For the past one week, Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and their pro-Taliban agents (Pakistani Taliban Union of Journalists – PTUJ) in media (e.g. Hamid Mir, Ansar Abbasi etc) have been propagating a one sided story of the “brutal killing” of the family members of Sahibzada Haroon Rasheed, the deputy leader (Naib Amir) of Jamaat-e-Islami in the NWFP. Here is a detailed account of the incident exposing the Jamaat-e-Islami and PTUJ’s propaganda.
The paramilitary Frontier Corps have now successful completed their military operations in Bajaur Agency. Inspector General Frontier Corps (IGFC) Major General Tariq Khan said the militants in Bajaur were no longer able to cross over into Afghanistan to join the fight against the US and Nato forces and would find it more difficult to stage attacks inside Pakistan.
The IGFC briefed reporters in Damadola area, a key Taliban and al-Qaeda base that the Army seized at the beginning of February. Tariq Khan described Damadola as strategically important, pointing out that it was linked to Afghanistan, Pakistan’s northern district of Chitral, the main highway to China and to northwestern Swat Valley, which has been troubled by Taliban insurgency. He said the entire Bajaur and the surrounding areas were controlled from Damadola.
Haroon Rasheed’s links with terrorists
General Tariq Khan said that a key terrorist namely Aurengzeb, who was involved in 21 suicide attacks in different parts of the country, was also killed during the operation. To a question, he said the house of ex-parliamentarian Sahibzada Haroon Rashid was terrorists’ headquarter.
He also distributed a document carrying pictures and some letters, and said these proved that Haroon Rashid had links with the Taliban. In one picture, ex-MMA provincial government’s minister Sirajul Haq is leading funeral prayers of those 80 persons killed in drone attack on a seminary in Damadola in 2004.
In the second picture, Sahibzada Haroon Rashid is addressing a gathering, who, according to caption of the photo, are the local Taliban. In the third picture, Sirajul Haq is addressing a gathering, who, according to caption, are the local Taliban following the drone attack on the seminary. Some of them are seen as weeping.
The document also contained a list of Shura of Taliban and mobile numbers, rules and regulations regarding the functioning of Shura, minutes of a meeting held in Makeen in 2007 with participants signatures and some letters written in the Arabic language by a lady namely Asia, wife of Jarah, to her sister about two years’ back. The IGFC claimed that all these documents had been found from the house of Haroon Rashid.
Athar Abbas (ISPR) said the house of Haroon was demolished as per the FCR rules while his mother and niece were present in an adjacent house which was not a target of the operation. “That house might have razed as a result of shocks or vibration caused by demolition of house of Haroon Rashid,” he said.
He maintained that security forces during operation did not indulge in any such activity due to which they could lose the public support. “We always avoid collateral damage during operations. We regret if any innocent civilian is killed,” he said.
It may be pointed out here that Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) senators have raised issue of demolition of the house of Haroon Rashid in Damadola in which they said his mother and niece also died. Major General Tariq Khan said the political agent of Bajaur Agency had declared Haroon as absconder.
Source: The News, 3 March 2010
It happened on February 15 in Gang village in Bajaur Agency’s Salarzai tehsil. The 80-year-old mother of Sahibzada Haroon Rasheed, a Jamaat-i-Islami leader and former member of the National Assembly from Bajaur, and his 20-year-old niece were killed when their house collapsed as a result of a powerful explosion triggered by the security forces while destroying the family’s hujra, or male guest-house. The hujra was being demolished by the troops to punish the family for its alleged links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
The demolition of homes of militants and those suspected of supporting and harbouring them has become a standard policy of the government not only in the tribal areas but also in settled districts such as Swat.
According to Major General Tariq Khan, the Inspector General Frontier Corps (IGFC) who is leading the military operation in Bajaur, there were ample reasons to take action against Haroon Rasheed’s family due to its ties to anti-state elements and patronisation of Talibanisation in Bajaur. He told this writer that Rasheed’s 27-year-old nephew, Asadullah, had been in the custody of the security forces since May 2009 for harbouring Taliban fighters and facilitating their activities in Bajaur. However, he insisted that the security forces didn’t intend to kill his mother, niece or any other family member. He didn’t rule out the possibility that the house fell due to the impact of the explosion caused by the troops while demolishing the adjoining hujra. However, he hastened to add that the collapsed house was old and in a dilapidated condition due to heavy rains and snowfall. It had been snowing around noon on February 15 when army and FC troops arrived in Gang village, located about three kilometres from Bajaur’s principal town and headquarters, Khar.
Source: Rahmiullah Yusufzai, The News
The sources said the security forces also arrested a militant commander during search operation in Gang area. However, they did not disclose the identity of the held commander. According to a press release issued by the media cell of Frontier Corps (FC) headquarters in Peshawar, the security forces searched the house of Haroon Rasheed, which, they claimed, was being used as a safe haven by the terrorists.
The compound was thoroughly searched before being demolished. No individual was found there except Mohammad Rashid, who was taken into custody. Later, it was revealed that another mud-house in the same village collapsed due to heavy rainfall killing two women, an old lady and a girl, the press release added.
Source: The News
This indeed is a tragedy, and if one has to believe the Jamaat-e-Islami’s version of the story, lives of the two innocent women could have been saved. This is however the JI’s side of the story which is known for twisting facts in order to promote its pro-Taliban agenda.
It is however a fact that the security forces are operating in a difficult and dangerous situation, particularly in Bajaur where the military action started 18 months ago and has now entered a new phase with the advance of the troops into the Taliban strongholds of Mamond and Charmang. The troops have offered sacrifices in the battle against the militants and have made gains at a considerable cost. IGFC Major General Tariq Khan has been leading his men from the front, succeeding in raising the morale of his soldiers, many of whom deserted the FC and gave up the fight following ferocious attacks by militants during 2004-2009.
It is also widely known in the Bajaur agency that the Jamaat-e-Islami’s leaders have close links with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. There is evidence of Haroon Rasheed and his family’s involvement in anti-state activities. Four members of his family, including his brother Muhammad Rasheed and his nephews Asadullah, Saeedullah and Khalid, are in the custody of the security forces and all stand accused of having links with the Taliban. The FC authorities even allege that Rasheed’s hujra was frequented by foreign militants and served as a centre for the Taliban.
Here is Nazir Naji’s take on this event: