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Barelvi Lashkar-e-Jhangvi on the Horizon 

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By: Naimat Khan

KARACHI: A new sectarian outfit, modeled on the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), has emerged in the Punjab province of Pakistan, intelligence sources say. While the dominant milieu of armed groups in Pakistan is Deobandi, the new group, calling itself “Labaik Ya Rasoolallah”, is Barelvi.

“Labaik Ya Rasool Allah draws from the Barelvi strand of the Sunni sectarian bent. It seeks to target those from the Deobandi school of thought,” disclosed an intelligence official.

According to sources, the group initially restricted itself to protests and sloganeering but has gradually become more militarized. “It will be another Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). I fear it might be more lethal, if not checked on time,” said Raja Umar Khattab, a senior counter terrorism officer. According to an intelligence official, the organization has targeted members of Tableeghi Jama’at’, a nonviolent and apolitical organization of religious preachers from Deobandi sect, in various localities of Punjab province.

The group’s emergence not only adds a new, disturbing dimension to the sectarian war in the country but also presents a serious challenge to the soft image of the Barelvi community. The Barelvi sect has long been seen the sect of Sufi and peace loving devotees.

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“It is not just the responsibility of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to check activities of the outfit but the elders of the Barelvi school of thought should also campaign against it, prevent its consolidation,” Khattab suggests.

Barelvi militancy is not entirely a new phenomenon. According to analysts, the Deobandi, Ahle Hadith, and Shia groups’ strength stem from their role in Afghanistan and support from Arab countries and Iran. However, Barelvi groups have never been part of jihadist or militant activities. “But in recent years, they became violent on the issue of the blasphemy law, especially on the issue of Mumtaz Qadri,” said Zia Ur Rehman, a Karachi based journalist and author of Karachi in Turmoil.

Please also read: What does the anti-ISIS graffiti in Karachi’s Shia neighborhoods mean?

It’s pertinent to mention that Sunni Tehreek, a Karachi based Barelvi group has been on the watch list of security agencies due to its activities for the last many years. “From the late 90s onward ST has been involved in target killing, extortion and land grabbing in Karachi whereas several criminal elements found it as cover after the military operations of 90s, however, mainstream Barelvi groups have never supported it,” told an official.

Other analysts, however, see it as a shadow of the Deobandi militant ecosystem, unlikely to replace the hegemony of Deobandi group. “The networks of Deobandi militancy in Pakistan are much stronger so I don’t see a Barelvi movement presenting much of a challenge,” according to Asfandyar Mir, a University of Chicago based scholar of armed groups in South Asia. “Deobandi militancy has benefitted from years of state patronization. Post 9/11, many Deobandi groups gained from Al-Qaeda’s support. Even now, many in the state apparatus have a soft corner for various Deobandi groups. The state will not cut a Barelvi armed group the same slack. Mumtaz Qadri’s fate would have been very different if he was from a Deobandi faction,” he opines.

 

Originally Publishe in The Frontier Post

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PMLN blames PPP, but it has failed to implement orders of its own PM

PMLN blames PPP, but it has failed to implement orders of its own PM

KARACHI: Dawn has published a report today, accusing the previous government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of not taking required actions under the 2008 United Nations resolution designating Hafiz Saeed’s organisation as a terrorist outfit.

“As a matter of record, the actions taken by the government of Pakistan have been carried out as per obligations vis-à-vis listing of Jamaatud Dawa under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008,” says an unnamed spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior in a statement here on Wednesday which the ministry apparently released in reaction to a statement of India’s Ministry of External Affairs regarding the detention of JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.

However, this report we published in September 2014 shows the PMLN’s own Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had issued directives to monitor the JuD and its activities but these directives were never implemented until the recent developments of house arrest and placing JuD Chief Hafiz Saeed and 37 others on Exit Control List. The move, according to reports, enjoys the support of security establishment. In September 2014 it was lacking.

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File Photo of the JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed File Photo of the JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The government of Pakistan has asked all four provinces to closely monitor the fund raising activities and media coverage of Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its relief wing Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), highly reliable sources told The Frontier Post here on Friday.

According to details these directives have been issued by Islamabad after the proposal by foreign ministry to have a close eye over and control JUD and its activities was approved by Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Nawaz Sharif, who wishes friendly relations with India.

Well informed sources said the federal national counter terrorism authority wrote a memo to the chief and home secretaries of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces on 11 September 2014, in which they were being asked to monitor the JuD and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation’s fundraising activities and its coverage on electronic and print…

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PPP’s Sindh Govt wants to shut Darululoom Karachi, Jamia Uloom-e-Islamia Banoori Town, Jamia Haqqania, other top Deobandi Seminaries

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By: Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The Sindh Government of Pakistan People’s Party has recommended to place top Deobandi Seminaries across Pakistan, including the one visited by senior party leader, Senator Saeed Ghani, for support during December 2015 local government elections, on watch list, it emerged on Monday.

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal’s Sindh leader Qari Muhammad Usman said Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah is “out of his mind” as he is pondering to do “silly things”. “If they want to place our Jamia Uloom-e-Islamia and other top madaris on watch list, happily do it but you will have to face consequences,” the JUI-F leader warned.

