Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rana Sanaullah & Sectarian Killings in Pakistan.

WHO was Master Abdul Qudoos Ahmad? How would you know even if you care? The 43-year-old schoolteacher’s story received scant attention in the media. Described by his students and peers as a well-known and ‘much-loved’ schoolteacher, perhaps far more ominously for him, he was also the president of the Nusratabad chapter of the Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya in Rabwah. He was taken into custody on Feb 10 after a murder in his area. There were no warrants, no police remand. Since the man was never formally charged or even remanded in police custody, wouldn’t one be right in assuming him to be innocent? While in custody, apart from the routine ‘hang him upside down and beat him black and blue till he confesses’, the schoolteacher was also pinned to the floor by policemen holding his legs and arms and a weighted wooden down roller run over him causing untold internal injuries. He was released without charge some 46, yes 46, days later. In fact, his family were told by the police to take him home as he was unwell. He had been subjected to severe torture. The family were made to sign a blank piece of paper. From the police station, the family took Master Qudoos to hospital where doctors tried to revive his crushed body. Four days later, ongoing ‘internal bleeding and severe loss of blood’ drained whatever life the police had left in his body.There may be elements of the case I may not be familiar with but it is clear he was kept in illegal confinement for a month and a half and subjected to torture. The local community believes he was thus treated because biased policemen wanted to defame and humiliate the Ahmadis and did so by targeting a respected community leader. The police have now admitted Master Abdul Qudoos was ‘innocent’ and have promised action against some constables (with no known arrests) but crucial questions remain about the level of involvement as an innocent man was held and tortured at a police station not in some private jail. Surely, some senior officers would have heard him screaming for mercy, been aware of the torture. Would you blame members of the persecuted and hounded Ahmadi community for believing they won’t get justice because soon the case will be forgotten by all but the victim’s widow and four children? I wouldn’t because they are right in all probability. Let me share with you why I feel so. The incident came into focus because activists raised it on social media though to be fair a Pakistani TV channel or two also covered the story in passing.However, one’s attention was drawn to it, as a Twitter discussion developed on why the media and others weren’t following up on a police torture death in custody with the same vigour as a slap by a Sindh Assembly candidate, or for example the killing of a suspect by the Rangers in a Karachi park. The obvious question was whether the human rights of some — in this case the most basic right to life of an Ahmadi — had precedence over the others’. Despite being nearly certain this was the case, one still put the hypothesis to test, perhaps rather naively. REFERENCE: No looking back for us Abbas Nasir | 7th April, 2012

The government of Pakistan has not held the presenter of a popular TV program on Geo TV, accountable for stoking the already-prevalent religious hatred of Pakistan's beleaguered Ahmadi minority, on 7 September, 2008. Anchor person Dr Amir Liaquat Hussain declared, on air, the murder of Ahmadi sect members to be the religious duty of devout Muslims. He made the statement on Alim Online, a religious affairs program on Geo TV, which is a prominent Dubai-based Pakistani television channel. Hussain urged his two co-presenters to agree, and in a show on 9 September, he repeated the suggestion. In the 48 hours after the first broadcast, two Ahmadi community leaders were lynched and murdered, bringing the total number of targeted Ahmadi killings this year to four. Hussain, a self-titled doctor, was, ironically, the minister for religious affairs in the Musharraf government. He regularly expresses an open hatred of Pakistan's minority groups, and his influence stretches far by way of daily on-air sermons and articles he writes for the Daily Jang newspaper, published by the same media house. The AHRC considers freedom of speech to be an important right, but it also insists on the right of the individual to personal safety and freedom from persecution. That Pakistan allows the use of broadcasting tools to spread direct messages of intense harm and hatred as a religious duty, is utterly disturbing. Religious intolerance flourishes in Pakistan, and there is very little done to temper the hatred felt by some Muslims for Ahmadi followers, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities. In some cases the government clearly tries to court fundamentalists with its leniency regarding these crimes. The two most recent Ahmadi deaths were carried out in broad daylight, in public, but no arrests have been made. Dr Hussain has not been held accountable in any way, either by his employer or the government. The AHRC demands that a case be initiated and Dr Hussain be produced before the law. Geo TV must, at the very least, offer a full apology for its involvement in two murderous lynching cases, and must present a new list of broadcasting standards that it pledges to uphold. That religious hatred can bloom so publicly and remain unpunished is an embarrassment to a country that hopes to be taken seriously outside of its borders. REFERENCES: PAKISTAN: No action taken against Geo TV presenter who incited Muslims to murder members of Pakistan minority on air September 18, 2008

Pakistan: Nationalism without a Nation Christophe Jaffrelot

Sectarian Militancy in Pakistan - 1 (Choraha 10 July 2010)

