‘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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Present at ECP, proscribed lists, ITP shows its presence in Karachi by-polls

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Allama Sajid Naqvi
File Photo of Allama Sajjid Ali Naqvi, Chief of the Islami Threek Party (ITP) declared proscribed by the Interior Ministry in November 15, 2013

By: Naimat Khan

KARACHI: With mainstream political parties nowhere in the race with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – which has also lost some grounds – the banned sectarian organizations are showings footprints, the Thursday by-elections and last local government polls show the new trend.

The MQM retained the Sindh Assembly seat, PS-117 – which became vacant when the disgruntled Dr Sagheer Ahmed resigned from it after announcing to join Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) .

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However, the turnout was historic low as only 14156 of the 163746 registered voters made it to the polling stations. The MQM’s Syed Muhammad Qamar Abbas Rizvi bagged 10738 votes; however, the runner was neither mainstream Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf nor the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.

Islami Tehreek Party (ITP) – a Shia group is registered with Election Commission of Pakistan at 75 number of the registered political parties’ list and also placed on the list of proscribed organizations of the interior ministry, which declared it outlawed on Moreover 15, 2013 – secured 1018 voters and its candidate, Ali Raza, surpassed both Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Rafaqat Umar, who bagged 950 votes and Pakistan peoples Party’s Javed maqbool Butt, who could get only 924 votes.

According to a notification of the interior ministry issued on November 15, 2013 – a copy of which is available with The Frontier Post – the Islamic Tehreek Party was declared as banned outfit alongwith other 59 organizations.

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Islami Tehreek Party originally founded as Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan in 1979 under the name Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafaria to resist anti-Shia laws, according to reports.

Arif Hussain Hussaini – founder of the group who was a student of Ruhollah Khomeini who led the Iranian Revolution – changed the name of T.N.F.J to Tehrik-e-Jafaria (T.J.P). After his assassination in 1988 in Peshawar, Alama Sajid Ali Naqvi took the charge and is heading the group now. The group also remained part of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a conglomerate of the religious political parties, that won 53 out of 272 elected members in legislative elections held on October 20, 2002.  Several months before the general polls, on January 12, 2002, the T.J.P. was banned by the government of Pakistan. It was again banned on November 5, 2011.

In last local government elections the Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) – another major Shia but not among the banned organizations and the Islami Tehreek Pakistan (ITP) contested polls as rival parties.

“But interestingly Majlis Wihdatul Muslimeen, which has failed to leave marks in the city, supported Islami Tehreek Party (ITP), which it was considering as rival”, Says Wakeel ur Rehman, a Karachi based analyst.

According to Rehman it’s not the Shia organizations which are reaching out to electorates on pure sectarian basis.  Alama Aurangzeb Farooqi, the Chief of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), a Sunni Sectarian organization, had lost to MQM’s Syed Waqar Shah with few votes difference in general elections on Provincial Assembly seat, PS-128, on May 11, 2013. Farooqi had bagged 23,625 votes for a narrow loss to MQM’s Waqar Hussain Shah, who got 23,827.

In last local bodies elections, several of the left, centre and right, including Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Jamaat-e-Islamic had made alliance with Pakistan Rahe Haq Party, the political face of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), which again is face of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, which remained in government in Musharraf regime.

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In Muzaffarabad Colony, Maulana Mohuiddin of the PRHP was contesting for the chairman of the union council, and Haji Misal Khan, associated with PPP, was his running mate, contesting for vice chairman.

In the UC-2 constituency of the Malir district council, the PRHP had allied with the PML-N. In UC-1, their chairman’s candidate had a Jamaat-e-Islami candidate as his running mate. The two parties have also made alliances in North Karachi.

In the local elections Majlis Wihdatul Muslimeen was also contacted by several mainstream parties, including PPP and PTI, but didn’t support any political clique. Meantime, Pakistani Sunni Tehreek, an organization under watch by the federal interior ministry, also remains active at the electoral front.

Published in The Frontier Post