Usman said it was impossible to place Jamia Uloom-e-Islamia Binoria Town and other top seminaries on watch list. Syed Murad Ali Shah visited Jamia Uloom-e-Islamia to offer prayers whereas his father had also visited the same seminary to offer special prayers during his regime. “No power can shut the religious seminaries.”

However, Sindh Religious Affairs Advisor Dr. Abdul Qayyum Soomro, refuted that there was any such list for recommending placing these seminaries was under watch. Talking to The Frontier Post, Soomro said none of the Madressahs mentioned by this newspaper is in the list. “I will share the original list tomorrow (today)” he said. He failed to present any list despite lapse of four days.

According to the list available to this scribe, the Sindh Government has proposed to place 94 seminaries, of which 52 are situated in Karachi, 15 in Sukkar, one each in Shahdadpur, Lahore, Multan, Attock, Ahmed Pur Shirkia, Mengora, Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Akora Khattak and Rajore whereas two are situated in Balochistan.

Vast majority of these seminaries belong to Deobandi school of thought whereas few belong to Ahle Hadees School of thoughts. No Madressah from Barelvi or Shia sects are included in the list sent to the federal interior ministry for action. The interior minister has already showed displeasure over the list.

Of the prominent seminaries is Jamia Binoria Site, a seminary where senator Ghani had paid visit for election support, Jamia Banoria Town Guru Mandir, Karachi, which is a center of the Deobandi school of thought, Jamia Darul Uloom Korangi, Karachi, a seminary run by Mufti Rafi Usmani and Justice (R) Mufti Taqi Usmani, both sons Mufti-e-Azm Maulana Muhammad Shafi, and Jamia Farooqia Shah Faisal, Karachi.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial government of Sindh believes that the Purana Tableeghi Markaz Mingora Swat, Darul Uloom Momaniya Dera Ismail Khan, Dar Ul Uloom Masoodia Tank, Darul Ul-Uloom Haqqania Akora Khattak and Shah Tauheed Sunnah Pajwar should be placed on watch list. On last Thursday, the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had accused Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan led federal interior ministry of not cooperating with Sindh government regarding the 94 religious seminaries, which the provincial government had identified for their links with terrorism.

“Our government will never allow terrorists and religious fanatics to keep playing with the lives of innocent people even if the federal government refuses to cooperate, which is evident from the response of Ministry of Interior to 94 seminaries involved in supporting or penetrating terrorism,” CM Sindh said to the Sindh cabinet meeting that he presided over on Thursday, January 19, 2016.

Briefing the cabinet on the response of Ministry of Interior to ban 94 madaris allegedly involved in promoting terrorism, the chief minister said that in the Apex committee the list of the madaris was presented.

The Committee was told that 94 madaris were involved in terrorist activities. “They had presented solid evidences gathered from the terrorists arrested by the Law Enforcement Agencies and they had revealed startling disclosures against the said seminaries. After the interrogation the concerned agencies worked hard to collect solid evidences and on the basis of that information, evidence and recommendation a list of 94 madaris spreading over 46 pages was sent to Ministry of Interior” a handout issued from CM House reads.

“I was quite surprised that when an attempt was made to politicize the issue instead of taking action as recommended by the government,” he said and added “come what may we would go ahead and keep crushing the terrorists wherever they live or nurtured because we are the worst affected people of terrorism. At the hands of terrorists, we have lost our leadership, we have sacrificed the lives of our law enforcement agencies personnel and we have sacrificed our innocent citizens, including the children- enough is enough. It shows how much serious the federal government is to take action against terrorists”.

He told the cabinet that the reply of 46-page letter the Ministry of Interior has sent a three page reply and now “we have sent them reply of their letter and would see and definitely see what action they are going to take and this would ascertain their seriousness to eliminate terrorism from the country,” he said.

Published in The Frontier Post

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Making it deadly

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Naimat Khan

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KARACHI: Terrorists in Pakistan do not rely on industrial grade bombs. Instead, to target both law enforcers and ordinary civilians, they have relied on their own specialized cadres to make different kinds of bombs. On April 12, 2016, Karachi Police’s Counter Terror Department unearthed a facility used to make bombs in the Gadap town. In the raid one bomb maker named Muhammad Mujtaba aka Rehan was eliminated. One of his accomplices, named Abdul Saboor aka Hamad was killed, whereas anther, named Muhammad Murtaza, was arrested. Police also recovered 80 kg of explosive material, circuits, ball bearings, bottle bombs, tennis ball bombs, bomb manufacturing material, laptop, memory cards, and USBs.

Raja Umar Khattab, senior counter terrorism official who led the raid, told this scribe that the arrested Muhammad Murtaza aka Abu Huraira claims that the dead Rehan was the last expert bomb maker alive in the city. Rehan was the protege of Hashim aka Babu, a master bomb marker with 14 years of experience, especially car bombs. Babu was killed in a gunfight with the police in April 2015.

After Babu – who had put together the bomb manufacturing setup in Gadap town and supplied explosive devices to one Abdus Salam Sindhi of Liaquatabad – was killed, the Counter Terror Department’s assessment was that it had set back AQIS’s bomb making capability significantly. “After that shoot out, I thought that this was it. As I had extensively worked on hunting the bomb makers and dented all three groups – the brainwashers, the hit-men and bomb makers – of Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), I believed that no locally made lethal weapon will be used by terrorists, at least for next couple of years,” Khattab told The Frontier Post.

