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Archive for category TERRORISM FROM KARZAI SUPPORTED TALIBAN

TTP Connections By Sajjad Shaukat

TTP Connections

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

In the recent past, new wave of terrorism in Pakistan’s province of Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa killed several innocent people, while various terrorist outfits such as the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL) and the affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) claimed responsibility for these brutal acts. TTP based in Afghanistan have its connections with ISIL and other terrorist organizations and affiliated terror groups, including Baloch separatist elements and is promoting the anti-Pakistan agenda of the foreign entities to destabilize Pakistan. These terror outfits are misguiding the general masses by misusing the concept of Jihad and provoking them for suicide assaults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides other similar terror attacks, at least 15 innocent men, women and children were killed in and around 80 people were injured on February 13, 2016 when a suicide bomber struck outside the Punjab Assembly on the Mall Road (Charing Cross) in the eastern city of Lahore during a peaceful protest of the chemists and pharmacists against a new law.

 

The affiliated faction of the TTP, the TTP-JA or JuA took responsibility for the deadly suicide bombing in Lahore.

 

In this respect, the rebuttal of the Shuhada Foundation of Lal Masjid to the claim of TTP-JuA that Lahore Charing Cross attack was perpetrated to revenge the killing of Abdul Rasheed Ghazi is surprising; however, it depicts growing abhorrence for terrorists in our society. Every religious scholar of Pakistan condemned the TTP for this attack by the Shuhada Foundation, which also manages media campaign of Maulana Abdul Aziz, is a major upset for TTP. TTP attributes its genesis of Lal Masjid Operation and it often publishes articles and statements on this issue in its magazines to provoke general public. The outrage of people associated with Lal Masjid against TTP is, therefore, a major defeat of faulty narratives of terrorists in Pakistan.

 

Maulana Abdul Aziz is a person of dubious character and people under his influence are also not constant in their thinking. In the past, they have been supporting TTP’s terrorism in Pakistan and they allegedly expressed allegiance of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and DAISH. We hope they will adhere to their statement that leaders of TTP-JuA are agents of Indian RAW and they are killing innocent Muslims in their anti-Islam activities in Pakistan. Reportedly, the son of late Maulana Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, Haroon Rasheed Ghazi has also condemned TTP’s terrorism and has asked for a political settlement of issues in Pakistan. Such statements are positive omens and reflect that the space for violent extremist Jihadi narratives is even shrinking in religious groups.

 

The nexus of Al-Qaeda, DAISH, and TTP has killed 55 thousand innocent Muslims in their terrorist attacks in Pakistan so far in the name of Jihad. Militant leaders like Fazullah, Mohammad Khorasani and Ahsanullah Ahsan with their unholy hearts and evil minds defend their attacks like that of Army Public School of Peshawar and that of Bacha Khan University in which only little children and students were brutally massacred. Pakistan’s military and civil high officials strongly condemned the attack and recent terror attacks by pointing out their connections in Afghanistan.

It is notable that as part of the dual strategy, CIA, RAW, and Mossad are in connivance with the Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and other terrorist groups. With the latest capture of six NDS supported terrorists in Balochistan, the number of NDS backed terrorists arrested and killed by Pakistani intelligence agencies has crossed over 126. These external secret agencies are particularly supporting the TTP which is hiding in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Reportedly, Mullah Fazlullah led TTP is behind the fresh wave of terror activities inside Pakistan, as the latter has also become the center of the Great Game owing to the ideal location of Balochistan. These intelligence agencies, especially Indian RAW is trying to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

 

After the recent terror assaults in Pakistan, a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that senior Afghan diplomats were summoned to the General Headquarters (Of army) over the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and asked to ensure that immediate action was taken against the Pakistani terrorists living in safe havens in their country.

 

The army, which took the lead in dealing with Afghanistan over the terrorist sanctuaries there, had announced the closure of the border crossings with Afghanistan citing security reasons.

 

According to the statement of the DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor, on February 17, 2017, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa appealed to the nation to stay calm by saying, “our security forces shall not allow hostile powers to succeed…each drop of nation’s blood shall be avenged and avenged immediately…no more restraint for anyone.”

 

Gen. Javed Bajwa had called Gen John Nicholson, commander of the US’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan to protest continued acts of terrorism in Pakistan perpetrated from Afghanistan, saying that they were testing Pakistan’s policy of cross-border restraint.

 

Gen. Bajwa told Gen. Nicholson that recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan had been claimed by terrorist organizations whose leadership is hiding in Afghanistan, and asked him to play his role in “disconnecting this planning, direction, coordination and financial support”.

 

In a terse message, during the conversation with Nicholson, Gen. Bajwa also informed him of the list of 76 “most wanted” terrorists handed over to Afghan authorities earlier—operating from Afghan territory or hand them over to Pakistan for trying them over their involvement in terrorism.