DERA ISMAIL KHAN/ FAISALABAD, Feb 28 Dera Ismail Khan and Faisalabad districts were in the grip of tension following clashes and attacks on processions taken out on Saturday to celebrate Eid Miladun Nabi (peace be upon him). A curfew was imposed in three tehsils of D. I. Khan and Section 144 was imposed in Faisalabad. Troops were deployed in the troubled Dheki town of D. I. Khan after clashes between two sectarian groups. Police and hospital sources said that seven people had been killed and 32 others injured in an attack on a procession and an exchange of fire between law-enforcement personnel and rioters. Trouble started when the procession passing by a seminary came under attack. Witnesses said that two men in the procession were killed and five others injured. Immediately after the incident, a charged mob attacked the seminary. A police contingent trying to bring the situation under control also came under attack and five people were killed and 27 others injured when police fired back. The town was calm but tense on Sunday with troops patrolling the streets.The main Dera city, Proa and Paharpur tehsils were under strict curfew. NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti discussed the situation with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on phone and appealed to him to cooperate with the government to promote sectarian harmony in the area. According to a handout issued in Peshawar, Mr Hoti assured the Maulana that the government would take action against trouble-makers. DIG Feroz Shah said that over 50 people had been arrested for firing at the procession and cases had been registered against them. Officials said that a curfew had also been imposed in the adjacent Tank town. The administration convened meetings of elders, Ulema and politicians to seek their help in maintaining peace in the town which has a history of sectarian clashes. Police said a pick-up truck loaded with weapons was seized near the Cawar checkpost and a man was arrested. In Faisalabad, four people were injured when a group of people believed to be hiding in Gol Mosque opened fire on an Eid Miladun Nabi (PBUH) procession in Ghulam Mohammadabad locality of the city. Some men in the procession allegedly vandalised the mosque and pelted it with stones. A Gol Mosque spokesperson said that people in the procession had provoked them by throwing stones at the mosque. After the firing, a large number of people besieged the Ghulam Mohammadabad police station and set more than 200 vehicles and motorbikes on fire. The protesters also ransacked the police station, forcing the personnel run away. Official vehicles of Gulberg traffic sector were also torched by the mob. Police tried to disperse the mob with teargas, but failed. The charged mob also pelted policemen with stones, injuring a few constables. The protesters blocked the Saddar Bazaar Road, Latif Chowk and Chandni Chowk and burned tyres. A number of shells fired by police also landed in houses. The mob also attacked and allegedly looted the house of Gol Mosque khateeb Zahid Mehmood Qasmi. About 48 people belonging to both sects, including Mr Qasmi, were arrested. Punjab Inspector-General of Police Tariq Saleem Dogar arrived in the city on Saturday night. Officials of police and district administration held a meeting with Ahmed Ludhianvi, chief of the proscribed Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, and urged him to help calm the situation. On Sunday, a mob attacked a mosque in Usman Town on the Millat Road and burned a motorcycle and a generator. Police arrested 12 people. SSP (operations) Sarfraz Falki suspended Sargodha Road SHO Zahid Hussain for dereliction of duty. Despite the imposition of Section 144, people belonging to the Gol Mosque sect took out a procession and held a meeting at the Clock Tower intersection. The eight bazzars emanating from the Clock Tower remained closed. REFERENCE: Violence mars Milad celebrations in D. I. Khan, Faisalabad March 1, 2010

Sectarian Militancy in Pakistan - 2 (Choraha 10 July 2010)

7 killed, 44 injured in DI Khan, Faisalabad sectarian violence * Barelvi Eid Miladun Nabi rally comes under fire, mob attacks Deobandi seminary in DI Khan * Six injured in Faisalabad violence, scores of vehicles torched PESHAWAR: Authorities on Sunday lifted a curfew imposed earlier in the day in Dera Ismail Khan after at least seven people were killed in clashes and gunfights described as sectarian violence, according to officials and police. The violence erupted in Paharpur on Saturday as hundreds rallied to celebrate Eid Miladun Nabi. Gunmen started firing at a rally of the Barelvi sect, killing one person and prompting the angry crowd to attack a seminary of the Deobandi sect. “Seven people were killed and 38 others injured ... all the dead are Sunnis, there are some Shias among the injured,” district police chief Gul Afzal Afridi told AFP. An official at the hospital Dera Ismail Khan hospital confirmed the death toll, and said the 38 people wounded were still being treated. The authorities on Sunday ordered people to remain in their houses night and day in the main city and other parts of the district, including Paharpur. Security forces patrolled the streets. “We have arrested more than 20 suspects and are conducting more raids. There is a curfew in the main city and some of the outskirts,” said Afridi. Afridi had refused to comment on Saturday on who might be responsible for the initial shooting, saying the area was troubled by both sectarian unrest and attacks by militant groups. In Faisalabad, at least six people were injured in sectarian violence over 24 hours, according to a private TV channel. It said more than two dozen people had also been taken into custody. Faisalabad DCO Saeed Iqbal said Section 144 had been imposed in the city. Top district administration officials also held a meeting with representatives of various religious organisations in a bid to facilitate the return of normalcy in the area. The channel said although Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and Home Secretary Nadeem Hassan Asif were present in Faisalabad, they did not attend the meeting. Furious protesters set a police station and dozens of vehicles on fire after an Eid Miladun Nabi procession came under firing. The attack was preceded by a clash between rival groups, one of which fired at the procession. Police have arrested more than 15 people, including a cleric for allegedly to instigating violence. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has ordered an investigation into the violence in Dera Ismail Khan and Faisalabad. agencies REFERENCE: 7 killed, 44 injured in DI Khan, Faisalabad sectarian violence Monday, March 01, 2010