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But six months later, on October 17, 2016, the police were surprised when terrorists hurled hand grenades at an Imambargah in Liaquatabad killing one child and leaving several women hurt. Media reported it as cracker blast. “For a while I believed that my assessment after April had been wrong,” Khattab told and added “but when we arrested Ishaq Booby and Asim Capri, accused of Amjad Sabri’s murder, they disclosed that they had hit the Shia Majlis with grenade having ball bearing wrapped to it”.

“The terrorists had wrapped ball bearings with it for ensuring it results maximum fatalities.” It was clear to Khattab then that Taliban and AQIS were innovating around their constraints.

In March 2013, the BBC Urdu first reported terrorists – normally knowing for using Russian made hand grenades and smoke grenades – were using the tennis ball bomb. The tennis ball bomb was an invention of the Taliban, according to the Police, working like a small bomb or cracker but had a bigger sound impact. Taliban increased its lethality by adding ball bearings of 2mm and nails. Such tennis ball bombs were made at the factory in Gadap Town.

The loss of the bomb making facility at Gadap is likely to hurt the Taliban as it comes on the back of sustained counter terror efforts by the law enforcement agencies.

“We have always known the TTP uses local bomb making factories, but with the success of Zarb-e-Azb, we know that their capabilities have been decimated,” according to Khalid Muhammad, Director General – CommandEleve, adding, “We also know that they have ‘imported’ bomb makers from AQAP and IS Khorasan to give them a more logistic advantage in quick hit attacks with IEDs, much like the tennis ball or shoe bomb”.

Muhammad is of the view that the security agencies must shut down capabilities of terrorists comprehensively, which they are currently doing.

“Second, we must get ahead of their technology by understanding what technology these groups have used in other battle spaces like Iraq and Syria,” he concludes.

They are for maximum terrorism, whether inventing new or adding more lethality to the factory-made, the terrorists will continue their search for deadly weapons to use, said another analyst.

Published in The Frontier Post 

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Are Taliban staging a comeback in Karachi?

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By: Naimat Khan

KARACHI: On December 8 a journalist from Manghopir posted photos of graffiti declaring Taliban’s comeback in the ‘Sultanabad’ area of the city. The graffiti read “Khalid Mehsud Sajna Zindabad Taliban Zindabad” and “we’re watching, we’re watching all, Tehreek-e-Taliban Waziristan.”

As the photos began to do rounds on social media, law enforcers swiftly moved to remove the graffiti. But the appearance of the Taliban’s message remains the talk of the neighborhood. Until 2013 Sultanabad – with a sizable population of Mehsud tribesmen having moved in after the military operations in South Waziristan – was a no-go area, controlled by the Pakistan Taliban. They had an office in the area as well.

Karachi police views the graffiti as nothing more than a hollow threat. “I do not see it as an indicator of Taliban’s come back,” said Omar Shahid, SSP Investigation in Counter Terrorism Department of the Sindh Police. No wall-chalking was reported in Kanwari colony, which was also one of the Taliban’s strongholds in the city few years back. At the peak of Taliban’s influence, Shahid says, prominent local elders had left the city for Peshawar and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) due to Taliban’s threat. In the last few years, most of them have come back.

“The first indicator of Taliban recurrence in the town would be if they are threatened or killed,” Shahid argues. He thinks that this time around, the local population will offer more resistance than before. Recalling the recent meeting of Pathan elders with former DG Rangers, Major General Bilal Akber, the police officer says that the community feels it suffered because of the Taliban.  “Until and unless Taliban undertake a sustained campaign of terrorism, such graffiti has little significance,” he concluded.

Informed locals offer two explanations for the appearance of the graffiti. Some locals link it to the politics surrounding the removal of the former Manghopir SHO Ghulam Hussain Korai. Korai was removed after a police encounter of an Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) leader Maulana Yousuf Quddosi. On his removal, locals staged a protest, insisting that Korai had a major role in wiping out Taliban from the area. “It’s said that it’s linked to the race for seat of SHO Manghopir, a vicinity where two major centers of drug peddlers – one owned by a Baloch and another owned by a Pashtun from Shangla Swat – are situated, providing huge share to ‘all’,” a local said.

Others suggest that it’s not just about the graffiti but that they have seen Taliban move around in the area. “Pro-Taliban graffiti are not the only alarming thing for us. For the last few weeks six men riding three 125 motorbikes have been seen roaming around the streets of Sultanabad,” a local driver Mubeen Khan told this scribe. “Few years back, Taliban courts would summon people here in this office ,” the driver told while pointing towards a house in the foothill.

Law enforcers remain vigilant. When the Taliban made inroads in the area in 2012, the Manghopir police station was closed down. The police station is only a few hundred meters away from the Taliban’s former neighborhood. Right now, it remains open and functioning. Soldiers of the Rangers also patrol the main Hub dam road.

Still, locals remain wary and concerned. Last month the Taliban posted a two-minute video message in Pashto, showing Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah announcing the appointment of Haji Daud Mehud as the new chief for Taliban’s Karachi chapter. Haji Daud Mehsud was an official in the Sindh police before defecting to the Taliban. Fazlullah instructed all factions of the Taliban to follow the directives of Mehsud. Mehsud is a resident of Quaidabad.

