
It is very unfortunate that mostly, Pakistan is a victim of fatal virus of religious fanaticism.
Criminals under the disguise of religion, are steering the Titanic of Islam towards disaster.
An Agenda based on Bloodshed, Destruction, Slavery and Hate cannot be accepted as a System of Governance.
Sovereignty of the State cannot be handed over to the Gangsters, suffering from psychological, physical and mental deficiency.
Jaish-e-Muhammad builds huge base in Bahawalpur:
* Inscriptions on walls imply New Delhi, Jews, Hindus being targeted by Jaish
* Security officer describes new compound ‘second centre’ of terrorism
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: The Jaish-e-Muhammad has walled off a 4.5-acre compound outside Bahawalpur, according to a report published in The Telegraph on Sunday. However, it added, authorities have ignored the construction despite reports the compound might be a radical madrassa or training camp.
While world attention has been focused on the menace of the Taliban in the northwest of the country, Jaish bases and a string of similar groups in southern Punjab have gone largely unnoticed. Yet Punjabi extremist groups send thousands of recruits to fight British soldiers in Afghanistan, The Telegraph claimed. It said Bahawalpur is a backwater, poor town that is able to function as a centre for ideological indoctrination and terrorist planning due to its isolation.
In Bahawalpur alone, there might be as many as 1,000 madrassas, many of which teach a violent version of Islam to children, who are mostly too poor to go to regular school. Jaish has its headquarters in Bahawalpur and openly runs an imposing madrassa, Usman-o-Ali, in the centre of the town, where it teaches its extremist interpretation of Islam to hundreds of children every year. The group was banned by Pakistan in 2002 and designated a “foreign terrorist organisation” by the US.
Well organized and dangerous Institutions has been planted to hypnotize, brainwash and prepare a nursery of religious Fanatics.
Fundamentalists have become more active and panic for their survival as whole of the World is rapidly heading towards social and economic realities of life.
The allusion under the label of religion is loosing its attraction and appeal.
21st Century could be the last span for their existence.
Roaches can damage the food stuff but cannot capture and take over the household.
What is the problem with a calligraphy of “Ya Allah madad” or “Muhammad”??
LUBP’s parochial approach toward sectarian issues is clear from its support of a particular sect and that too because some major “leaders” (read “owners”) of PPP belong to this sect.
Obviously, the murder of innocents should be condemned and practical steps should be taken to curb the mindset that results in such actions. But becoming “islamophobic” is no solution. LUBP needs to practice what it preaches. Instead of becoming a party in sectarianism it should approach the issues objectively.
Please don’t distort facts. No one at LUBP has a problem with Islamic calligraphy. According to your argument, it’s ok for young children to be drawing pictures of tanks with the caption “kufr ka wahid ilaj al-jihad” and pictures of Kalashnikovs supporting jihad? And anyone who criticizes this is promoting “sectarianism”?!
And the ironic thing is that after writing in support of such hateful drawings you accuse LUBP of promoting sectarianism merely because it condemns killing of shias in Pakistan?
we from our roots are corrupt . if individually we try and change ourselves then i think we are the best .
Some examples of Fazool comments by Fazool_1. This proves his deepest hatred for Bhuttos, Zardari, PPP and his deepest love for Imran Khan.
Mr Fazool himself is most probably an extremist Deobandi who is living in a state of denial. Fazool must consult this resource: http://criticalppp.com/archives/25316
PPP nay jo hashar kar dia hai Pakistan ka, us kay baad hairat hoti hai kay woh kaun log hain jo abhi bhi PPP ko support kartay hain??
“criticalppp.com” is a misnomer for this website. It should be something like “defendersofpppnomatterwhat.com”. Similar problem lies with PPP government. Isn’t there a single sane person left in the party to make the government realize what a BIG mess they have put the country in?