Sectarian Militancy in Pakistan - 3 (Choraha 10 July 2010)

KARACHI: A US official in a cable sent to the State Department stated that “financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith clerics in south Punjab from organisations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments.” The cable sent in November 2008 by Bryan Hunt, the then Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Lahore, was based on information from discussions with local government and non-governmental sources during his trips to the cities of Multan and Bahawalpur. Quoting local interlocutors, Hunt attempts to explain how the “sophisticated jihadi recruitment network” operated in a region dominated by the Barelvi sect, which, according to the cable, made south Punjab “traditionally hostile” to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith schools of thought. Hunt refers to a “network of Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith mosques and madrassahs” being strengthened through an influx of “charity” which originally reached organisations “such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Al-Khidmat foundation”. Portions of these funds would then be given away to clerics “in order to expand these sects’ presence” in a relatively inhospitable yet “potentially fruitful recruiting ground”.

Outlining the process of recruitment for militancy, the cable describes how “families with multiple children” and “severe financial difficulties” were generally being exploited for recruitment purposes. Families first approached by “ostensibly ‘charitable’” organisations would later be introduced to a “local Deobandi or Ahl-i-Hadith maulana” who would offer to educate the children at his madrassah and “find them employment in the service of Islam”. “Martyrdom” was also “often discussed”, with a final cash payment to the parents. “Local sources claim that the current average rate is approximately Rs 500,000 (approximately USD 6,500) per son,” the cable states. Children recruited would be given age-specific indoctrination and would eventually be trained according to the madrassah teachers’ assessment of their inclination “to engage in violence and acceptance of jihadi culture” versus their value as promoters of Deobandi or Ahl-i-Hadith sects or recruiters, the cable states. Recruits “chosen for jihad” would then be taken to “more sophisticated indoctrination camps”. “Locals identified three centres reportedly used for this purpose”. Two of the centres were stated to be in the Bahawalpur district, whereas one was reported as situated “on the outskirts of Dera Ghazi Khan city”. These centres “were primarily used for indoctrination”, after which “youths were generally sent on to more established training camps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and then on to jihad either in FATA, NWFP, or as suicide bombers in settled areas”.

The cable goes on to quote local officials criticising the PML-N-led provincial and the PPP-led federal governments for their “failure to act” against “extremist madrassas, or known prominent leaders such as Jaish-i-Mohammad’s Masood Azhar”. The Bahawalpur district nazim at the time told Hunt that despite repeatedly highlighting the threat posed by extremist groups and indoctrination centres to the provincial and federal governments, he had received “no support” in dealing with the issue unless he was ready to change his political loyalties. The nazim, who at the time was with the PML-Q, “blamed politics, stating that unless he was willing to switch parties…neither the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz provincial nor the Pakistan People’s Party federal governments would take his requests seriously”. REFERENCE: Saudi Arabia, UAE financing extremism in south Punjab By Qurat ul ain Siddiqui 22nd May, 2011

Sectarian Militancy in Pakistan - 4 (Choraha 10 July 2010)

1. (S/NF) Summary: During recent trips to southern Punjab, Principal Officer was repeatedly told that a sophisticated jihadi recruitment network had been developed in the Multan, Bahawalpur, and Dera Ghazi Khan Divisions. The network reportedly exploited worsening poverty in these areas of the province to recruit children into the divisions’ growing Deobandi and Ahl-eHadith madrassa network from which they were indoctrinated into jihadi philosophy, deployed to regional training/indoctrination centers, and ultimately sent to terrorist training camps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Locals believed that charitable activities being carried out by Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith organizations, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Al-Khidmat Foundation, and Jaish-e-Mohammad were further strengthening reliance on extremist groups and minimizing the importance of traditionally moderate Sufi religious leaders in these communities. Government and non-governmental sources claimed that financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in the region from “”missionary”" and “”Islamic charitable”" organizations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments. Locals repeatedly requested USG support for socio-economic development and the promotion of moderate religious leaders in the region as a direct counter to the growing extremist threat. End Summary.

2. (S/NF) During a recent visit to the southern Punjabi cities of Multan and Bahawalpur, Principal Officer’s discussions with religious, political, and civil society leaders were dominated by discussions of the perceived growing extremist threat in Seraiki and Baloch areas in southern and western Punjab. Interlocutors repeatedly stressed that recruitment activities by extremist religious organizations, particularly among young men between the ages of 8 and 15, had increased dramatically over the last year. Locals blamed the trend on a strengthening network of Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith mosques and madrassas, which they claimed had grown exponentially since late 2005. Such growth was repeatedly attributed to an influx of “”Islamic charity”" that originally reached Pakistani pseudo-religious organizations, such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the Al-Khidmat foundation, as relief for earthquake victims in Kashmir and the North West Frontier Province. Locals believe that a portion of these funds was siphoned to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in southern and western Punjab in order to expand these sects’ presence in a traditionally hostile, but potentially fruitful, recruiting ground. The initial success of establishing madrassas and mosques in these areas led to subsequent annual “”donations”" to these same clerics, originating in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The value of such donations was uncertain, although most interlocutors believed that it was in the region of $100 million annually.