Published in The Frontier Post 

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Cop who arrested Aafia Siddiqui tops LeJ hit-list

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KARACHI: The arrested militants of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) have revealed during interrogation that an official of the Sindh Police, they believed had arrested Dr Aafia Siddiqui, remained at top of their hit-list.

Siddiqui, a MIT trained Pakistani neuroscientist, was convicted on two counts of attempted murder of US nationals, officers, and employees, assault with a deadly weapon, carrying and using a firearm, and three counts of assault on US officers and employees.

She is serving her 86-year sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, USA. According to reports in local media, Aafia was arrested by Karachi Police in Gulshan-e-Iqbal area of the city and handed over to an American intelligence agency who took her to Afghanistan for showing her arrest there in order to make a case against her.

The LeJ members say the sectarian proscribed outfit  also believed that Aafia was arrested by a police officer, who later become spokesperson for the Sindh Police. The officer, they believed, handed her over Siddiqui to an American intelligence agency.

Earlier this week, Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah announced that Counter Terrorism Police of his province lead by in Charge CTD Raja Umar Khattab, have arrested two Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) terrorists involved in high profile cases, including that of Amjad Sabri Murder, killing of military policemen and firing on Majlis that had left five people dead last month.

The accused, CM Sindh said, were identified as Ishaq Bobbi and Asim Capri.

A day later the Sindh Government constituted a Joint Interrogation Team (JIT), that to be headed by SSP Intelligence Counter Terrorism Department, Omar Shahid Hamid, to interrogate the high profile cases of murder of Sufi Singer Amjad Sabri, attack on Shia Majlis, killing of Military Policemen and attacks on police personnel.

“On the recommendation of Inspector General of Police, Sindh Karachi a joint Interrogation Team is hereby constituted for the purpose of interrogation in respect of involvement in heinous high profile cases including incident of terrorism, murder of army, rangers and police personal in Karachi, resulting arrest of two personal namely Ishaq alias Boby and Asim alias Capri,” a notification issued by secretary home reads.

Sources said the militants have told interrogators that the they had been involved in  32 more cases including killing of people of Ahmadiyya community. The police will do a forensic test of the cases soon, an official told this scribe on the condition of anonymity.

The accused have further revealed that they believed a former spokesman of Sindh police of SSP rank was involved in the arrest and handing of Aafia Siddiqui to America.

“The officer has always been at top of the hit-list but couldn’t be attacked due to different reasons”. According to police, the officer has been advised to take extra measures for his security as threat still loom over his head.

It is pertinent to mention that last week the administrative judge of the anti terrorism courts in Karachi remanded Ishaq Boby and Asim Capri, both arrested a day earlier following a news conference by CM Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, into police custody for fourteen days here on Tuesday.

Both the accused were produced before the administration judge of ATCs, Naimatullah Phulphoto, which is situated in the remits of Sindh High Court (SHC) amid stern security arrangements.

The Investigation Officer submitted before the judge that the accused have been arrested in case under the charges of possessing explosive material and arms. He further told that the accused were wanted to police in the murder of Amjad Sabri, military policemen and other important case. The IO prayed that the accused should be given in 14-day police remand, which the ATC administrative judge granted.

Published in The Frontier Post 

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‘Death squads backed by Muslim neighbor operate in Karachi’

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KARACHI: As the Rangers’ led operation against political killers and terrorist outfits like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Al Qaeda has been successful, the law enforcers are facing hardship in dealing with at least one lawlessness factor due to religious resistance and sectarian leanings within police force, it has reliably been learnt.

A report by a sensitive agency, a copy of which is available with The Frontier Post, has cited “constant power struggle between various political, religious and sectarian segments of the society” as a core of Karachi problem. “The power struggle is essentially geared towards having control over the financial resources”.

“Land grabbing, china-cutting and control over water hydrants and lucrative contracts in industrial areas remains the core of such confrontations,” the report reads. According to intelligence agencies, the problem is compounded by corruption and collusion of Sindh police coupled with lacunas in criminal justice system which are effectively exploited by such mafias.

Read more:  Writing on the wall

As much has been done on this front, including effective operation against political killers, operation against TTP, Al Qaeda and IS-Inspired Jihadi network in the city’s suburbs, a problem is unresolved due to some factors, yet to be overcome, a source told this scribe. “The city is also the target of international intelligence agencies being a port city”.

According to report Karachi has been the recruitment base of Al-Qaeda traditionally. “The presence of vast number of Deobandi and Ahle-Hadith Madressahs provide a rich recruiting base for terrorist organizations”.

According to security sources, bringing Madressah registration laws is part of the efforts to overcome this issue. “But there is another issue, which is far from being addressed,” a law enforcement officer told on the condition of anonymity.

“The presence of large Shia majority in areas such as Abbas town, Jaffer-e-Tayyar Society Malir, Ancholi Rizvia, New Golimar, Shah Faisal provides an excellent operational area for Iranian intelligence to make inroads”, informs the report. Multiple Shia death squads operate in Karachi and due to significant presence of Shia officers in police and law enforcement agencies the operations against such death squads could hardly ever be successful, the report reads.