* What is zardari’s progeny doing with him on foreign tours? Is there any special allocation in budget for bilawal, asifa & bakhtawar’s trips? (oh I should not have asked this question, I forgot PPP’s slogan: “warasti democracy is revenge”.)
bhutto’s blind followers are no less scourge for this country… minions like you are the real plague of this nation.
what about Zardari’s statement that he is open to talks with Taliban? what happened to him now? either he has no understanding of the matter or he is clever enough to change his opinion according to that of US & UK? After having wasted almost a decade in Afghanistan with no success, US & Nato forces have realized that continuous war is no solution and they should proceed with negotiations. Interestingly, Imran Khan predicted all this. You may call it a chance happening or you may credit him with having a foresight of a leader. But it would be better for imran haters to stop being losers and start analyzing the situation properly with open mind & factual information.
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Muhammad Haroon ()
House #: CA-15 I.D, Street #: 6, Mohal Modal town A-bahawalpure.
Muhammad Haroon ()
House #: CA-15 I.D, Street #: 6, Mohal Modal town A-bahawalpure.
Muhammad Haroon ()
House #: CA-15 I.D, Street #: 6, Mohal Modal town A-bahawalpure.
Excellent research, Zalan.
Let us hope that our hyper active judiciary will take notice of this case and order a criminal inquiry. At least, this guy Muhammad Haroon of Mohallah Model Town, Bahawalpur may be arrested without late.
I never said that it is ok for children to draw pictures of tanks, war scenes etc.
If no one at LUBP has a problem with Islamic calligraphy, then why are there sample pictures with calligraphy “Ya Allah Madad” and “Muhammad” in this article. These have no relevance to the issue of teaching hatred to children. Can you explain any relevance? You either did not read my comment carefully or did not look at the pictures in the article.
And it is quite ridiculous that you are accusing me of supporting “hateful drawings”. I never said anything that supports the hateful drawings. I actually condemned the killings of innocents and can you please elaborate how “Ya Allah Madad” and “Muhammad” calligraphy counts as “hateful drawings”?
Because the art gallery on the magazine website combined all the children’s drawings into 1 JPEG file.
Your comment is proof of the bigoted mindset of the so called liberals. Good that you brought out my previous comments!
And instead of answering any of the questions, you just branded me as “extremist Deobandi”. What a pity!
Such attitude is no better than those of narrow-minded Talibans you are always condemning; only difference is that you are on the “left”.
oh, c’mon that’s a lame excuse. LUBP does not have any technical know-how to edit a pic in JPEG format?
you’re making a ridiculous argument. The pictures were the art gallery on the jihadi magazine for each magazine issue. Why should LUBP edit them? I think almost everyone who has an ounce of sense can see the point that was being made… if pictures of tanks and kalshnikovs don’t bother you then that’s your problem. I don’t think your argument that criticism of Jaish-e-Mohammad’s youth magazine’s art gallery amounts to “parochial sectarianism” is going to gain much traction among the sane people of the world, but good luck peddling it.
Why should LUBP edit them?
Hmmm… so LUBP should start publishing the whole magazines of all the sectarian outfits.
There is a simple rule in writing articles: if you are referring to some source, quote the relevant part and leave the irrelevant.
LeT, JeM and all such monsters are not Sectarian outfits, What a Fazool argument
It is not difficult to find the people who are running these organizations and publishing there kind of magazines ,They cannot sell these stuff in many Islamic countries such as Bangladesh ,Iran ,Saudi Arabia ,UAE ,Qatar or Malaysia Its only Pakistan where Terrorism support is very open .
At Every Deoband Madersa after Friday prayers you can find Jihadis out side the Masjid and selling these newspapers .I have seen my self they were calling
“Ulema-e-Haq ki nigrani main chalnay wala Mujahideen ka Akhbar Alqalam ka taza shumara aagaya hay ”
Where is provincial interior ministry ?
Where is Rehman Malik ?
Where is local police ?
Why no NGO file FIR against this ?
Where is civil Society ?
ولا تلبسوا الحق بالباطل
Do not mix up truth with falsehood, right with wrong. This is a Quranic instruction.