3. (S/NF) According to local interlocutors, current recruitment activities generally exploit families with multiple children, particularly those facing severe financial difficulties in light of inflation, poor crop yields, and growing unemployment in both urban and rural areas in the southern and western Punjab. Oftentimes, these families are identified and initially approached/assisted by ostensibly “”charitable”" organizations including Jamaat-ud-Dawa (a front for designated foreign terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Tayyaba), the Al-Khidmat Foundation (linked to religious political party Jamaat-e-Islami), or Jaish-e-Mohammad (a charitable front for the designated foreign terrorist organization of the same name).

4. (S/NF) The local Deobandi or Ahl-e-Hadith maulana will generally be introduced to the family through these organizations. He will work to convince the parents that their poverty is a direct result of their family’s deviation from “”the true path of Islam”" through “”idolatrous”" worship at local Sufi shrines and/or with local Sufi Peers. The maulana suggests that the quickest way to return to “”favor”" would be to devote the lives of one or two of their sons to Islam. The maulana will offer to educate these children at his madrassa and to find them employment in the service of Islam. The concept of “”martyrdom”" is often discussed and the family is promised that if their sons are “”martyred”" both the sons and the family will attain “”salvation”" and the family will obtain God’s favor in this life, as well. An immediate cash payment is finally made to the parents to compensate the family for its “”sacrifice”" to Islam. Local sources claim that the current average rate is approximately Rps. 500,000 (approximately USD 6500) per son. A small number of Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in Dera Ghazi Khan district are reportedly recruiting daughters as well.

5. (S/NF) The path following recruitment depends upon the age of the child involved. Younger children (between 8 and 12) seem to be favored. These children are sent to a comparatively small, extremist Deobandi or Ahl-e-Hadith madrassa in southern or western Punjab generally several hours from their family home. Locals were uncertain as to the exact number of madrassas used for this initial indoctrination purpose, although they believed that with the recent expansion, they could number up to 200. These madrassas are generally in isolated areas and are kept small enough (under 100 students) so as not to draw significant attention. At these madrassas, children are denied contact with the outside world and taught sectarian extremism, hatred for non-Muslims, and anti-Western/anti-Pakistan government philosophy. Contact between students and families is forbidden, although the recruiting maulana periodically visits the families with reports full of praise for their sons’ progress. “”Graduates”" from these madrassas are either (1) employed as Deobandi/Ahl-e-Hadith clerics or madrassa teachers or (2) sent on to local indoctrination camps for jihad. Teachers at the madrassa appear to make the decision based on their read of the child’s willingness to engage in violence and acceptance of jihadi culture versus his utility as an effective proponent of Deobandi or Ahl-e-Hadith ideology/recruiter.

6. (S/NF) Children recruited at an older age and “”graduates”" chosen for jihad proceed to more sophisticated indoctrination camps focused on the need for violence and terrorism against the Pakistan government and the West. Locals identified three centers reportedly used for this purpose. The most prominent of these is a large complex that ostensibly has been built at Khitarjee (sp?). Locals placed this site in Bahawalpur District on the Sutlej River north of the village of Ahmedpur East at the border of the districts of Multan, Bahawalpur, and Lodhran. The second complex is a newly built “”madrassa”" on the outskirts of Bahawalpur city headed by a devotee of Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Maulana Masood Azhar identified only as Maulana Al-Hajii (NFI). The third complex is an Ahl-e-Hadith site on the outskirts of Dera Ghazi Khan city about which very limited information was available. Locals asserted that these sites were primarily used for indoctrination and very limited military/terrorist tactic training. They claimed that following several months of indoctrination at these centers youth were generally sent on to more established training camps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and then on to jihad either in FATA, NWFP, or as suicide bombers in settled areas. Many worried that these youth would eventually return to try and impose their extremist version of Islam in the southern and western Punjab and/or to carry out operations in these areas.

7. (S/NF) Interlocutors repeatedly chastised the government for its failure to act decisively against indoctrination centers, extremist madrassas, or known prominent leaders such as Jaish-e-Mohammad’s Masood Azhar. One leading Sufi scholar and a Member of the Provincial Assembly informed Principal Officer that he had personally provided large amounts of information on the location of these centers, madrassas, and personalities to provincial and national leaders, as well as the local police. He was repeatedly told that “”plans”" to deal with the threat were being “”evolved”" but that direct confrontation was considered “”too dangerous.”" The Bahawalpur District Nazim told Principal Officer that he had repeatedly highlighted the growing threat to the provincial and federal governments but had received no support in dealing with it. He blamed politics, stating that unless he was willing to switch parties — he is currently with the Pakistan Muslim League — neither the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz provincial nor the Pakistan Peoples Party federal governments would take his requests seriously. The brother of the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, and a noted Brailvi/Sufi scholar in his own right, Allama Qasmi blamed government intransigence on a culture that rewarded political deals with religious extremists. He stressed that even if political will could be found, the bureaucracy in the Religious Affairs, Education, and Defense Ministries remained dominated by Zia-ul-Haq appointees who favored the Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith religious philosophies. This bureaucracy, Qasmi claimed, had repeatedly blocked his brother’s efforts to push policy in a different direction.