 

Taking cognizance of the terror assaults, Pakistan Army targeted a training camp of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and militant hideouts located close to the Pak-Afghan border in areas adjacent to Mohmand and Khyber agencies.

 

In a similar message to Kabul, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz called Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar to call for strong action against JuA and terrorist’s sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Office of Pakistan said that Afghanistan had been asked to address concerns about the presence of terrorist groups on its soil, which are behind the latest wave of terrorism in the country.

 

It is notable that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, while addressing a press conference on February 17, this year claimed that the suspects involved in planning an

 

 

d carrying out the Feb 13 suicide bombing on a protest at Lahore’s Charing Cross belonged to Afghanistan. Sharif also announced the arrest of the facilitator of the attacker, Anwar-ul-Haq who he said belonged to Fata’s Bajaur Agency which neighbours Afghanistan. The suspect’s confessional statement was aired during the briefing. The suspect stated: “I was associated with Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and they trained me”, adding that he has visited Afghanistan around 15 to 20 times.

 

Nevertheless, TTP related terrorist groups and extremist religious leaders, having connections in Afghanistan are following the agenda of enemies against Islam and Pakistan with the aim to create fear and panic in the society to weaken the whole country. Therefore, all eminent religious scholars and Grand Muftis have already rejected the deviant ideology of terrorists and declared that unjustified killing of innocent people is entirely prohibited in Islam. All brutal acts of terrorists are aimed at discouraging general masses from challenging their existence and their radical religious views. Unity of whole Ulema (Religious scholars) of Pakistan has proved that people of Pakistan will never bow down in front of heinous crimes of terrorists and will win the war against terror.

 

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OUR HEARTS BLEED: WE ARE NUMB: India Funded & Trained Taliban Butchers Slaughtered Our Babies : Peshawar school attack leaves 141 dead

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In Loving Memory 

Butcher Taliban: Peshawar school attack leaves 141 dead

 

 

 

 

 

Militants from the Pakistani Taliban have attacked a school in Peshawar, killing 141 people, 132 of them children, the military say.

Pakistani officials say the attack is now over, with all of the attackers killed. A total of seven militants took part, according to the army.

Scores of survivors are being treated in hospitals as frantic parents search for news of their children.

The attack is the deadliest ever by the Taliban in Pakistan.

There has been chaos outside hospital units to which casualties were taken, the BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil reports from Peshawar.

Bodies have been carried out of hospitals in coffins, escorted by crowds of mourners, some of them visibly distraught.

Mourners carry the coffin of a student from a hospital in Peshawar, 16 December
Coffins are being carried out of Peshawar hospitals
 
Empty coffins stacked at a hospital in Peshawar, 16 DecemberEmpty coffins were delivered to a hospital in Peshawar in readiness for the removal of the dead
Relatives comfort injured student Mohammad Baqair in Peshawar, 16 DecemberSchool pupil Mohammad Baqair lost his mother, a teacher, in the attack

A Taliban spokesman told BBC Urdu that the school, which is run by the army, had been targeted in response to army operations.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters are thought to have died in a recent military offensive in North Waziristan and the nearby Khyber area.

US President Barack Obama condemned the “horrific attack (…) in the strongest possible terms”.

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Analysis: Aamer Ahmed Khan, BBC News

This brutal attack may well be a watershed for a country long accused by the world of treating terrorists as strategic assets.

Pakistan’s policy-makers struggling to come to grips with various shades of militants have often cited a “lack of consensus” and “large pockets of sympathy” for religious militants as a major stumbling-block.

That is probably why, when army chief Gen Raheel Sharif launched what he called an indiscriminate operation earlier in the year against militant groups in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt, the political response was lukewarm at best.

We will get them, was his message, be they Pakistani Taliban, Punjabi Taliban, al-Qaeda and affiliates, or most importantly, the dreaded Haqqani network. But the country’s political leadership chose to remain largely silent. This is very likely to change now.

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BBC map, showing the army school in Peshawar
Relatives wait outside a hospital in Peshawar, 16 December
Anxious family members crowded around Peshawar hospitals
Soldiers help evacuate children
Troops helped evacuate children from the school
Injured student being evacuatedA total of 114 people were injured

Military spokesman Asim Bajwa told reporters in Peshawar that 132 children and nine members of staff had been killed.

All seven of the attackers wore suicide bomb vests, he said. Scores of people were also injured.

It appears the militants scaled walls to get into the school and set off a bomb at the start of the assault.

Children who escaped say the militants then went from one classroom to another, shooting indiscriminately.

One boy told reporters he had been with a group of 10 friends who tried to run away and hide. He was the only one to survive.

Others described seeing pupils lying dead in the corridors. One local woman said her friend’s daughter had escaped because her clothing was covered in blood from those around her and she had lain pretending to be dead.