“Furthermore, being financially well off and being a well connected community any arrests of target killers in past met with immensely powerful street agitations,” according to the report, informing that the Shia death squads are cleverly operating under the garb of Shia NGOs such as Jaffria disaster cell (JDC), PYAM, OYAM and Baqiatullah.

According to the report, Majlis-e-Wihdat-ul Muslimeen (MWM), the new political face of Shia community in Pakistan – which has been contesting elections in Karachi – has also formed its own death squad.

“Target killing has been a rampant phenomenon in Karachi. MQM-A has been the prominent political party using target killing as its favored tool. Atleast 12 death squad teams operated in Karachi further assisted by sector target killer teams”.

According to report the intelligence based operations have seriously reduced MQMA’s death squads’ capabilities however there are other actors using the same tool with resilience. “MQMA started to face serious fissures within it due to its Shia members breaking away from MOMA towards MWM.

“Latest reports indicate that MWM has also created its own death squads”.

According to a report by  Samaa News channel , Police have revealed that a man recently arrested on the suspicion of target killing had been working as a translator for the neighboring country’s consul general.

The man, identified as Mehdi Moosvi, was arrested by police from Shadman Town area of Karachi.  “Officials claim the suspected hit-man, allegedly involved in sectarian killings and terrorism, has made shocking disclosures during the investigation”, news channel reported and added, “He [the accused] disclosed that he has worked as translator of a neighboring country’s consul general, and has also accompanied his country’s diplomat during meetings with former Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and other high officials”.

The accused has also worked in the cyber crime cell of FIA after he helped the agency’s deputy director Kamran Ata in recovering fake degrees. Prior his association Mehdi was officer in the Axact.  On May 21, 2016, this newspaper reported anti-IS graffiti in Shia neighborhoods of the city amid reports of several youths having joined the Assad’s battle against the Middle Eastern terrorist group, IS, in Syria.

“Thousands of Shia youths have left for Iraq and Syria from different parts of the country, including Karachi whereas anti-Islamic State (IS) sentiments are touching its highest edge in Shia neighborhoods of the seaside city,” a senior official told then on the condition of anonymity.  On other hands the experts told this scribe that the growing trend of anti-IS wall-walking in Shia vicinities indicated that the community had been exposed to recruitments by the groups who are sending youths to Syria and Iraq for anti-Daish fighting.

On May 2, 2016 Iran passed a law to grant citizenship to families of Pakistani ‘martyrs’ fighting in Syria and Iraq. It’s also pertinent to mention that an earlier report published in this newspaper informed that thousands of Pakistanis have left for Syria to fight alongwith Assad’s forces. In its letter on 13th August, 2014 National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) wrote to provincial governments that over 2000 Pakistani Shia students were studying in Madaris of Najaf, Iraq where they are “brainwashed and motivated against Sunni on sectarian line and Pakistani government for alleged killing of Shia in Pakistan.”

Tariq Habib, an Islamabad based journalist, told The Frontier Post in May 2016 that known faces of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, who are being placed in fourth schedule, had been advised by leadership to leave for Syria via Balochistan.

“The Shia youth recruited under the banner of ‘Al-Zainabun’ and Sunni youth fighting alongwith Diash are sent to Syria and Iraq for three and seven months, respectively. If proper strategy wasn’t adopted to counter them the sectarian violence will break all past records of Pakistan,” Habib told.

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Is Wadh becoming another Waziristan?

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Wadh Balochistan 

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Considering it a huge threat to the security of upper Sindh, a law enforcement agency has urged upon the Sindh government to convince center and Balochistan for a massive crackdown against a ‘mix of different terrorist groups’ hiding in Wadh and Jhal Magsi areas of Balochistan, The Frontier Post has reliable learnt.

According to credible sources, Additional Inspector General of Police, Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), Sanaullah Abbasi, has written a letter to the provincial government of Sindh and other relevant quarters, in which they have been warned of more terrorist acts in upper Sindh from Balochistan areas of Wadh and Jhal Magsi in absence of decisive action them.

According to sources, the CTD after intelligence gathering has identified that a mix of separatist and religious terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, Sipaha-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and BLA, based in Wadh area of Balochistan is posing a great security threat to the upper districts of Sindh, which itself are very much vulnerable due to mushroom growth of madarasah of the same school of thoughts.

“In small villages, even those with around six houses, a madarasah has been established with ten to fifteen students studying therein,” an official told this scribe, adding that there was no record with local police regarding the number, identity of teachers and nature of curriculum being taught in these madarasah.

Even these religious seminaries, mostly established by persons having returned from Afghanistan’s trip for military training, are not registered with the Wifaq Ul Madaris Al Arabia Pakistan – the relevant Deobandi madarasah board, which keeps a check on the curriculum of registered seminaries, the official added.

The law enforcement agency has not only suggested a massive operation in Wadh and Jhal Magsi but also made it clear that without hitting Shafiq Mengal and Amanullah Zehri, who are gathering different groups at one place, no success can be achieved against the killers and terrorists.

“These groups after mixing uses expertise of each others,” an intelligence officer told, adding that hitting Mengal and Zehri to mandatory for peace.