Calligraphy about Allah and Muhammad is fine but then mixing such calligraphy with hate material is a sin. (This is particularly the case when young children are exposed to such material as they may not realize this important distinction and get brainwashed which is the sole purpose of such ‘artwork’ in such magazines.)
It is tantamount to prostitution of religion for ulterior political and ideological gains. This is something which extremist Deobandis and their apologists are good at. They prostitute religion in the name of religion to promote their own sectarian and violent agendas.
Origins of the current wave of Islamofascism:
Saudi Arabia: Fueling religious persecution and extremism – by Nina Shea
As Taban said in a different thread: same can be seen in the shape of weekly Zarbe Momin, weekly al-Qalam, daily Islam and Ummat are full of such bullshit; LeT weekly newspaper Ghazwa also has the same style.
For ending discrimination: Reform curriculum, change minds
Three-day workshop discusses policies for inter-faith harmony.
ISLAMABAD: ‘Respecting religious diversity and promoting harmony among different faith is essential to promote peace and development’.
This was the theme under discussion at the opening session of the three-day training held by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Minority Right Group (MRG), UK, on Monday. The event is being attended by teachers, of different faiths, from the schools of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Speaking on the occasion, Senior Advisor SDP Ahmed Salim said, “Text books taught in schools can play a pivotal role in this regard and SDPI would keep on contributing to the cause of strengthening religious harmony through curriculum reform.”
He said that all citizens of Pakistan irrespective of their faith should be treated equally, without any discrimination.
Introducing the training modules, Ahmad Salim mentioned that the existing text course in our schools was ‘highly predisposed’, which was the root cause of increasing prejudice in the society about various religions.
Meanwhile, Humaira Ishfaq, lecturer at Islamic International University, said that the modules developed under MRG project were an attempt to curtail the ‘abhorrence among different religions’ and to bring tranquillity in the society.
She highlighted the changes required in the pedagogical methods and how these could be ‘constructive’ if implemented in the class rooms. Ishfaq also encouraged the steps of government to amend the ethics’ text in relation to these developed modules.
“The failure to provide adequate protection to ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities of Pakistan is an unfortunate aspect of country’s legal and political history,” said Afshan Ahmed, Research Associate at SDPI.
She said that the dilemma of our education system was meagre curriculum development and the inflexibility of most of the teachers. Similarly, the Executive Director SDPI Dr Abid Suleri appreciated the role of steering committee of MRG project for their guidance on development of multi faith educational modules for grade 1 to grade 10 children.
He assured that SDPI would carry on supporting all initiatives taken for religious harmony in the country. He also lauded Sherry Rehman for floating a bill for an amendment in blasphemy law and insisted that path of religious tolerance was ‘a must’ to curb extremism and militancy from the country.
According to Ahmed, lack of a proper definition for the word ‘minority’ in the constitution and absence of impartial governance in the affairs of religion was making the life of diversified religious groups miserable.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2010.
Merkel gives stern warning to Pakistan on terrorism
Monday, December 13, 2010
BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has given a stern message to Pakistan that terrorism is not a means to solve political problems and this is unacceptable.
In a joint press conference with visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Sunday, the German chancellor while talking about the terrorist attacks against India said Berlin would take up the terror issue with Islamabad.
“We want to do whatever we can to make it clear to Pakistan that terror cannot be a means to solve the political problems. We will make it clear to Pakistan that terror is unacceptable,” said Merkel.
After statements by British Prime Minister Cameron, French President Sarkozy and the European Union (EU) to come down heavily on acts of terrorism, it was another strong criticism of Pakistan’s policy, which is a frontline state in the war on terror.