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Deadly attacks in Pakistan

Mourners after the Peshawar church attack, 22 September 2013

16 December 2014: Taliban attack on school in Peshawar leaves at least 141 people dead, 132 of them children

22 September 2013: Militants linked to the Taliban kill at least 80 peopleat a church in Peshawar, in one of the worst attacks on Christians

10 January 2013: Militant bombers target the Hazara Shia Muslim minority in the city of Quetta, killing 120 at a snooker hall and on a street

28 May 2010: Gunmen attack two mosques of the minority Ahmadi Islamic sect in Lahore, killing more than 80 people

18 October 2007: Twin bomb attack at a rally for Benazir Bhutto in Karachi leaves at least 130 dead. Unclear if Taliban behind attack

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A hospital doctor treating injured children said many had head and chest injuries.

Irshadah Bibi, a woman who lost her 12-year-old son, was seen beating her face in grief, throwing herself against an ambulance.

“O God, why did you snatch away my son?” AFP news agency quoted her as saying.

An injured girl is carried to hospital in Peshawar, 16 December
Some of the injured were carried to hospital in people’s arms
Children fleeing the school
Both girls and boys went to the school
Pakistani troops at the scene
Troops sealed off the area around the school

The school is near a military complex in Peshawar. The city, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst of the violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.

Many of the students were the children of military personnel. Most of them would have been aged 16 or under.

Hundreds of parents are outside the school waiting for news of their children, according to Wafis Jan from the Red Crescent

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani Nobel laureate who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for the right to an education, condemned the attack.

“I, along with millions of others around the world, mourn these children, my brothers and sisters, but we will never be defeated,” she said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has arrived in Peshawar, described the attack as a “national tragedy”. Pakistani opposition leader and former cricket captain Imran Khan condemned it as “utter barbarism”.

A Taliban spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying the school had been attacked because the “government is targeting our families and females”.

India Training Terrorists For Attack In Pakistan

 

 0  0  4  0karachi airport attackThe fact that India has been training militants and then sending them to Pakistan for terrorist activities is not new. There have been various incidents in the past that have endorsed this suspicion. In the recent attack on the Karachi airport, the Involvement of foreign terrorists has been brought to surface. An Italian journalist has investigated the case of Indian involvement in the terrorist activities in Pakistan which has been an eye opener on this matter as this journalist is also a witness of the horrifying Indian project of terrorism in Pakistan.

 

According to the reports of the Italian journalist, an Indian training camp has been established near Tajikistan at Farkhore airbase and Aini airbase, where the young recruits of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are trained and sent to Pakistan for terrorist attacks. Indian secret agencies are recruiting individuals from the deprived sections of the society, who are enticed through a job on a heavy salary and their families are paid a handsome amount for their recruitment. These young men are given a lavish living in these camps and a religious Indian instructor gives them religious education based on extremism, terrorism and hate against Pakistan to brain wash these individuals.

These Indian instructors are fluent in Uzbek and Tajik languages. They instil concepts against Pakistan in these individuals and make them believe that Pakistan is responsible for the sufferings of the Muslims all over the world. They also make them believe that India is a supporter of religious harmony and peace and that its existence has been threatened by the nuclear ability of Pakistan. The instructor takes three weeks to instil these ideas into the minds of these recruits.

The recruits are then asked if they are ready for Jihad against Pakistan. Those answering with a ‘yes’ are given double the salary and are sent to training camps where they are prepared for attacks within 4 to 6 months. Those who are still not willing for attacks are then sent for further brain washing to India. The recruits are taught to use automatic weaponry and how to handle explosives. They are given gorilla training as well. During these camps, Indian girls are brought into these camps who mesmerize these individuals through their beauty and help them forget their worries completely.

After the completion of their training, the recruits are brought to India and then entered into the tribal areas of Pakistan via Afghanistan. According to reports, recruits from Fata and Balochistan are also included with these foreign recruits to make them feel at home. These camps have been operating since 2005, although their establishment was intended since 2002. But this fact has not been confessed at the government level which has still made this matter unidentifiable.

 

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Terrorism is Mother of Evils and Sufferings By Sajjad Shaukat

                                       Terrorism is Mother of Evils and Sufferings

                                                           By Sajjad Shaukat

Terrorism is the mother of all evils and root cause of Muslims’ sufferings in general and Pakistan in Particular.

 

Terrorists have maligned the name of Islam to have acceptability to their inhuman actions with a view to generating semblance of legitimacy.

 

Suicide bombers are mostly juveniles, oblivious of the fact that suicide is ‘HARAM’ (Illegitimate) in Islam. Allah (God) says, kill not yourselves. Surely Allah is merciful…and cast not yourselves into ruin with your own hands. Suicide bombers are not only killing themselves, but are also killing innocent human beings.