8. (S/NF) Interlocutors repeatedly requested USG assistance for the southern and western Punjab, believing that an influx of western funds could counter the influence of Deobandi/Ahl-e-Hadith clerics. Principal Officer was repeatedly reminded that these religious philosophies were alien to the southern and western Punjab — which is the spiritual heartland of South Asia’s Sufi communities. Their increasing prominence was directly attributed to poverty and external funding. Locals believed that socio-economic development programs, particularly in education, agriculture, and employment generation, would have a direct, long-term impact in minimizing receptivity to extremist movements. Similarly, they pressed for immediate relief efforts — particularly food distribution and income support — to address communities’ immediate needs. Several interlocutors also encouraged direct USG support to Brailvi/Sufi religious institutions, arguing that these represented the logical antithesis to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith philosophy and that if adequately funded, they could stem the tide of converts away from their moderate beliefs.


9. (S/NF) A jihadi recruiting network relying on Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith religious, charitable, and educational institutions is increasing its work in impoverished districts of southern and western Punjab. Local economic conditions coupled with foreign financing appear to be transforming a traditionally moderate area of the country into a fertile recruiting ground for terrorist organizations. The provincial and federal governments, while fully aware of the problem, appear to fear direct confrontation with these extremist groups. Local governments lack the resources and federal/provincial support to deal with these organizations on their own. The moderate Brailvi/Sufi community is internally divided into followers of competing spiritual leaders and lacks the financial resources to act as an effective counterweight to well-funded and well-organized extremists.

10. (S/NF) Post believes that this growing recruitment network poses a direct threat to USG counter-terrorism and counter-extremism efforts in Pakistan. Intervention at this stage in the southern and western Punjab could still be useful to counter the prevailing trends favoring extremist organizations. USAID development resources in agriculture, economic growth, education, and infrastructure development are useful and necessary and will address some of the immediate needs. In post’s view short-term, quick impact programs are required which focus on: (1) immediate relief in the form of food aid and microcredit, (2) cash for work and community-based, quick-impact infrastructure development programs focusing on irrigation systems, schools, and other critical infrastructure, and (3) strategic communication programs designed to educate on the dangers of the terrorist recruiting networks and to support counter-terrorist, counter-extremist messages. HUNT REFERENCE: 2008: Extremist recruitment on the rise in south Punjab madrassahs DAWN.COM | 22nd May, 2011 2009: Was Qaddafi funding Sipahe Sahaba? From the Newspaper | 26th May, 2011

Sectarian Militancy in Pakistan - 5 (Choraha 10 July 2010)