An ISI-CIA-Jundullah production:
ایران: چابھار میں خودکش حملہ، 38 ہلاک
ایران کے صوبے سیستان بلوسچتان میں چا بھار کی ایک مسجد کے باہر خودکش دھماکے میں کم سے کم اڑتیس افراد ہلاک ہوگئے ہیں۔
ایران کے سرکاری خبر ساں ادارے ’ارنا‘ کے مطابق یہ دھماکہ امام حسین مسجد کے باہر ہوا۔ اطلاعات کے مطابق مرنے والوں میں کئی خواتین اور بچے شامل ہیں۔
مقامی اہلکاروں کے مطابق دو حملہ آور تھے جن میں سے ایک کو حراست میں لے لیا گیا ہے۔
پاکستان کے صوبے بلوچستان سے متصل اس علاقے میں اکثرییتی آبادی سنی ہے اور یہاں پر شعیہ تقریبات کو کئی مرتبہ حملوں کا نشانہ بنایا گیا ہے۔ سنی آبادی اکثر شیعہ آبادی کے ہاتھوں امتیاز کا دعویٰ کرتی ہے۔
ابھی تک کسی نے خود کش حملے کی ذمہ داری قبول نہیں کی اور تفیصلات بھی پوری طرح سامنے نہیں آئیں۔ سرکاری ٹیلی وژن پر کہا گیا کہ دو دھماکے ہوئے لیکن بعد میں ایک اعلیٰ اہلکار نے کہا کہ صرف ایک دھماکہ ہوا۔
ماضی میں ایسے حملوں کی ذمہ داری عسکریت پسند تنظیم جند اللہ نے قبول کی تھی۔ جند اللہ کا موقف ہے کہ وہ بلوچ قوم کی بقا اور روایات کے تحفظ کے لیے جد وجہد کر رہی ہے۔
جنداللہ نے جولائی میں صوبائی دارالحکومت زاہدان میں ایک شعیہ مسجد پر بم حملے کی ذمہ داری قبول کی تھی جس میں ستائیس افراد ہلاک ہوئے تھے۔ اس کا کہنا تھا کہ وہ حملہ جنداللہ کے رہنما عبد المالک ریگی کو پھانسی دیے جانے پر تنظیم کا جوابی ردِ عمل تھا۔
اکتوبر سنہ دو ہزار نو میں سیستان بلوچستان میں پیشین کے علاقے میں ایرانی انقلابی گارڈز پر حملے کے بعد جنداللہ نے کہا تھا کہ اس حملے میں جس میں کئی اعلیٰ ترین کمانڈروں سمیت اکتیس افراد ہلاک ہوئے تھے، اسی کا ہاتھ ہے۔
From good Taliban to bad Taliban —Azizullah Khan
As a result of Pakistan’s support to the second episode of jihad, which is now known as the ‘Taliban era’, we received TTP, the suicide bombing culture and ended up with large swathes of land out of state control
Nation states resort to different tactics to secure their national interests, ranging from diplomacy to proxies (fighters of state A who secure its interest in host state B). In the real world it is almost considered legitimate to secure a state’s interests through any means. ‘Proxies’ is a common phenomenon, but a major question to be considered is whether the benefits of proxies are worth the costs.
The international community is nearly unanimous on the point that Pakistan is backing some factions of the Taliban, for which they have coined the term ‘good Taliban’. Western analysts and political leaders call Pakistan’s approach a ‘pick-and-choose’ policy. They believe that Pakistan facilitates this faction of the Taliban as it is assumed that it will guard its interests in Afghanistan, i.e. to curtail Indian influence and have safe havens for India-centric jihadis. They are up in arms. British Prime Minister David Cameron’s notorious statement that Pakistan is “exporting terrorism” is probably best representative of what they are thinking about Pakistan. And they are asking us to do more. Recently, David Petraeus, US commander in Afghanistan, in an interview with ABC News said that “more clearly needs to be done in the tribal areas of Pakistan to weed out” terrorists.
‘Good Taliban’ are good, yes, because they are good in fighting, good in exploding themselves in bazaars and at shrines, good in demolishing schools, good in targeting the Pakistan Army and good in kidnapping teachers and doctors. They might be good at these things but not in friendship. The Taliban by their nature are like a snake, which, by its very nature, must bite, and nature cannot be changed.