 

covert-war-against-pakistanWhile taking note of terrorists’ suicide attacks in Middle East and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti (Mufti-e-Azam),Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh issued a Fatwa (Religious verdict), asserting that suicide attacks are illegal and illegitimate (HARAM).” He explained, “Such acts fall under the category of crime and suicide bombers or terrorists represent an adversary of Islam and enemy of Muslims…they commit crimes against humanity, while misguiding other Muslims.” Denouncing terrorism as un-Islamic, he pointed out that terrorists’ activities are part of a conspiracy to defame Islam and destroy Muslims.

 

However, in the recent years, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliated banned outfits conducted many terror-activities in Pakistan like suicide attacks, ruthless beheadings of tribesmen, assaults on security personnel and prominent figures including Shias, Ahmadis, Sufis, Christians and Sikhs. Contrary to the teachings on the importance of gaining education and knowledge in Islam, these terrorists have destroyed and torched more than 1,000 schools and mosques in Pakistan. They also attacked the female teachers in order to deny education to girls. Besides, terror-attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, Balochistan and Karachi are part of the scheme to create chaotic situation in the country. Indian Consulates in Afghanistan are also playing a very negative role in supporting TTP and Baloch separatists.

 

Unknown-2In this respect, choosing Pakistani venue for targeting innocent public by a suicide attack at Wagha border in Lahore, on November 2, 2014, while flag ceremony was being conducted on both sides of the border is testament to TTP’s terrorists’ hidden agenda and allegiance to the enemies of Pakistan. Besides, India is also encouraging TTP factions showing allegiance for DAISH ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), to get united.

 

images-59Terrorism has caused massive damage to the prosperity of Pakistan during last 14 years. In this context, the Parliamentary Secretary for Interior, Maryam Aurangzeb informed the National Assembly on December 19, 2014, “Extremist groups have been active throughout the country with their own ideology…Pakistan which has been major victim of terrorism has suffered a loss of almost 80 billion dollars including loss of 50,000 precious lives of civilians and security agencies…huge collateral damage during the decade long war against terrorism.”

 

Undoubtedly, in our country, the victims of terror attacks and suicide bombings have been innocent men, women and children. Regrettably, those militant entities like TTP, which try to justify terrorism and suicide bombings in the name of Islam, are misguiding the people, while these brutal acts are clearly against the teachings of Islam.

 

From time to time, while condemning the militants’ inhuman activities as undemocratic and un-Islamic practices, Pakistan’s various Ulema (Islamic scholars) have clarified in their joint fatwa, and separate statements that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing, but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion.” They explained, “Islam does not forbid women’s education.”

 

While, Islam is a Deen or Faith of universal application, as it emphasizes peace, democracy, moderation and human rights including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and sects which are in minority in a country. It also permits periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings which is called Ijtihad.

 

The Constitution of 1973 which was unanimously adopted, clearly states that Pakistan is basically a democracy guided by the Islamic principles and values—no law would be made contrary to Quran and Sunnah.

 

Notably, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his sermon at Hajjatul Wida issued directions for protection of life, property and dignity of the whole mankind. The sermon became a charter of democracy which was included in the constitutions of the western elected governments in one way or the other.

 

In fact, Islam and democracy have co-relationship with each other. Diversified people and Ulema participate in the system of representatives, which does not exclude or discriminate any one on basis of caste, creed and sect. It does not confine religion to mosque.

 

Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while Jihad is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as killing innocent women and children is not Jihad. By playing in the hands of anti-Pakistan foreign countries, especially Indian secret agency RAW, the TTP and its banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam.

 

Every one knows that terrorism caused political instability, economic crisis, social strife and sectarian divide in Pakistan. And, terrorists are foreign-paid killers, having foreign agenda, while, Islam condemns terrorism in any form.

 

it is mentionable that Pakistan’s Armed Forces have almost defeated the ferocious terrorists, particularly of the TTP by clearing the areas of North Waziristan Agency by military operation Zarb-e-Azb which has broken the backbone of the insurgents, and is rapidly been achieving its objectives. The operation has full support of the civil government, opposition parties and Ulema including all other segments of society and general masses who are united against terrorism. In this regard, DG, ISPR Directorate, Major-Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa had stated, “Armed forces of Pakistan have launched the operation against terrorists…who had been waging a war against the state of Pakistan by disrupting our national life in all its dimensions…with the support of the entire nation, these enemies will be denied space across the country.”