The Role of the State: The complexities of Pakistan’s centralized militarist state have encouraged the rise of both Islamism and its sectarian manifestations. According to Vali Nasr, two distinct factors account for this development. The first involves the state’s attempt to increase its own power by manipulating the rifts in society. The post-colonial state, though large and interventionist, has only limited capabilities. By manipulating social and cultural divisions and using a divide-and-rule strategy, however, the government is able to create a sphere in which it becomes the arbiter in any conflict. The state and its wings thus acts as an agent of identity mobilization and intensifies sectarian conflict. [16] The second factor involves the Pakistani state’s use of Islam or religious nationalism to bind the country together—which, in turn, gives impetus to fundamentalism and sectarianism. Since the days of Pakistan’s first military ruler, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the country’s military-technocratic elite or “establishment” has believed that Pakistan is difficult to govern. They consider the masses not to be ready or .t for democracy, and they are in constant fear that ethnic and regional centrifugal tendencies will pull the country apart. The Pakistani state has, therefore, consistently felt the need for an ideology to bind Pakistan—and Pakistanis—together. Islam is seen as fulfilling that role. The ties connecting the state, the military and the Islamists have strengthened over the years to combat the growing power of secular and ethnic-based political parties that often do not share the Pakistani establishment’s hostility toward India. Throughout the 1980s the Pakistani military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) supported militant Sunni Islamist groups in the northwest frontier bordering Afghanistan, as well as in Punjab and Baluchistan. And the government has funded Sunni madrasas, which in addition to preparing cadres for jihad in Afghanistan and India, have also become bastions of sectarianism. The Iranian revolution and the reaction it caused in the Gulf states, especially in Saudi Arabia, also contributed to sectarian violence in Pakistan. The Gulf states with Shi’a minorities were worried about domestic rebellion and civil war. Iran challenged Saudi Arabia’s pre-eminent position and status in the Muslim world—a replay of the Ottoman-Safavid power struggle of long ago. This led to large-scale pan-Islamization attempts by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, as well as by Libya and Iraq, to export Sunni-Wahhabi Islamism to other parts of the Muslim world. Pakistan was one of the key battlegrounds in this Iran-Saudi battle. In 1984 the Deobandi scholar Muhammad Manzur Numani wrote a tract asserting that the excesses of the Iranian revolution proved that Shiism was un-Islamic. The preface to this work was written by Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi, rector of the Nadwatul Ulema and recipient of Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal Prize for Service to Islam. The fact that Nadvi was associated with the Saudi Rabita al-Alam al-Islami (Muslim World League) raised the suspicion that Gulf politics had a lot to do with the timing and virulence of the tract. Another pro-Saudi religious leader in Pakistan, Asrar Ahmed, went so far as to argue that Shiism, which originated soon after the demise of Prophet Mohammed, was part of an early Jewish conspiracy against Islam. The assumption that Islamist forces and sectarian militias could be used and controlled has backfired against Pakistan’s government and—especially—its military, which now face the serious challenge of rolling back extremist beliefs. So far the state is not doing well. The government is finding it difficult to shut down or control the numerous radical and militant madrasas that were set up during the Afghan jihad. As the Islamists have increased their ability to raise funds globally, their madrasas have become less dependent on zakat assistance and hence less amenable to state influence. In the case of militant groups, the state’s periodic resort to force seems merely to substitute one combatant for another. The jihadis eliminated through the use of force are quickly replaced by more virulent cadres, who are constantly being produced. The Islamists know their strengths and the government’s weaknesses. They also know that until Pakistan’s government decides, once and for all, not to rely on Islam for nation-building and state consolidation, it will continue to court Islamist partners. For the foreseeable future, then, sectarian Islamist militancy will remain a serious threat to Pakistan’s stability. In 1954 the Pakistan government appointed a court of inquiry into the anti-Ahmadi violence. The Munir Commission, named after the Supreme Court chief justice who headed it, published a report that contained a very prescient assessment of future Islamist politics in Pakistan. It concluded that the government should keep out of the business of defining who is, or is not, a Muslim and of how Islam is to be enforced as the state religion: Keeping in view the several definitions given by the ulema (of who is a Muslim) need we make any comment except that no two learned divines are agreed on this fundamental? If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by any one of the ulema, we remain Muslims according to the view of that alim but kafirs according to the definition of everyone else…. What is happening now seems almost the writing on the wall, and God help us if we do not stop these…people from cutting each other’s throat.” [17] This article first appeared in Volume 4 of Current Trends in Islamist Ideology published November 1, 2006. REFERENCE: "Weeding Out the Heretics": Sectarianism in Pakistan by Husain Haqqani Published on Wednesday, November 01, 2006 Current Trends in Islamist Ideology vol. 4

Sectarian Militancy in Pakistan - 6 (Choraha 10 July 2010)

ISLAMABAD, Oct 6: The reported statement of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, in which he had accused the Taliban of backing sectarian violence in Pakistan, has stunned the high authorities here. The Foreign Office has formally regretted what it termed "the baseless speculation and incorrect reporting in some sections of the media, claiming that the Taliban government of Afghanistan is allegedly involved in recent incidents of terrorist violence in the country." Sources in the relevant agencies of the federal government have

expressed complete ignorance about the availability of any intelligence report that could support what the Punjab CM was reported to have said in his talk with newsmen at Lahore on Tuesday. They said the Punjab delegation which had attended an inter- provincial meeting on Monday, a day before the CM's reported statement, did not mention a word about the Taliban backing the sectarian violence in Pakistan. 
"There was absolutely no mention of the Taliban in the meeting which was called merely to discuss sectarianism," a source who attended the meeting said. The Punjab Chief Secretary, A.Z.K. Sherdil, however, told Dawn by telephone from his Lahore residence that some intelligence reports did suggest that religious extremists from Pakistan got training in Afghanistan and before joining sectarian violence in the country. 

He said these intelligence reports maintained that such elements received training in camps inside Afghanistan, had fought along with the Taliban against the Afghan opposition, and had infiltrated into Pakistan and were involved in sectarian violence. "We are quite concerned about this situation and want a comprehensive policy to check this movement across the Pakistan-Afghan border," Mr Sherdil said. He, however, denied that there was any mention, in these intelligence reports, about Riaz Basra's protection by the Taliban. The chief secretary said there was massive gun-running from Afghanistan to the tribal areas in Pakistan from where the weapons came to the NWFP and then supplied to other provinces. He said since the Pakistan-Afghan border was not properly manned, this practice continues. However, official sources in the federal government totally deny having seen any such intelligence report. But some sources believe that the Punjab chief minister who has recently returned from an "important US trip" had taken an initiative to dissociate Pakistan from the Taliban and Afghanistan. Meanwhile the Foreign Office, in a press statement issued here on Wednesday evening, regretted "the baseless speculation and incorrect reporting in some sections of the media, claiming that the Taliban government of Afghanistan is allegedly involved in recent incidents of terrorist violence in the country." REFERENCE: Shahbaz Sharif talks of intelligence report; flat denial by FO Ansar Abbasi DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 09 October 1999 Issue : 05/41

PML (Nawaz) & Sectarian Killings - 1 (GEO TV)

