Terrorists plan to attack American Consulat in Karachi


Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The intelligence agencies have warned provincial government of terrorist attack on Karachi’s American Consulate and other sensitive installations in the coastal Pakistani metropolis in the near future, The Frontier Post has reliably learnt.

The federal interior ministry’s national crisis management cell, in a letter sent to Sindh home department, Sindh police chief and Director General Pakistan Rangers Sindh on last Wednesday, has informed that terrorists are planning to target various installations, institutions and infrastructure in Sindh province in near future, sources said.

“Likely target include Hub Dam, Jinnah International Airport, Hamdard University, Pakistan Air force Korangi Creek, Malir Cantonment, Steel Mills, Rangers headquarters, Sindh Assembly, Space Upper Atmosphere Research Corporation, and University of Karachi” the provincial government and law enforcers have been informed.

The terrorists have also planned to attack Pakistan Air force Korangi Creek, Malir Cantonment and the United States’ Karachi Consulate, warns the letter a copy of which is available to The Frontier Post.

Sources in the provincial homes office told this scribe that following the interior ministry’s directives regarding extreme vigilance and heightened security, the security of these installations have been boasted in order to avoid any untoward incident. The threat alert has not mentioned as which group of the terrorists had planned to hit sensitive installations of the country.

Several terrorist outfits, including Al Qaeda, its Indian Sub-continent branch, Jundullah, factions of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) are active in the city that have been claiming different acts of violence in the city.

Though security analysts believe that some of the major attacks are carried in collaboration between various groups at least three major attacks – the Karachi airport attack, assault on Mehran naval base and attack at the Karachi’s Navy Dockyard – all later turned out to be the handiwork of Al Qaeda.

Recently, hand of Al Qaeda was seen behind several small attacks on the Rangers, police and people of Bohra Community as well.

At-least five militants were killed in Rangers’ encounter in Tapu area of the costal Keamari town on 8th of this month. Major Sabtain – spokesman for the Sindh Rangers – told this scribe that one was commander of the Ilyas Kashmiri group of Al Qaeda.

Couple of days later the Counter Terrorism Department (CT) of Sindh police claimed that have eliminated five militants of Al Qaeda Indian Sub Continent (AQIS) in Orangi town.

According to DIG CTD Arif Hanif the CTD headed by SSP Raja Umar Khattab had also unearth an explosive manufacturing factory. Several other evidences were also found from the spot.

Originally Published in The Frontier Post

PTI requests ST for Votes : Parties straying from principle stands, analysts say


KARACHI: Having resisted the inclusion of several groups and leaders on account of their militant credentials Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s quest to win the NA-246-Azizabad by-poll compelled it to seek electoral support of a group which had been placed under ‘watch list’ for its activities, The Frontier Post has reliably learnt.

On Monday the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) contender for NA-246 by-poll – Imran Ismail – visited Sunni Tehreek (ST) leaders in order to get the support of ST, which the later happily announced.

Sunni Tehreek – dominantly a religious group of Urdu speaking people – came into existence due to operation against MQM in 90s and since then is continuously alleged of violence, target killing and extortion.

ST is the only organization, which was placed by interior minister, government of Pakistan under watch list for terrorist activities.

A report by Sindh Government, a copy of which is available to The Frontier Post, shows that Sunni Tehreek was placed under observation through Notification number 7/26/2001 poll-1 (3) issued on January 17, 2007 by the interior ministry. Since then the group is constantly under the watch of law enforcers and intelligence agencies, another report by the provincial police force reveals.

The mentioned report also includes the list of 59 banned organizations and three others, including Jamaat-Ud-Dawa (JuD), which is enlisted under UNSCR-1267. Moreover, recently a report sent to police by intelligence agencies has listed 48 extortionists, in which 19 belongs to Sunni Tehreek, earning it the top slot in list of extortionist groups and political parties.

Various other reports, including that of Rangers’, which was submitted in apex court during Karachi law and order implementation case, have also claimed that the organization was involved in the acts of target killing and extortion.

To political observers it is usual for political parties to seek electoral support of other parties; however, what astonishes them is the track record of PTI which had always shown zero tolerance to such elements.