 

Optimistically speaking, Pakistan can soon be on the road to prosperity, a secure country to invest, a peaceful place for tourists to visit, provided the terrorism which is mother of evils and sufferings is eliminated from its roots.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

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Aimless talk-and-talk strategy

Aimless talk-and-talk strategy

Asif Haroon Raja

Some of the glaring reasons that have given rise to religious extremism in Pakistan are as follows: Early demise of Quaid-e-Azam resulted in leadership crisis, which persists to this day. Growth of regionalism gave rise to fissiparous tendencies. Antagonism between seculars and Islamists impeded constitution making for nine years. Widening gulf between rich and poor and callous attitude of the elites towards the deprived class bred discontentment. Selective accountability and pro-rich judicial system added to the frustration of the deprived class. Corruption in all government, judicial and police departments eroded moral turpitude and scruples. Unresolved Kashmir dispute and State terrorism of India against Kashmiris heightened Jihadi tendencies. Western hatred towards Muslims and hounding and persecution of religious elements dubbed as terrorists intensified anti-US feelings. Pakistan rulers got out of sync with the ruled when the people viewed them as puppets of USA serving US agenda. Propagation of modernism and liberalism under the garb of enlightened moderation resulted in spread of obscenity and vulgarity and corresponding increase in religious extremism.

_55850395_afghan_pakistan_624x440_2Notwithstanding the centuries old Shia-Sunni divide, sectarian tensions grew in Pakistan after Iranian revolution in March 1979 as a result of Iran and Saudi Arabia funding Shiite and Sunni extremist groups respectively. Violent religious extremism sprouted in Pakistan as a result of Afghan Jihad against Soviet forces in 1980s and the US led western world, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan government and religious right as well as the military establishment supporting the Jihadis. Jihadism received a fillip after the brilliant success achieved by the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and commencement of armed uprising in Kashmir in 1989. When the Jihadis eulogized as holy warriors were dumped by USA in 1989, Osama bin Laden led fighters in reaction formed Al-Qaeda and started attacking American targets.  

After 9/11, while the US declared al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban as terrorists because of their suspected role in terrorist attacks, Pakistan not only ditched Taliban and aligned itself with USA; it changed the status of tribesmen of FATA from defenders of western border and strategic assets into terrorists. Once the security forces entered into South Waziristan (SW) in 2002 to flush out al-Qaeda operatives, the tribesmen under Nek Muhammad turned their guns against them. This change in posture of the militants of tribal belt led to a prolonged war which is still continuing and has resulted in deaths of well over 40,000 people as well as colossal destruction of property. While the Afghan Taliban under Mullah Omar are waging a Jihad against occupation forces to free their country and recapture power, Pakistani Taliban claim to be fighting a Jihad against Pak security forces by terming Pak Army as a mercenary army of the US. They want to make the Muslims better Muslims by preaching its brand of extremist Islam and to impose Shariah in the country. They do not recognize Pakistan’s constitution, democracy and judicial system.

For the achievement of their goal of making Pakistan an Islamic Emirate, they have been resorting to extreme brutalities like assassinations, terror attacks on military and civilian targets, worship places, shrines, funerals and markets. Schools in Swat, FATA and settled areas of KP including Peshawar have been destroyed in large numbers. Kidnapping for ransom, forced recruitment and marriages, beheading of captives and brainwashing teenagers as suicide bombers are their methods to strike terror. IEDs, explosive laden vehicles and suicide bombing are their preferred weapons of destruction. Worst is that unlike in the past when they were supported by Pakistan to wage Jihad outside the borders of Pakistan, now they are aided by non-Muslim powers and Karzai led regime in Kabul to wage war against own people. All these acts are against the principles of Islam.                 

During Gen Musharraf rule, war on terror was governed by the strategy of ‘fight and sign peace deals with the militants’. The TTP signed peace agreements to gain time, get their prisoners released, regroup and then strike back. This strategy caused little damage to the burgeoning strength of militants. Rather it enabled late Baitullah Mehsud in SW to form Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) in December 2007, which has been relentlessly fighting the security forces and expanding its area of influence from seven agencies of tribal belt to settled areas of KP including suburbs of Peshawar and has established strong linkage with Punjabi Taliban.

During the five-year PPP led regime when Gen Kayani was made responsible for external and internal security of the country, barring one peace agreement signed with Maulana Sufi and Fazlullah in Swat in February 2009, no other peace deal was signed. The strategy was changed to fight and fight. This offensive strategy although resulted in heavy casualties of security forces, however, it helped in recapturing all the 17 administrative units less North Waziristan (NW) from the militants in 2009, breaking their back and snatching the initiative from them. The disarrayed militants under Fazlullah took refuge in Kunar and Nuristan. About 3000 militants were captured alive and handed over to the police for trials. It was unfortunate that the judicial prong couldn’t keep in step with the military prong and not a single terrorist was convicted and punished. All were released who later on recommenced their militant activities with a renewed vengeance.