If (a big if) they come to power in Afghanistan, they will establish a strong nexus between the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and their regime in Afghanistan. Then there will be double route traffic. Herds and herds of Taliban will be moving to and from Pakistan, some will be driven, others will move willingly and they will kill, destroy and pick up whatever will come in their way. There will be pitched battles among them and perhaps we will find ourselves standing in their rows.
In order to get insights about the future, we should take lessons from history. Ahmad Rashid notes in Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia that, as a consequence of its support to the first episode of jihad, which is now known as the ‘Mujahideen era’, “Pakistan which had no heroin addicts in 1979, had 650,000 addicts in 1986, three million by 1992 and an estimated five million in 1999.” Adding to this, we also received the Kalashnikov culture. As a result of Pakistan’s support to the second episode of jihad, which is now known as the ‘Taliban era’, we received TTP, the suicide bombing culture and ended up with large swathes of land out of state control.
And the situation is moving from bad to worse. A couple of weeks ago, a Washington-based NGO, Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict (CIVIC) released a report, which notes that there were probably more “civilian casualties — 2,100 deaths — in Pakistan in 2009 than in Afghanistan”. Furthermore, it warns that “losses have a long-lasting and devastating impact on civilians’ lives, provoke anger and undermine legitimacy of the Pakistani government”. “In 2009,” according to the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), “a total of 2,586 terrorist, insurgent and sectarian related incidents of terrorism were reported across the country that killed 3,021 people and injured 7,334.” In 2010 (until November), according to the same source, a total of 3,137 incidents of the same nature took place, which killed 9,343 people.
Some may argue that, for Pakistan, India’s influence in Afghanistan is tantamount to its encirclement, for which Pakistan has to take a few demanding decisions to secure its legitimate interests over there. An editorial titled ‘Pak-Afghan ties’ (Daily Times, December 7, 2010) brilliantly challenges this point of view: “We have to realise that our ‘assets’, i.e. the Afghan Taliban, are no one’s friends. We may think they are different from the local Taliban who are openly waging a war against Pakistan but the ground reality is that there is no such thing as the ‘good Taliban’. There is no guarantee that once the Taliban are back in power in Afghanistan, they would cooperate with us. After 9/11, we saw that the Taliban refused to hand over Osama bin Laden despite Pakistan’s insistence. Terrorists are no respecters of borders but due to our India-phobia, we continue to support them.”
If we want to decrease Indian influence in Afghanistan we have to bring a major shift in our strategic calculus and we have to extend our best possible support to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan.
If we fail to do so, then it is very likely that there will be Lahori Taliban, Peshawari Taliban, Multani Taliban, Gujrati Taliban, Karachi Taliban and Sialkoti Taliban, so on and so forth.
Do you want this to happen?
The writer is a graduate of Government College University, Lahore, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
one veteran analyst had an even grimmer outlook: “Pakistan’s biggest challenge is not as much from Al Qaeda, whose leadership is in disarray and probably on the run, but from ‘Al-Qaedaism’.”
The analyst explained that almost all the Pakistani sectarian, Kashmiri and other jihadi groups have gone beyond their initial ‘narrow’ agendas and that their “new pan-Islamist philosophy ranges from hitting Indians, Shias, Ahmedis, Iranians, Americans, Pakistani security officials and Afghans.”
The analyst added: “Different groups may have different list of priorities, but the goal is the same. From their standpoint all these people are anti-Islam, infidels or heretics and so deserve to die. That’s Al-Qaedaism. That’s the real problem. Can the Pakistan or American strategy deal with that?
Fighting Al Qaeda, while ‘Al Qaedism’ rises
By Cyril Almeida
December 19th, 2010
sabaoon school is a good step but unfortunatly dr fariha paracha is not intrested in kids and becomes very lenient in front of media and UNICEF but she is intrested in money. if you visit to the medicle store in school you will not find medicians, kids are suffering from diseases and the headmaster doesn,t have money to take them for treatment. the academic is better and that is because of dr farooq khan late.he was the only man who had brought changes.