Sources say that one wanted terrorist in Safoora Bus shooting case is also hiding in Wadh area of the Balochistan province. “Abdul Qadir aka Anwar aka Haji Baloch, a prime suspect in Safoora case, is nephew of Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, an accused of World Trade Center bombing on 9/11 and brother of Yousuf Ramzi,” a source told, adding that the Indian agent Kulbhushan Yadav has also admitted to have made contacts with Haji Baloch.

It’s pertinent to mention that at least 8 people, including two cops, were injured after police foiled two separate suicide blasts during Eid prayers in Shikarpur’s Khanpur Tehsil last month. One of the cops, namely Shafiq later succumbed to his wounds during treatment in hospital.

According to reports four suicide attackers infiltrated Khanpur during Eid prayers. One of them, namely Usman, was arrested; who revealed before the interrogators that he was a resident of Swat’s Qabal tehsil and had studied in Karachi’s Abu Huraira seminary.

Usman told that he had come from ‘Wadh’ area of the Balochistan.

Published in The Frontier Post

 

Defying the Taliban with love

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Naimat Khan  TFT Issue: 06 Jan 2017

 

A few hundred metres from where the Taliban maintained their courts, communal harmony prevails. Naimat Khan reports from Manghopir.

 

By the end of 2013, Manghopir was the incontrovertible Ground Zero of the Taliban in Karachi. Its major neighbourhood, Sultanabad, built on qabza land (i.e. under the occupation of the land mafia), was home to both the leadership and the rank-and-file of the Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud faction of the Taliban. In the foot of the mountainous ridge forming the border between Sultanabad and Ittehad town, the Taliban had a multipurpose office, built along the lines of their office in Miramshah bazaar in North Waziristan Agency. There, the ‘Ameer sahib’ would summon people to the Taliban’s ‘Shariah’ court. Southward in Sultanabad is the ANP Chowk, and also known as Madina Bakery. In the Taliban era, the Chowk was a symbol of terror in the vicinity. Bodies of around 87 people, including 17 policemen and 10 local Awami National Party (ANP) leaders and activists, were recovered from there. As the Taliban’s hold grew, locals say, the Manghopir Police Station, by the Manghopir River, was also closed down. From Sultanabad and nearby areas, violence and crime in the city was directed: ranging from bank heists to bomb blasts; and from targeted killings to attacks on political workers and minority sects.

But all was not bleak in this Taliban-infested part of Karachi. Less than a mile away from the center of violence, a tightly knit community with a sizeable proportion of four different religious and sectarian affiliations lived in a small colony, resilient in the face of waves of violence and political turbulence in the area. The colony is situated in the city government leprosy hospital and extended to Yaqoob Shah Basti. In the center of the colony are four places of worship of different religious affiliations: a mosque, a temple, a church, and an imambargah, all of which face each other.

Unlike the rest of the city where ethnic and religious identities reign supreme, the residents of this colony play down their differences. Many do not like to being identified by their religion, sect, ethnicity or language. Others speak of their respect for the others’ faith and ethnicity as their strength. That respect, they say, has helped them survive the turbulence common to Manghopir and Karachi.

Residents believe respect for others’ faith and ethnicity has helped them survive the turbulence common to Manghopir and Karachi

“I was admitted to the Leprosy hospital in late 60s. At that time almost all doctors were British. They treated us with immense compassion and would advise us to live in peace and love. I think their frequent emphasis on peaceful coexistence resonated with the community,” said 85-year-old Sohna Faqir hailing from Lasbela, Balochistan. Faqir recovered to full health at the hospital and yet did not leave the area. He was drawn to the care and camaraderie in the community and decided to settle here.

In the 1890s, a group of British doctors, visiting the area, came across patients of leprosy at the Mangophir Mazar bathing in the hot sulphur springs – also called ‘Mangi’ or Garm-aab. Back then it was famous that the springs had healing powers. When the visiting doctors saw the patients in pain, they were moved to do something. “They [the British] went back, collected funds and came back to setup the hospital in 1896,” according to Faqir.

“The Mandir existed before the hospital was established in 1896 but later during the British rule a Masjid and a church was setup for the patients, their attendees and other dwellers of the town,” said the 85 year old. As the population increased, Faqir said, an Imambargah – called the Imambargah Ali Raza – was built.

“Until 1986, the Sunni and Shia Muslims would offer prayers at the KMC Jamia Masjid. Later Imambargah Ali Raza was established,” said Noor Islam, a local journalist and resident of the same neighborhood, and added, “Despite separate places for offering their prayers, there has never been sectarian discord in the colony.”

For many years, Manghopir, a town founded by the 13th century saint Pir Haji Syed Sakhi Sultan, was home to Muhajirs, Sindhis, Punjabis, Kashmiris, Seraikis, Pakhtuns, Balochis, Memons, Bohras, and Ismailis. In 2008, thousands of displaced civilians from Waziristan started moving into the area. Following the Operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan, the demography of the area changed rapidly.

“After the operation, the Taliban militants came here in droves, started taking shelter in the neighbourhood, and by 2012-13 they achieved a complete hold over the locality, making it no-go area for political workers and law enforcement agencies,” said Islam.

“We have been living here for so many decades together. We are one people practicing different faiths, which made us strong when Taliban would freely roam around on the main road,” said Babu Lal, caretaker of the of the centuries’ old Mardeshwar Mahadev Mandir, the oldest of the four worship places in the locality. Facing the hospital, a few steps to the east, is the Imambargah and few steps to the west are the Church and the mosque.