Once TTP’s main HQ in SW was uprooted in November 2009 because of resolute three-pronged offensive, Hakeemullah Mehsud tried to convert upper Orakzai into his next command centre, but couldn’t and then decided to make NW as TTP’s main base of operation. He chose Mir Ali and Miranshah, the two major towns of NW and the suburbs around as sanctuaries for his fighters. Dawar tribe helped them in settling down in Mir Ali. Hafiz Gul Bahadar heading largest tribe of Othmanzai Wazir tribe in NW didn’t object to TTP’s settlement, although he was tied to peace agreement with Pak Army since August 2008 and was obligated to keep his area peaceful and free of anti-military elements. It was like allowing the camel to rest its head inside the tent. With the passage of team, a large no of terrorist groups including foreign groups moved into NW and got affiliated with TTP. These included Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jaish-e-Muhammad, Hizbul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Janoon-e-Hafsa, Jundullah, Asian Tigers, Ilyas Kashmiri outfit.

Funded and equipped by foreign agencies based in Afghanistan, the TTP was able to muster the support of over 50 groups of different hues and all decided to collectively wage an ideological war. Most of the Punjab based banned groups had sleeping cells in all major cities and towns which enabled TTP Shura to plan and execute deadly attacks on chosen targets anywhere in Pakistan with ease. Their task was made easier by CIA by providing ground intelligence and satellite communication to home on to the desired targets stealthily howsoever well fortified. High profile attacks in Punjab were mostly carried out by Punjabi Taliban. LeJ got active in Quetta where it targeted Shia Hazaras with impunity. TTP and LeJ also joined the turf war of three political parties in Karachi to partake in the loot. Simultaneously, Fazlullah helped by his hosts regrouped his fighters and heated up western border by launching cross border attacks in Mehmand, Bajaur, Dir and Chitral.                      

Pakistan refrained from launching a major military operation in NW to nip the evil in the bud despite extensive pressure from the US because of its multiple compelling constraints. These included paucity of troops since the Army had already deployed about 150,000 troops in the northwest. Pulling out additional troops would have been at the cost of weakening the critical eastern front and losing strategic balance. With displaced persons from SW, Kurram Agency and Tirah Valley not having returned to their homes, it would result in further displacement from NW. An operation would annoy the only three friendly groups of Hafiz Gul Bahadar, Haqqani network and late Maulvi Nazeer as well as Afghan Taliban, with the possibility of all the groups getting united on a single platform and confronting the Army in a treacherous terrain. With untrustworthy Indo-US-Afghan nexus playing a double game and wanting Corps plus size force to get bogged down in NW, such a course would prove disastrous. However, inaction in NW has given a free hand to TTP affiliated groups to continue striking targets at will.

With the change of government in June 2013, the situation has undergone a change. The PML-N government in the centre and in Punjab, the PTI government in KP and religious political parties/groups are all soft towards the TTP and are keen to hold talks to end the futile war. All parties’ conference was held in last September and a consensus resolution was passed authorizing the government to hold talks with militants unconditionally and to condemn drone attacks which were fuelling terrorism. Since then the government has replaced the fight-fight strategy with talk-talk strategy. This strategy although seemingly wise is devoid of reciprocity from the other side.

735576_637896346235347_1943452822_oPro-peace lobbies strongly feel that killing of Hakeemullah Mehsud by a drone on November 1, 2013 and drone war have vitiated the atmosphere for talks. Anti-peace lobbies argue that drones didn’t trigger terrorism. They are criticizing the government and Imran Khan for adopting a confused policy of talks when the new chief of TTP Fazlullah has categorically rejected the offer and has further stepped up terror attacks. They say that closure of NATO supply routes in KP by PTI has antagonized the US but failed to appease the TTP. They are pressing the government to either hold talks expeditiously or else deliver the hammer since this policy of dithering is not only undermining the morale of KP Police in particular which is receiving the major brunt of TTP attacks, but is also encouraging the militants to maximize attacks and recapture their lost bases.                

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist and historianasifahroonraja@gmail.com

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Flashpoints of Terrorism in Pakistan

Flashpoints of Terrorism in Pakistan

By

Sabena Siddiqui

 

Strategic Thinker & Defence Analyst on Pakistan & Global Affairs,

Distinguished Opinion Leader,

Pakistan Think Tank

 

 

 

Terrorism in Pakistan has multi -ethnic , multicultural and
multi-lingual patterns .

 

 


Punjabis are the largest ethnic group 44.15%, Pashtuns 15.42%, Sindhis
14.1%, Seraikis 10.53 %, Muhajirs 7.57% ,Baluchis 3.57 % and Others
4.66%
8 million Muhajirs arrived from India in 1947 and 1.7 million Afghan
refugees came later making this one of the largest refugee populations
in the world .

English is the official language, Urdu national and Punjabi , Sindhi
Pashto and Baluchi are regional languages .

