Is Wadh becoming another Waziristan?

wadh
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

 

Who has killed Imam?

mqm-manzar-imam

By Naimat Khan

It was afternoon of Wednesday, January 17, 2013. I along with journalist friends was having tea at the Karachi Press Club’s garden when a colleague from an international media outlet received a call. The person on phone was Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s spokesman, claiming that his organization had killed Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) lawmaker, Manzar Imam.

Imam, 43, was gunned down a while ago in Orangi area of the city from where he was elected to the provincial assembly of Sindh on MQM’s ticket.

“From when did you start killing people of Tableeghi Jamaat,” the reporter asked LeJ spokesman. “Le, me check,” the spokesman cutoff the phone line. Within minutes, he called the reporter back and said, “We haven’t killed him”.

The TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan was the second to claim responsibility for the attack.

Imam belonged to Deobandi school of thought and had been with Tableeghi Jamaat on preaching missions, his close friends tell.

There was no clue of the killers for more than eight months before the Rangers on September 23, 2015 announced to have arrested a suspect allegedly involved in the assassination.

The alleged killer was MQM man.

According to a statement issued by the Sindh Rangers the paramilitary force arrested the accused during a raid conducted in the Taiser Town area of Karachi.

The Rangers’ spokesperson claimed that the accused, identified as Muhammad Ashiq, was affiliated with the MQM and had confessed of killing MQM legislator and his guard, according to media reports.

The reports also claimed that besides being involved in the murder of MQM MPA, the accused also confessed to killing 12 members of rival political parties and dumping their bodies in different parts of the city using ambulances belonging to MQM’s charity wing Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation.

The statement further said the accused was produced before an anti-terrorism court, which placed him under 90-day preventive detention. He was never tried in the case.

Then some media reports, citing interviews with investigators, claimed that in August 2010, Imam had closely coordinated with law-enforcement agencies in arresting the LeJ militants involved in the assassination of another MQM MPA Raza Haider.

However, on September 22, 2016, a report in a private news channel claimed and even aired the voice of blindfolded MQM Ashfaq aka chief, in which he confessed that Manzar Imam had been murdered the behest of Asfar Hussain.

Another twist in the murder case came when the arrested LeJ militant on Friday claimed that Imam was killed by them.

“Saeed aka Kaloo was directly involved in the murder of Manzar Imam,” Raja Umar Khattab, the cop having busted group of AQIS, LeJ and Sipah-e-Sahaba militants, told The Frontier Post. Khattab says it’s the handiwork of LeJ.

It’s not the first time that several claims have been made regarding involvement of different groups in a single case. In past TTP militants were eliminated for their alleged involvement in Parween Rehman murder case whereas men associated with MQM were also arrested in connection of murder of the female Director of the Orangi Pilot Project. Later the case turned out to be the handiwork of Raheem Swati, an activist of Awami National Party.

“The multiple claims by law enforcers, sometime made in hast with aims, spoil the cases, depriving the victims of justice,” said Saqib Sagheer, a Karachi based reporter covering crime and militancy.

Published in The Frontier Post 

Terrorist moms

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Police unveils a large network of women jihadists

Naimat Khan

Terrorist moms


Counter-terrorism officials in Karachi believe more than 100 women from affluent households are part of a lethal terrorist network that lies somewhere between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The revelation came as police made new arrests related to the Safoora terrorist attack in May, in which 43 Shia Ismaili passengers of a bus were shot and killed one by one.

In July, police had arrested Sadia Jalal, a university teacher and the third wife of a leader of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, accusing her of “facilitating the suspects of the Safoora carnage.” The woman “had been brainwashing students for recruiting them in a terrorist outfit” police said. The involvement of a woman, who is also a university teacher, in a high-profile terrorist attack caused concerns.

On December 18, the counter-terrorism department (CTD) said new arrests had been made. “We have arrested people who had been providing financial support and facilitation to, and brainwashing terrorists since long,” the department’s chief Raja Umar Khattab told reporters in a news conference. Among the detained suspects was Khalid Yousaf Bari, a former employee of Pakistan International Airlines. Bari told interrogators that his wife Naheed Bari had established a religious group – Al Zikra Academy – whose top members include more than 20 well-off women.

Naheed Baji mentored more than one hundred women

The network is accused of collecting donations, brainwashing new members, proliferating jihadist propaganda, and even helping alleged terrorists find suitable spouses. As police expand their probe, intelligence sources say many of the women suspects are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and daughters-in-laws of male suspects linked to the Safoora terrorist attack.

“They brainwashed women in the name of Islamic education,” Raja Umar Khattab said, “and collected Zakat, alms and donations for financing terrorism.”

Naheed Baji, as she was called by other members of the group, mentored more than one hundred women, Raja Umar Khattab told me. “Many of the group’s active members have been identified,” he said. “Almost every member of about twenty ‘Jihadi families’ carried out one task or another for the terrorist group. These families are strongly tied to each other through intermarriages.”

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Naheed collected around Rs 215,000 a month in donations, chiefly from such affluent localities as Baloch Colony, Bahadurabad and PCEHS. Other identified female suspects include Tahmeena, the wife of a male suspect Adil Masood Butt, who has been accused of providing financial help to the group that carried out the Safoora but attack.

The mother and wife of a key terror suspect Saad Aziz are also alleged members of the network.