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One-hour protest: Group formerly known as ‘Sipah-e-Sahaba’ issues warnings over activist killings
Published: November 5, 2011
A crowd of at least 400 people had amassed on the street outside the press club. PHOTO: AGENCIES
KARACHI: The white Hiluxes that rolled into the Karachi Press Club on Friday afternoon could easily be mistaken for those of government officials. At least two police officers were seated at the back of each car, along with gun-toting private guards in flak jackets.
Their occupants were not, however, government VIPs but the leaders of the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat (ASWJ), formerly known as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) that was banned in 2002.
ASWJ’s chief in Karachi, Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqui, stepped out of one vehicle, only to be mobbed by activists who stepped up to shake his hand and take photographs courtesy cell phone cameras.
One activist couldn’t help but marvel to a friend. Referring to one of the ASWJ speakers, he murmured, “Fayyaz bhai used to have one police guard. Now he has three!”
By the end of the one-hour protest against the recent murders of seven activists, a crowd of at least 400 people had amassed on the street outside the press club.
Amid calls proclaiming another sect as apostates, the ASWJ leaders expressed outrage at the deaths of its seven men, including a division in-charge, and asked that the chief justice of the Supreme Court take notice of what it said was a resurgence in target killings.
One of the leaders to speak, Dr Fayyaz, declared over the microphone: “We will continue with the mission of Haq Nawaz Jhangvi.” He was referring to the organisation’s late founder.
Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqui added that they would continue to protest the deaths of their activists until the government takes action. The ASWJ blames Iran and a number of members of the National Assembly for the deaths, and has called for them to be investigated as well. But in a direct challenge to the government and other sects, Farooqui said that the ASWJ “could not be expected to maintain peace during Muharram and would stage a sit-in at MA Jinnah Road on Ashura if the government does not find and identify the killers.” Dr Fayyaz pitched in to warn that the ASWJ or the government would not be able to control their activists if they decided to take action themselves.
As the speeches ended, Farooqui asked attendees to wrap up their flags and leave quietly, and not to wave them on the way or shout slogans. The police guards hopped back into the vehicles, and amid a crush of cell phone wielding men, the ASWJ leaders left the venue.
The jamaat managed to attract a sizeable crowd within minutes on Friday. At 3 pm, the designated hour, it started with only one man holding a small cardboard sign – proclaiming outrage at the death of a fellow member of the SSP. At that point he could hardly be seen amid the traffic passing outside the press club. But then, within minutes, he was joined by men aged between 20 and 30 years. One of them screeched in on a motorcycle, waving an ASWJ flag. They hugged, gossiped among themselves, and shouted slogans in unison during speeches. As the protest wrapped up, they said their goodbyes and drove off, warmd up for the protests that the party has announced it will organise after Eid.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2011.
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Reader Comments (8)
ALL COMMENTSREADER’S RECOMMENDATIONS
17 hours ago
So the SSP, with all the patronization of the state, has decided to take on the Moharram processions this year.
13 hours ago
I hope everything stays well on Moharram or else ASWJ (formerly known as SSP) would have to banned again and they would have to choose another name.
13 hours ago
So what is the mission of JHANGVI? what is the mission which they will carry out?
13 hours ago
So what is the mission of JHANGVI? what is the mission which they will carry out?
12 hours ago
“One activist couldn’t help but marvel to a friend. Referring to one of the ASWJ speakers, he murmured, “Fayyaz bhai used to have one police guard. Now he has three!””
LOL at Tribune’s poor take, the reporters were there noting the mimicking of on goers.
9 hours ago
If this organisation was banned then how come it so openly holds a 400-person rally? and how come government has provided them police protection?
6 hours ago
Mission of Jhangvi is obvious kill as many innocent as u can on the basis of sectarian bias.
4 hours ago
Pakistan’s Klu Klux Klan…instead of being detained for threatening violence (ironically after complaining their activists were killed), they get state protection.
Timely advise I keep spreading myself to thin with too many sites on the go at once.
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