KARACHI, July 30: The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for the murder of PSO managing director Shaukat Mirza and the defence ministry official, Syed Zafar Hussain. In a joint press statement, chief of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Riaz Basra and Lashkar's divisional chief, Lal Mohammed have claimed responsibility for both the killings. They also warned that any government functionary resorting to abuse of power would face the same fate. "We had urged the President, General Pervez Musharraf, not to implement the death sentence awarded to Sheikh Haq Nawaz as it could prove harmful for the integrity of the country but the government went ahead with its plan to appease a neighbouring country," said the statement. -NNI REFERENCE: Jhangvi group says it is responsible DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 4 August 2001 Issue : 07/31

PML (Nawaz) & Sectarian Killings - 2 (Samaa TV)

MULTAN, May 14: Riaz Basra, the alleged mastermind behind hundreds of sectarian killings, was killed with three of his accomplices in an 'encounter' in Mailsi. The 'shootout' took place at Dakota, which had been targeted twice in the past by Lashkar-i-Jhangvi militants. Riaz Basra headed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. Sources claimed that Basra was in the Faisalabad police custody for the last five months and was being interrogated for the activities of his network. According to the police, four heavily armed outlaws came to Chak Kot Chaudhry Sher Mohammad Ghalvi at about 3:15am in a Toyota Corolla and stopped near the house of Chaudhry Fida Hussain Ghalvi, the district chief of the banned Tehrik-i-Jaferia. Being on the hit-list of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi militants, villagers used to keep vigil round the clock and were helped by the police at night. Mr Ghalvi told Dawn that he was on guard on the rooftop of his house when the assailants arrived. He said when he questioned the purpose of their visit at the odd hours, they came out of the car and opened fire. Mr Ghalvi said that he and other villagers returned the fire and informed the police control. Police said that SP Syed Javed Shah of Vehari was patrolling the area with some police officials and "therefore, he arrived at the spot in no time." Known in police circles as encounter- friendly, SP Javed has already to his credit scores of encounters. 

In a crossfire that lasted nearly an hour, the outlaws died. The bodies were taken to the Vehari DHQ hospital for a post-mortem examination. Police said they had recovered some fake number-plates from the car. Chaudhry Iftikhar Ahmed, DIG of the Multan range, told Dawn that the police had also recovered a rocket-launcher, four rockets, four Kalashnikovs and a huge quantity of live rounds from the scene. Mr Ghalvi claimed that the assailants had come to kill him. He said that Lashkar-i-Jhangvi had killed his brother, Mukhtar, in 1997. It is suspected that Lashkar-i-Jhangvi was involved in two strikes in Dakota. On Aug 18, 1996, it killed 12 people at a Majlis and on July 23, 1997, it slew five people, including TJP leader Mukhtar Husain Ghalvi. On Feb 18, 1999, unknown assailants gunned down three more Shias near Pul (bridge) 14 in the vicinity of Dakota. Later, at a press conference in Vehari, SP Javed identified one of the dead as Riaz Basra. He said Riaz Basra's identity was established by one of his accomplices, Kashif, who is under detention for his alleged involvement in the killing of Siddiq Kanju in Lodhran. SP Javed said that Basra carried a head money of Rs500,000. His body was identified earlier by a police officer who had met him some years ago in Afghanistan. REFERENCE: Riaz Basra, 3 others die in 'encounter' Dawn Report DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 18 May 2002 Issue : 08/20

PML (Nawaz) & Sectarian Killings - 3 (News One/TV One)

FAISALABAD: Media-men and even some top ranking police officials were shocked when they received the news on government controlled television and radio about the killing of a most wanted and desperate criminal, Riaz Basra, in a police encounter in Mailsi near Multan, because there had been solid information and reports that he had been in police custody for the last five months. The “encounter” was staged at Dakota in Mailsi, some 65 kilometres away from Multan, a place where the terrorists of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi allegedly murdered over a dozen persons in the past. Giving details of the incident, a senior police officer of Multan claimed that four heavily armed outlaws came to Chak Kot Chaudhry Sher Muhammad Ghalvi, at about 3:15am in a Toyota Corolla (DGA-9520) and stopped near the house of Chaudhry Fida Hussain Ghalvi, the district chief of the banned Tehrik-i-Jaafria Pakistan. Being on the hit list of the Lashkar, the villagers used to keep vigil round the clock and were helped by the police at night. Ghalvi was on the rooftop when the alleged assailants arrived. When he questioned the purpose of their visit at that time, they came out of the car and opened fire. Villagers returned the fire and informed the area police. A police patrolling team rushed to the spot and during cross firing all the four terrorists died. Two of them had beards and the other two including Riaz Basra were clean-shaven. First of all, the superintendent of police Vehari reportedly identified one of the dead as Riaz Basra, saying that one of Riaz Basra’s accomplices who was under detention for alleged involvement in the killing of Siddiq Kanju had identified him.