“Not only PTI had been raising voice against such groups but also it has always resisted including those aspirating to Join PTI due to their militant past or any link with militancy or target killing”, a reporter covering the PTI’s activities said.

“This shouldn’t have happened as it’s against the PTI’s principle stand” said Mazhar Abbas, a senior political analyst, adding all political parties are somewhat compromising over the principles for winning elections.

Political observers cite the example of Habib Jan Baloch – a London based leader of the ‘Friends of Lyari’, the international face of defunct Peoples’ Amn Committee. When he was going to join PTI along friends from the restive Lyari neighborhood PTI’s leadership barred him at the eleventh hours, said a local leader of PTI while demanding anonymity.

Jan was all set to announce his joining along several other leaders of PAC in the PTI grand political rally on September 21, 2014 but the day passed without any such development. While talking to The Frontier Post a day earlier of the Jalsa, Jan had not only confirmed that he was going to join PTI, he also claimed that the Karachi sit-ins of PTI had huge participations by people of Lyari.

However, to analysts, the PTI is not the only group which adopts means contrary to its principle stand in order to ensure election victory. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Monday grabbed the support of ten Shia sectarian organizations to ensure that its candidate Kanwar Naveed turns victorious.

A day earlier PTI had secured the support of major Shia group, Majlis-e-Wihdatul Muslimeen. Though JI has not directly requested for a sizeable vote bank of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) in the constituency it also hope to get their vote due to the Shia support for other two major contenders.

When asked as what made him to seek the support of a group alleged of target killing and extortion, Imran Ismail told this scribe “I had gone there to seek the electoral support of ‘Sunni Muslims’ and not any militant support of Sunni Tehreek”.

Originally Published in The Frontier Post

Taliban reemerge in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan

“With Mehsud militants on the run, residents see the rise of new factions of TTP”


By: Naimat Khan

Amid a countrywide campaign against terrorist groups, at least four factions of Taliban militants are strengthening their influence in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, killing Mehsud elders and threatening traders for extortion, locals say.

“The groups, otherwise split and apparently having different agendas, demonstrate remarkable coordination when it comes to dealing with local traders, businessmen or big farmers to raise funds,” said a local elder who fled the area after he became a victim of their extortion. He was a farmer in the Draband Chongi area of Ladah tehsil.

They had demanded Rs 20 million from him for ‘Zakat’, but he declined. Then, “over two dozen militants stormed my house at dawn one day and forced us to pay Rs 8 million”, he said. His men put up a fight and killed one of the militants belonging to the Hakimullah faction of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The group is led by ‘Ehsanullah Warghoom Kay’ and Sherpao Mehsud.

On Tuesday, unidentified men killed the head of the local peace committee in Tank, also named Sherpao Mehsud. According to the police, two other volunteers of the anti-TTP peace committee were hurt in the gun attack in Kot Said Badshah area of Gomal.

“The militants have killed over 70 percent of Mehsud elders,” a local elder said.

A social activist running an NGO in Dera Ismail Khan was abducted from the Raghzae area of Kotkaye Speenkai locality in South Waziristan. He was freed after he paid Rs 30 million to militants of the Abdullah Mehsud group – a faction that also provides operational services to the Molvi Nazir group, which does not have access to Dera Ismail Khan.

“The militants have killed over 70 percent of Mehsud elders”

“Everyone who they believe supports the Khan Said aka Sajna group faces the wrath of the Hakimullah Mehsud faction. They did not even spare Maulana Merajuddin, a former JUI-F lawmaker from South Waziristan, for his alleged support to the Sajna group,” said the local elder.

They do not have direct influence in the area, he said, but acquired the services of the Turkestan Bhittani group to scan the internally displaced persons (IDP) from North Waziristan for pro-Sajna elders, a local resident said.

Locals say the Turkestan Bhittani faction is very strong in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank, despite its leader’s surrender to the security forces. Its fighters can be seen traveling in their double-cabin vehicles, said a local, and they also have influence in the Frontier Region Tank and Frontier Region Jandullah.