According to Lal, the community regularly observes ritual of shab-e-barat, Diwali, and Holi, in which Muslims and Christians also participate. “From 2012 to 2014, we – as a precaution – would celebrate the events inside our houses. After the Karachi operation in 2015, we resumed our celebrations out in the open.” Even when we moved indoors, our Muslim brothers continued to be a part of our celebrations, Lal added. “Our Muslim friends make it a point to wish us on Christmas and Easter,” said William Gill, 45-year-old councilor of the Pakistan Peoples Party, and added, “Muslims join us at the Baptist Church in our prayers on Christmas.”

Asfandyar Mir, doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago, researching politically motivated violence and the dynamics of Taliban control in Karachi, recently visited the community. Commenting on the uniqueness of the ethnic and religious tolerance in the area, he added: “from a social science perspective, the fact that such islands of harmony exist amidst extreme turmoil is always remarkable. Most analyses on Karachi’s communal relationships start with the observation that in times of violence identities are hardened, and even apolitical religious and ethnic groups are compelled to seek security with their co-ethnics or religious groups. But this diverse community contradicts that trend, having withstood pressures in a very challenging part of the city.”

Affluent Afghans get Pakistani IDs as poor Pashtuns suffer

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KARACHI: For the right price, any Afghan can obtain Pakistani nationality. In fact, hundreds of affluent Afghans have managed to obtain Pakistani IDs in exchange for handsome sums paid to National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) officials, The Frontier Post has learnt.

While poor Afghan refugees and ethnic Pakistani Pashtuns take the hit in the wake of lapses by Nadra in granting CNICs – as was the case with the late Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s citizenship – those with enough money can easily obtain CNICs by greasing the right palms.

In 2012, Afghan business tycoon Abdul Rehman Alokozay’s family obtained over 150 computerized national identity cards (CNICs) against a payment of Rs20 million to NADRA officials close to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

“It’s not the only well-off Afghan family enjoying nationality of its neighboring country, however, a big one, which is trading inside this country with Pakistani identity,” a source said. Alokozay Group of Companies (AGC), an Afghani conglomerate with its headquarters in Dubai, has presence in over 40 countries with distribution network in Middle East, Central Asia, Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.

“From the highly successful Alokozay Tea to the flourishing Alokozay Cooking Oils, Tissues, Evaporated Milk, Coffee, Biscuits, 3in1 Tea & Coffee, Sugar, Detergent Powder, Wet Wipes, Baby Diapers, Pasta, Corn Flakes, Engine Oil, Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel, Hand wash, Bar Soap, Toothpaste, Body lotion, Mouthwash and many more premium products, Alokozay continues to expand its horizon”, the website of company reads.

The group’s ABCo in Kabul, Afghanistan is the bottling and distribution plant of the entire range of carbonated Soft drinks, Energy drink, Juices & Water.

“PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, today signed an Exclusive Bottling Appointment (EBA) with the Alokozay Group of Companies to manufacture and distribute a broad range of PepsiCo beverages in Afghanistan. The beverages will be produced at ABCO (Alokozay Beverages Company), Alokozay’s beverage bottling plant, which will be set up in Kabul with an initial investment of US$ 60 million,” the PepsiCo’s official website announced on April 20, 2011.

Chairman of the group is Abdul Rehman Alokozay, whereas Jalil Alokozay is its Chief Executive Officer and managing director, who is also CEO of the Alokozay International Ltd based in Mississauga, Ontario L5C 2T1, Canada.

The amount, Nadra official, said, was paid by Abdul Waris Alokozay, Lahore based son of the Afghan business tycoon. Unlike his father Abdul Rehman Alokozay and brother Jalil Alokozay, Waris doesn’t carry the family name as he is Chief Executive Officer of Alokozay International (Pvt.) Limited, situated at Suite No 305, 3rd Floor, Eden Tower, Main Boulevard Gulberg III, Lahore Pakistan.

Besides, company in Lahore, the family has several restaurants on the motorways across, Pakistan. Korean made cigarettes Kent, which are sold in abundance in Pakistan, are also smuggled into Pakistan by this same family whereas FBR has been unable to find who to serve the notice with, a source in the Federal Board of Revenue told.

According to Nadra official, the family had shown themselves permanent residents of Mohmand Agency while obtaining Pakistani CNICs. However, the tribe Alokozay has never lived on Pakistani side of the Durand line Border.

The Alokozay, a sub-tribe of the Abdali Pashtuns of Afghanistan, are found primarily in Helmand, Kandahar, Kabul, Laghman, Kunar Sarkani District and Herat provinces in Afghanistan, and form the majority of the population in the Sangin District. “Jaldak, which is located 110 km northeast of Kandahar, is the original domicile of the Alokozay tribe,” according to “The hidden Treasure” (Pata Khazana), a biography of Pashtoon poets Mohammad Hothek.

Few years back, Abdul Rehman Alokozay was kidnapped in Pakistan. “The family secured his release by paying 25 million to the kidnappers” a source close to the family reveals.

A news published in this newspaper in 2012 had reported the issuance of Fake IDs after which the issue was taken up by Standing committee of the National Assembly but it never came to conclusion due to influence of the family in Pakistan’s political circles.