In April, 1999, the Sargodha police had shot dead two persons - Shahzad Warraich and Azizur Rehman who were said to be close friends of Riaz Basra - in an encounter and claimed to have killed Riaz Basra due to his resemblance to Shahzad. Similarly, the Punjab police claimed to have killed Riaz Basra six times. But the “drama” of Mailsi staged in early hours of May 14 this year was very close to reality as the person who was killed in the shootout was really believed to be Riaz Basra. No doubt the credit of ending the mystery of Riaz Basra, the most wanted proclaimed offender who carried Rs5 million on his head, goes to Punjab police and more accurately to Faisalabad police, but the drama was directed very poorly by those behind the screen. The real story started when the Faisalabad police arrested a terrorist Ajmal alias Sheikh Jamshaid of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi from somewhere. Ajmal, a close friend of Riaz Basra, was interrogated by special teams of police and a secret agency at local headquarters of the CIA in January this year, due to which another terrorist Liaqat Ali son of Sohnay Khan, resident of Karore Pacca, wanted by police in a triple murder case, was arrested. Two hand-grenades with live pins, a kalashnikov, and two pistols of 30 bore were seized from his possession. The ATC team continued the interrogation of the arrested terrorist and raided a number of locations in Faisalabad, Lahore, Jhang, Sargodha and some other parts of the country. The hectic efforts made by the interrogation team and information received from both the arrested terrorists led to the arrest of Riaz Basra.

Sources in the local police disclosed what they called the true story of the arrest of Riaz Basra, saying that after the arrest of two friends, Ajmal and Liaqat Ali, the police teams started tracking down Riaz Basra. They learnt that Basra was residing in Chaman in Balochistan, due to extensive bombing in Afghanistan by the American forces. “The entire matter was brought to the notice of high-ups of the interior ministry and a national secret agency asked permission to launch an operation in Chaman for capturing him. The team consisting of personnel of the Punjab and Balochistan police under supervision of the national secret agency conducted the operation in Chaman and arrested 16 persons from two hideouts. The arrested persons were immediately shifted to an investigation centre of the Punjab police at Lahore where one of them was identified as Riaz Basra. He was clean-shaven and wore shalwar-qameez,” sources disclosed. Here comes the conflict between reports in the print media and the police claim as the police high-ups, including inspector general of police, Punjab, categorically denied the arrest of Riaz Basra when some leading newspapers published the stories in the second week of January this year. Reporters of newspapers claiming the arrest of Basra presented different proofs and information. But all their claims were rejected by the police.

During his first visit to Faisalabad, Governor Khalid Maqbool was briefed about the major achievements of the district police in an in-camera meeting at local circuit house on Jan 10, including the claim that Riaz Basra had been arrested. According to a report on the briefing: “Inspector Naveed Younis, incharge, anti-terrorist cell, headed by SP/CIA apprehended a terrorist Ajmal alias Sheikh Jamshaid of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi r/o Faisalabad, who was reportedly a close friend of Riaz Basra (sectarian P.O.). The terrorist with the technical assistance of ISI was interrogated. Resultantly, the accused Liaqat Ali s/o Sohnay Khan r/o Karore Pucca, an accused of a sectarian triple murder case of FIR No. 27/01 u/s 302 PS Gulberg, Faisalabad, was arrested. Two hand-grenades with live pins, one kalashnikov and two pistols 30- bore were recovered from his possession. The sequence of interrogation ultimately led to the arrest of Riaz Basra.”

This correspondent possesses a copy of the said briefing. Riaz Basra was born in Chak Chah Thandiwala, Sargodha, in 1967. He was the youngest of four sons and two daughters born to Ghulam Muhammad and Jalal Bibi. His eldest brother is an employee of the Auqaf department in Lahore while the other family members are living in the hometown. Riaz Basra got religious education from different deeni madressahs of Lahore and Sargodha and joined the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan in 1985, and played an active role in enrolment and fund raising for his organization in Lahore and other parts of the province. Riaz Basra also contested the 1988 general elections for a provincial assembly seat but lost. He, according to police, got arms training in Jihadi camps in Afghanistan and also took part in Jihad in Afghanistan where he sustained a bullet injury to his leg. He constituted a militant group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi after the name of his late chief commander, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, who was assassinated. The members of his group allegedly started killing shia leaders and activists all over the country and became a terrorist organization.

The Lahore Police arrested Riaz Basra after his conviction by a court on charge of murdering Iranian counsel, Aqai Sadiq Ganji. He was produced before a court in Lahore during trial of a murder case of a central leader of Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Fiqa Jaafria, Syed Sikandar Shah. He escaped from police custody in May, 1994. After his escape from police custody, he reportedly strengthened the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, and enrolled many extremists. This group gunned down hundreds of shia leaders and activists in 1996, 1997 and 1998 under direct command of Riaz Basra. Top ranking government officials and religious scholars of Fiqa Jaafria were target of the militant group. Riaz Basra allegedly himself killed the commissioner of Sargodha division, Syed Tajammal Abbas, in August, 1996. There were strong indications and reports about Riaz Basra’s links with government agencies as Qari Abdul Hai alias Talha who was a close friend of Basra parted his ways over this issue and set up his own camp. Talha was of the view that Basra was playing in the hands of government agencies. But the arrest and killing of Riaz Basra in a staged encounter finished all hopes of exposing those responsible for keeping alive the sectarian conflict in the country. REFERENCE: Basra encounter: a poorly staged drama By Shamsul Islam Naz May 17, 2002 Friday Rabi-ul-Awwal 4, 1423

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