“No Jirgas of the Mehsud and Bhittani tribes can be held in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan before the prior approval of the Abdullah Mehsud and Bhittani groups,” he said. “The group killed Noor Wali, a Qazi of Sajna group in Waziristan, after he held a Jirga without their permission.”

The Luni tehsil of Dera Ismail Khan is in control of the Malang Gandapur group, locals say, which consists of militants from the prominent Mian Khel and Gandapur tribes of the area. The group emerged in 2014, and is in contact with the Fazlullah group of Tehreek-e-Taliban.

Saifur Rehman, a police stationhouse officer in Luni, killed Salim Shah, a commander of the group, in an encounter on December 14 last year. An officer said the police soon received a threat: “If you kill one of us, we will kill two of you.”

Two days after the message, militants of the Malang Gandapur group, led by Commander Amin Jan, attacked the house of the SHO, killing his brother Fakhar Usman and another man, and wounding one other.

Then, the police arrested three commanders of the Malang group – Abu Bakar, Umar Altaf and Abdur Rehman – from the forests of Luni after fierce fighting. The militants responded with an attack on a superintendent of police, which he survived. On 14th January, they attacked the house of ASI Qaiser Jehan, killing two of his brothers and a passerby. On January 15, four cops, including a sub-inspector, were injured in an attack on a police van in Dera Mastan area of the Dera Ismail Khan.

Besides terrorist attacks, abduction for ransom, and extortion, these groups also provide operational services to anti-Shia groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a police source said. They also let other outfits keep abducted men in the area.

A handbill distributed in the area distances itself from some of the militants. “Some elements posing as TTP and threatening the people living in Tank and Gomal areas are not associated with the movement,” it said, “and local residents should complain on the given telephone numbers,”

“Militancy in DI Khan is not a new phenomenon; the Taliban have left strong footprint in the area in the recent times,” said a resident of the Luni tehsil who has recently moved to Islamabad. Over 240 militants were set free by the terrorists in the DI Khan jailbreak on July 30, 2013.

“Taliban have developed different identities over time,” said a journalist from the troubled district. “As the security forces have broken the backbone of Mehsud militants, Gandapur, Mian Khel, Marwat, Saraiki and Baloch militants are emerging DI Khan.”

Originally Published in The Friday Times

Sindh spots 44 seminaries linked with TTP, Jundullah for action


By Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to take action against 44 religious seminaries for having link with proscribed organizations, it emerged on Saturday.

Highly creditable sources told that the seminaries spotted for action have also been arranging trainings to the militants.

These revelations were made in a report submitted by Secretary Home Mukhtar Hussain Soomro before the apex committee meeting held in Chief Minister House on Friday, sources said.

The seminaries also include Gulshan-e-Umar Sohrab Goth, which has association with terrorist outfit Jundullah whereas Markaz-e-Uloom-e-Islamia situated in the former Taliban bastion – Manhgopir – has links with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Also read: PRIME CAUSE OF SECTARIAN VIOLENCE: Mosques, Imambargahs in Karachi built on encroached land

According to details, out of the seminaries spotted for action 22 are situated in Karachi division alone. Hyderabad has the second highest number of twelve whereas Sukkar has six and Larkana four seminaries which are found involved in harboring and training terrorists.

A data complied police of all districts of Sindh there are 4021 Madrassahs across the southern Pakistan province, out of which 1423 are unregistered.

According to official record a huge number of 387664 local and 663 foreigner students are enrolled in these seminaries where the state and its institutions have zero monitoring.

The data further reveals that 3755 of these Madrassahs belong to Deobandi school of thought whereas 2047 are associated with Barelvi sect. As much as 86 seminaries have affiliation with Shia board and 61 are affiliated with Al Sulfia, Ahle Hadees school of thought.

A Short version of this story was published in The Frontier Post

The Al Qaeda footprint

The global terrorist group is reemerging in Karachi with small hit-and-run attacks


By Naimat Khan

When the Sindh Rangers were planning a law-enforcement raid on the MQM office in Karachi earlier this month, three policemen were killed and two wounded in two brazen attacks less than five kilometers from their headquarters.