Pakistan has 95% Muslim population ,75% Sunni and 25% Shia , the
second largest Shia population in the world after Iran .
1.85% are Hindus and 1.6% are Christians , Pakistani society is
largely hierarchial.
Such diversity results in conflicts created by four types of terrorist
groups : language based , sectarian ,race based and religious .

Muhajirs from India settled in Karachi did not want the shifting of
capital from Karachi to Islamabad which resulted in a loss of
bureaucratic power ,jobs , housing and transport .
Consequently they have been blamed for demanding a separate state ,
province or complete control of city government in Karachi and
Hyderabad .

Grievances between Shias and Sunnis date back to the early period of
Islam , Deobandis allege that Shias use abusive la nguage against some
of the Prophet pbuh s companions and wish that the Shias be declared
non Muslim .

They are considered Muslims everywhere including Saudi Arabia ,even
the Darululoom Deoband, the Deoband founding madrassa considers Shias
as Muslim.

Their Fatwa says that if a person prefers Hazrat Ali but does not
believe the other Shia beliefs then he is not Kafir .

Balochistan is less economically developed and has less civil and
military representation , they allege lack of provincial autonomy and
lesser resources from the federal government.
They have minimum population and maximum area and resources are
distributed according to population .
Some groups propose secession from Pakistan, Baluchis are 3.57% of the
total Pakistani population .

Religious militancy in Pakistan is varied , they demand enforcement of
Sharia like that by the Afghan Taliban .
There is nothing in the laws of Pakistan which contradicts Islamic law
and most Pakistanis prefer a modern life than be fundamentalist .
There are numerous absolute interpretations of Islam .

Terrorism here today is the result of five factors both internal and external .

1. General Zia conducted a coup d etat and ended Bhuttos government in 1977 .

Al Zulfiqar came into being after Bhutto s execution and committed
terrorist crimes like hijacking .
Zia also formed the MQM , a language based party of refugees from
India to break the strength of Bhutto s PPP .
MQM s inception and evolution brought about violence , this single
factor alone was responsible for 90% of the terrorism in urban Sindh
and 40% in the country .

2. General Zia enforced some new Islamic laws to legitimize his dictatorship .
One of these was the Zakat and Usher Ordinance 1980 .
Meanwhile , the Iranian revolution took place and influenced the
Pakistani Shia community to demand exemption from this new tax based
on Sunni law .
As Shias became more forceful , Zia helped form the Sipah e Sahaba ,
an anti Shia Deobandi organisation . It got funded by both Iraq and
Saudi Arabia and formed splinter groups like the Lashkar e Jhangvi .
30% of terrorism is caused by these sectarian groups so about 70% of
terrorism in Pakistan is sectarian or language based .

3. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and the US and the Saudis
invested 6 billion dollars to train the fighters to overthrow the
Soviets .Madrassas proliferated to produce the requisite fighters and
Kalashnikovs were handed to them .Zia was in a strong position against
the Peoples Party and Shias .

4. The Soviets were defeated in 1989 and the US neglected the fighters
it helped train and the fighters felt over confident after defeating
tge Soviet Union and ultimately challenged the US .

5. The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 with Pakistani assistance and
this created Arab Mujahideen and Taliban enemies for Pakistan .
Drone attacks on Pakistani territory further created a backlash
against Pakistan .

India established four consulates and an embassy in tiny Afghanistan
and started creating problems in Balochistan province of Pakistan .
Weapons used by TTP against Pakistan army in Swat were all US made
which US says were stolen in Afghanistan .
The US also got worried about the building of Gwadar port by China in
Pakistans Baluchistan province , it felt this might decrease US
importance in the region .


US-Drone-attacks-on-Pakistan

These were the main triggers of terrorism, the provincial capitals
were particularly volatile as those were the government power base
.Terrorists felt they wreaked more destruction there , got more media
coverage , more targets and more hiding places .
Other main areas of conflict were places like Dera Bugti ,Kohlu and
Sibi with gas fields and grudges against the federal government .
Southern Punjab. , Jhang and Faisalabad also were the focus of
terrorist activity due to sectarian conflict .
Swat ,D.I Khan and South and North Waziristan had some local conflict .

Karachi became a case study for terrorism with perceptible levels in
1990 attaining a
peak in 1995 with 616 incidents .

Karachi has a higher terrorism percentage than what is due to it in
population 10% and area 3530 square km 0.44%.
Terrorism in Karachi is more frequent because of its demographic
composition and being metropolitan and a provincial capital .
Terrorism here has more symbolic and theatrical value .
Karachi is also unique in being the only source of conflict in Sindh
because of its socioeconomic conditions and demographic changes .
It had a population of 400000 in 1947 which was 18,00,00,000 in 2009.
Population increased because it was the first national capital , only
seaport ,first international airport ,industrial base ,financial hub
and home to millions of migrants from India ,Afghanistan and Pathans
from KP and Punjabis from Punjab .