“Such examples of wealthy Afghans are in abundance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. These Afghans are not only rich in term of wealth but they are also very well connected with both the Afghan government and the Taliban,” a source said.

The reason why these Pakistan based rich Afghans keep good relations with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan is because Taliban protect their crops back in Afghanistan – in most cases that of opium – and they help them with protecting their business interests in Pakistan as well, a Pashtun nationalist leader from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa says.

“As they buy Pakistani identity with their wealth, the Pashtuns of Pakistan are humiliated in Punjab and Sindh to get their CNICs,” he adds.

Published in The Frontier Post on Jun 1, 2016

KARACHI: For the right price, any Afghan can obtain Pakistani nationality. In fact, hundreds of affluent Afghans have managed to obtain Pakistani IDs in exchange for handsome sums paid to National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) officials, The Frontier Post has learnt.

While poor Afghan refugees and ethnic Pakistani Pashtuns take the hit in the wake of lapses by Nadra in granting CNICs – as was the case with the late Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s citizenship – those with enough money can easily obtain CNICs by greasing the right palms.

In 2012, Afghan business tycoon Abdul Rehman Alokozay’s family obtained over 150 computerized national identity cards (CNICs) against a payment of Rs20 million to NADRA officials close to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

“It’s not the only well-off Afghan family enjoying nationality of its neighboring country, however, a big one, which is trading inside this country with Pakistani identity,” a source said. Alokozay Group of Companies (AGC), an Afghani conglomerate with its headquarters in Dubai, has presence in over 40 countries with distribution network in Middle East, Central Asia, Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.

“From the highly successful Alokozay Tea to the flourishing Alokozay Cooking Oils, Tissues, Evaporated Milk, Coffee, Biscuits, 3in1 Tea & Coffee, Sugar, Detergent Powder, Wet Wipes, Baby Diapers, Pasta, Corn Flakes, Engine Oil, Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel, Hand wash, Bar Soap, Toothpaste, Body lotion, Mouthwash and many more premium products, Alokozay continues to expand its horizon”, the website of company reads.

The group’s ABCo in Kabul, Afghanistan is the bottling and distribution plant of the entire range of carbonated Soft drinks, Energy drink, Juices & Water.

“PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, today signed an Exclusive Bottling Appointment (EBA) with the Alokozay Group of Companies to manufacture and distribute a broad range of PepsiCo beverages in Afghanistan. The beverages will be produced at ABCO (Alokozay Beverages Company), Alokozay’s beverage bottling plant, which will be set up in Kabul with an initial investment of US$ 60 million,” the PepsiCo’s official website announced on April 20, 2011.

Chairman of the group is Abdul Rehman Alokozay, whereas Jalil Alokozay is its Chief Executive Officer and managing director, who is also CEO of the Alokozay International Ltd based in Mississauga, Ontario L5C 2T1, Canada.

The amount, Nadra official, said, was paid by Abdul Waris Alokozay, Lahore based son of the Afghan business tycoon. Unlike his father Abdul Rehman Alokozay and brother Jalil Alokozay, Waris doesn’t carry the family name as he is Chief Executive Officer of Alokozay International (Pvt.) Limited, situated at Suite No 305, 3rd Floor, Eden Tower, Main Boulevard Gulberg III, Lahore Pakistan.

Besides, company in Lahore, the family has several restaurants on the motorways across, Pakistan. Korean made cigarettes Kent, which are sold in abundance in Pakistan, are also smuggled into Pakistan by this same family whereas FBR has been unable to find who to serve the notice with, a source in the Federal Board of Revenue told.

According to Nadra official, the family had shown themselves permanent residents of Mohmand Agency while obtaining Pakistani CNICs. However, the tribe Alokozay has never lived on Pakistani side of the Durand line Border.

The Alokozay, a sub-tribe of the Abdali Pashtuns of Afghanistan, are found primarily in Helmand, Kandahar, Kabul, Laghman, Kunar Sarkani District and Herat provinces in Afghanistan, and form the majority of the population in the Sangin District. “Jaldak, which is located 110 km northeast of Kandahar, is the original domicile of the Alokozay tribe,” according to “The hidden Treasure” (Pata Khazana), a biography of Pashtoon poets Mohammad Hothek.

Few years back, Abdul Rehman Alokozay was kidnapped in Pakistan. “The family secured his release by paying 25 million to the kidnappers” a source close to the family reveals.

A news published in this newspaper in 2012 had reported the issuance of Fake IDs after which the issue was taken up by Standing committee of the National Assembly but it never came to conclusion due to influence of the family in Pakistan’s political circles.

“Such examples of wealthy Afghans are in abundance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. These Afghans are not only rich in term of wealth but they are also very well connected with both the Afghan government and the Taliban,” a source said.

The reason why these Pakistan based rich Afghans keep good relations with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan is because Taliban protect their crops back in Afghanistan – in most cases that of opium – and they help them with protecting their business interests in Pakistan as well, a Pashtun nationalist leader from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa says.

“As they buy Pakistani identity with their wealth, the Pashtuns of Pakistan are humiliated in Punjab and Sindh to get their CNICs,” he adds.

Published in The Frontier Post on June 1, 2016