A head constable was killed and a constable injured in a shooting at Pakistan Chowk, and minutes later, an assistant subinspector and a head constable were shot dead and a constable wounded near Rimpa Plaza on MA Jinnah Road.

Two people belonging to the Bohra community were killed and at least 12 others were hurt by a motorcycle bomb that went off when they were coming out of Saleh Mosque at the same Pakistan Chowk on March 20, about ten days later.

The same evening, a suicide attacker targeted a Rangers patrol van near Qalandria Chowk, killing two soldiers and injuring another.

“The material and the pattern of these attacks indicate a likely Al Qaeda involvement,” said a senior superintendent (SSP) at the Sindh police’s Counter-Terrorism Department, Raja Umar Khattab.

Al Qaeda is being run by “a group of over a dozen operatives from universities across Karachi”

“The forensic reports of these incidents confirm that a single group, Al Qaeda, was behind these hit-and-run attacks,” a senior investigator said. The bullet shells found at the crime scenes connect the attacks to previous Al Qaeda attacks in which similar ammunition was used.

On March 4, two people died and four were wounded when armed men attacked a shop run by a trader belonging to the Bohra community in the Bahadurabad locality. A note found at the site said the international terrorist group was waging a war against the armed forces and would continue to attack media and members of pro-army sects.

Karim Hashmi, who belonged to Dawoodi Bohra Community and was a manager at a local factory, was killed near Hyderi Market in the North Nazimabad neighborhood on 18th February. Two days later, police arrested a suspect, who they say turned out to be a member of Al Qaeda. Other suspects, said the police, admitted to having killed more than nine people including police officials in various parts of Karachi.

“Since they can’t carry out any major attacks such as that on the Navy dockyard last year, they leave their footprint in smaller attacks every once in a while,” a police official said. The group has had operational assistance from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jundullah, but now its own young recruits from the across the city are also carrying out terrorists attacks, he said.

According to Umar Khattab, Al Qaeda is being run in Karachi by “a group of over a dozen operatives from universities across the city”, that attacks police and lately the people of the Bohra community every now and then. “They live in affluent neighborhoods of the city and are hard to monitor.” He said the group was aiming to recruit new operatives from the student of wing of a religious political party, which he did not name.

Zia Ur Rehman, a Karachi-based journalist who covers militancy, believes that Al Qaeda and Taliban recruitment from Karachi is an underreported phenomenon. “While the recruit pool in the tribal areas is largely uneducated, Karachi offers a very different dynamic,” he says. “It is recognized for its academic institutions as well as religious seminaries.” The defection of members of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba should be seen as individual acts of dissent, he says, and party officials have dissociated themselves from their former members who joined militant groups.

“People from Jamaat-e-Islami have joined the PPP and the PML-N too,” says Abdul Razaq, the emir of JI in the troubled West district. “They can go anywhere. Once they stop following JI’s policy of a democratic struggle, they have no relation with the party. Like many other pro and anti Jihad activists, even Husain Haqqani was once a member of the IJT.”

Police officials say many new Al Qaeda recruits come from affluent backgrounds. “Who would have thought a high profile militant will be raised in the home of a top cop,” said one officer, referring to Awais Jakhrani, son of additional inspector general Ali Sher Jakharni, who was involved in the navy dockyard attack.

“The challenge in dealing with groups like Al Qaeda is their asymmetrical approach to war,” says Hasan Abdullah, a security analyst who has worked extensively on Pakistani militant groups. “Their sleeper cells and the silent process of indoctrination of highly skilled professionals poses a grave threat. On top of that, most states have failed to come up with a counter-narrative to deal with such groups.”

Raja Umar Khattab says we need a three-pronged strategy to deal with Al Qaeda in Karachi. “First, we will have to reverse what has happened over the last three decades,” he says. “That will require at least half of the time that was spent on propagating the ideology.” An active counter-terrorism policy and the rehabilitation of those who decide to lay down arms should also happen simultaneously, he adds.