Karachi has very unusual demographics , capital of Sindh yet only 7.22
%Sindhis .Ninety three percent population comprises of immigrants
48.52% Muhajir , 13.94% Punjabi,Pashto 11.42%, Balochi 4.34%, Saraiki
2.11 % and others 12.44%.
Karachi is the largest Pashtun city in the country ,more Baluchis in
Karachi than in Baluchistan and it is the sixth largest Punjabi town .
The politics of Sindh province has many conflicts : Sindhi v Muhajir ,
Muhajir v Punjabi, Muhajir v Muhajir and Muhajir v Pathan .
Also most of the MQM are Shias and most Pathans Deobandi .

It is also a very young population .In 1987 , 36% of the population
was between age 14 and 30. 71% of them were literate while overall
Karachi literacy is 55% and overall Pakistan figure is 26.17%.
22% were graduates and the amenities were not sufficient for the
rising population .
Housing conflicts turn into ethnic rivalry and transport problem
accentuates it .

The first ethnic vi olence was Muhajir v Pathan in 1987 when a Muhajir
college girl was killed in an accident by a Pathan van driver .
Weapons were cheap and widely available , a pistol could be bought for
3000 rupees $40 dollars and a Kalashnikov for 16 thousand rupees $188
dollars .
The MQM split into two factions amid intense violence in 1993 and 1994 .

Main target types were private citizens, private property and
businesses as they are soft targets with no defense or deterrence .
They are in large numbers , and once attacked , more likely to compel
government to give in to terrorist demands .

Data also shows that police are the the target in 10% incidents in
Pakistan and rest of the world , they come in as the first line of
response and so they are targeted .
Military , civil administration and educational institutions , music
and barber shops closely follow as targets , these are attempts to
destabilise the state .

Another dimension of analysis is the efficacy of weapons employed as
per casualties , suicide attacks killed and wounded 42 people per
attack , explosives 9.4 , firearms 4.3 and projectiles 7.3 .
From 1987 to 1990 explosives were mostly used , from 1991 till 1997
firearms were more frequent and from 1998 till 2007 explosives were
more common .

Explosives are difficult to obtain and require more organisation so it
is deduced that usually a foreign hand is behind it . Explosives are
also mostly used to destabilise the government .
Suicide attacks are most damaging and they started in 1995
infrequently till 2001 , after this they spiralled and there were 56
attacks in 2007. Throughout the world there were 188 suicide attacks
from 1980 till 2001 but Pakistan had 56 in a single year .
Usually the strategic goal is to reclaim homeland but in Pakistan ,
there is no foreign occupation .

Suicide attacks took place also as a reaction to the government
operation on the Red Mosque in Islamabad in July 2007. 8 attacks
before the operation and 48 afterwards , most probably the foreign
jihadis brought the technique .Arab clerics preached in favour of
suicide attacks while the underworld provided funding and bombers were
found locally .

Terrorism in Pakistan is an extreme reaction to political and economic
grievances and ethnic / religious issues , vested interests provide
backup .

The US led invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq brought changes in
terrorism patterns in Pakistan .There was an increase in suicide
attacks against government institutions .
Attacks now are more frequent in KP and Baluchistan ,sectarian and
language based incident decreased but ethnic incidents increased as
militants multiplied .
This definite geographic shift in terrorism is post US invasion of
Afghanistan , the area of conflict is now the west of Pakistan .
The possibility remains that sponsorship of this terrorism post 9/11
may be from India ,the US or Iran , the implications may be policy
related .

These ethnic ,political and religious conflicts are endemic to
Pakistan and despite them life went on as normal unless internal or
external parties used them to further their own interests .
The conflicts resulted from socioeconomic grievances ,issues of
provincial autonomy and demographic changes ,these conflicts turned
unto sectarian, ethno-linguistic, ethni-secessionist and religious
motives for terrorism .

Places such as Baluchistan , South Punjab ,Waziristan and Karachi were
badly affected .

Communism and Capitalism have also played their part since Pakistan
came into being, geo-strategic politics of this region has brought
about many battles between the two.

India feels encircled and intimidated by Chinese presence near its
waters,Gwadar is also an alternative to Dubai and Iran’s new port
Chabahar.
Therefore , US, India and Iran find Gwadar a threat and terrorism in
Baluchistan is closely linked to this factor .

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Kalashnikov culture developed in Pakistan as a direct consequence of
the Afghan war , US bought Chinese weapons to supply the Mujahideen
and half of these got sold in the local market .

Terrorism is cyclical in essence , todays events are a harbinger for
what transpires tomorrow.

The cycles are reflective of the immediate past as terrorists prepare, plan and the government is caught unawares .
The basis for terrorism remains and terrorists return with a new agenda .

 

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