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

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