Originally Published in The Friday Times

Sudden hike to Iranian’s arrival in Karachi worries agencies 


Naimat Khan

KARACHI: A sudden hike to the Iranian’s entry into the port city of Karachi has been witnessed during the last couple of weeks, especially after the start of Yemen-Saudi conflict,

The Frontier Post has reliability learnt. Iranian nationals coming to the seaside metropolis have been found in suspicious activities, the intelligence agencies reveal in a letter sent to the Sindh government.

The Pakistani spy agencies have warned the provincial government of Pakistan People’s Party of sudden raise to the entry of Iranian nationals, an officer of the Sindh department told while demanding complete anonymity. A letter received by the Sindh Home department has advised the authorities to have a strict eye over the residences and hotels where Iranian nationals are staying.

The spy agencies have also observed that upto 700 Iranian nationals are visiting Pakistan on business visas but they don’t return on their schedule time. In mid of February this year a letter to the Sindh Home department had disclose the failure of police authorities to keep the record of foreigners’ arrival in Karachi.

According to report published in this newspaper, majority of the foreigners, including Afghan, Burmi and Iranian nationals, go untraced after their arrival into Karachi.

According to sources the Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) provincial government had been taking necessary steps at the entry points of Sindh, but the airport, being a potential entry point for the terrorists and their financers, has totally being ignored from where not only Afghanis but nationals of other countries also entre into the restive metropolis.

“Once they are entered into the troubled Pakistani port city no one knows as where they went and what are they doing” told a senior police officer while demanding complete anonymity.

Even there is no clue whether they remain in the city’s boundaries or move illegally to Balochistan and cities of other provinces due to lack of monitoring and proper report systems, sources said.

According to details, the majority of foreign nationals who are visiting Karachi don’t report for their arrival in Foreigners Registration Section (FRS) of Special Branch in Karachi, which keeps an eye over their movement. Intelligence sources said at the time of arrival at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, they mention name of hotel of stay at FIA/Investigations Counter, but they don’t arrive at hotels and manage their stay at various places of the city.

“Some of them who stay at hotels upon their checkout don’t leave for airport but manage their extended stay in various parts of the city” sources inform.

Originally published here

Notorious TTP commander Khan Zaman back in Karachi

Khan Zaman

By: Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Khan Zaman aka Gongay, Karachi chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Khan Said Sajna group has arrived in the restive metropolis amid a rigorous pursuit of the militants by law enforcers, it was reliably learnt here on Friday.

The TTP commander had left Karachi after Taliban infighting in the city some while ago. “But now as the city’s militants are fighting a war of their survival amid a successful surgical operation by the law enforcers, especially Rangers, he came back to the city in order to buck up his militants” an intelligence source said.

The TTP commander had been unable to effectively operate his faction from remote, which forced him to turn back to his battle ground, source added.
Intelligence sources had informed this scribe in late January this year of a ‘planning’ being done by Khan Zaman to carry out a guerilla attack on the pattern of ‘Peshawar massacre’ in Karachi.

The TTP commander, instead of using foreign nationals and Pashtun ethnic militants, had dispatched three Baloch and four Punjabis to the city in order to carry out another lethal attack.

“But due to heightened security measures and coordinated efforts of the intelligence and security agencies the terrorists were unsuccessful in their evil designs” security sources opine, who see the arrival of Khan Zaman aka Gongay to the city very important from security point of view.
At least four factions of Taliban – Hakimullah Mehsud, Wali-ur-Rehman, Mohmand and Swat group – are active in the city, however, dozens of their commanders and militants were either killed in police and Rangers encounters or they lost their lives in severe infighting between the TTP groups.
“After tuft war between the Taliban factions the Wali-ur-Rehman group has emerged strong in the city” told a senior police officer.
Though police later took away the credit of killing, insiders in the law enforcement agency tell Khan Zaman had killed Sher Khan Mehsud, an important operational commander of Hakimullah Mehsud faction in Karachi which gave upper hand to the Wali-ur-Rehman group.
Later Khan Said aka Sajna, the successor of Wali-ur-Rehman, further strengthened the group.
However, the ongoing operation has completely broken their backbone and now they are paddled for a last war with hope of survival.
The valiant soldiers and police personnel will not let them successful in the design, a police officer told.

Originally published here