Although such women have largely been seen as only facilitators in the past, Islamabad-based journalist and militancy expert Hasan Abdullah said in a previous interview that female members of such groups often played part in active warfare. “They range from suicide attackers, to teachers, spies, technical experts, doctors and much more.”

“The San Bernardino shooting has shown that women are equally capable of doing brutal murderous things, under the influence of a warped ideology,” said Reem Wasay, the op-ed editor at Daily Times.

“The family structure of modern Jihadists and the role of their women had largely been hidden from the eyes of law enforcement officials so far,” Raja Umar Khattab said, adding that it took him several years of investigation to expose the network.

“The women preachers first give lectures on the basics of Islam to affluent women, and then use their influence to stress the importance of establishing a Muslim caliphate,” he said. “Those who are receptive are made part of their circle.”

“They are suicide attackers, teachers, spies, technical experts, doctors and more”

“It is alarming that such a large number of women are involved in helping in the planning and financing of terrorism,” one investigator said. “It is equally alarming that highly educated men, including many who studied abroad, are being indoctrinated to carry out such acts.”

Tahmeena’s husband Adil Masood Butt, who the CTD has arrested for financing terrorism, went to Indiana University for a BBA and the New York Fordham University for an MBA. When he came back, he set up the College of Accountancy and Management Science with some friends. “The institute has three campuses, where 2,000 students are enrolled at various levels,” police says. He met Naheed’s husband Khalid Yousaf Bari, and another Safoora attack suspect Sheeba Ahmed, when he was part of Dr Israr Ahmed’s Tanzeem-e-Islami. He left the organization subsequently to join Al Qaeda. He had also been associated with the proscribed Hizbut Tahrir.

“Tanzeem-e-Islami pursues a non-violent agenda, but its advocacy for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate is sometimes used by groups who turn to violence,” said Muhammad Saqib, a Karachi based journalist covering militancy. At a time when Pakistan is trying to develop counter-narratives against terrorist ideology, he said religious groups will have to strive to protect their teachings from being misused by terrorists.

The writer is a Karachi based journalist

Email: undisclosedtruth@gmail.com

Twitter: @NKMalazai

 

The IS puzzle in Karachi

Why would Islamic State want revenge for killing of Al Qaeda men?

Lobo

By: Naimat Khan

After a gun attack on American professor Debra Lobo in Karachi, the assailants left behind a leaflet that said she was “killed” to avenge the death of five “Mujahideen” in the city’s Keamari coastal town. Ms Lobo survived the attack.

“O crusaders, we are the lions of Islamic State [Daulah-e-Islamiya] and the eagles of our Caliph. Today we have killed this Kansas woman Lobo. We will continue to ambush you and attack you fiercely and kill you wherever you are until we besiege you to America and then God willing we will burn America down,” the printed note said.

This is not the first such case. The Middle East based IS has left its mark in Pakistan and Afghanistan several times in the recent past. On April 18, 33 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a terrorist attack in the Afghan city of Jalalabad, that President Ashraf Ghani said had been carried out by Islamic State militants.

But it is the first time that IS has claimed revenge for the killing of Al Qaeda men. The men were killed in a gunfight with Rangers on April 8. “One of the five militants killed in the recent Keamari encounter was the Karachi chief of the Al Qaeda,” said Major Sabtain, spokesman for Sindh Rangers.

Earlier reports said the militants killed in the Tapu area of the Keamari neighborhood belonged to Ilyas Kashmiri group. Kashmiri was a former SSG commando who became a militant in Kashmir, and later joined Al Qaeda.

The leaflet found at the site of the attack on Ms Lobo has raised a lot of eyebrows, but senior investigator Raja Umar Khattab, who handles terrorism related cases and heads the anti-terror unit of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) previously known as Crime Investigation Department (CID).

“Al Qaeda doesn’t claim small acts and this must be an attempt to dodge law enforcers,” he said. “The attack has similarities with four previous acts of terrorism, which later proved to be the handiwork of Al Qaeda.” He was referring to two attacks on Rangers and police, a motorcycle bombing outside a Bohra community mosque, and a grenade attack on a shop of a Bohra trader earlier this year.

The modus operandi and the weapons used in these attacks were similar, says Raja Umar Khattab.

Although experts don’t rule out strategic alliances between various militant groups despite their differences, police are not ready to believe the IS would seek revenge for the killing of a Al Qaeda operative.

Al Qaeda in the Indian Sub-continent is a more serious threat than the distant Islamic State

Hasan Abdullah – an Islamabad based security analyst – said he was aware of “back-channel diplomacy” going on between the two groups, but was not convinced that the attack on the American citizen in Karachi was the work of IS. “First of all, there are contradictions in police accounts. Secondly there has been no claim of responsibility by the IS. If anything, the IS would be keen to claim its attacks, especially in the Urban centres of Pakistan,” says.

Security analysts and law enforcers believe that Al Qaeda in the Indian Sub-continent is a more serious threat to the security of Pakistan than the distant Islamic State.

According to Umar Khattab, 90 percent of the Taliban militants in Karachi have been eliminated. But he admits the Al Qaeda threat must not be downplayed. “Today, the most active terrorist group in Karachi is Al Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent,” he said.

On April 13, days after the Rangers raid in Keamari, police found an explosives factory and killed five Al Qaeda militants during a raid in Orangi town. They said the dead men included the mastermind of the attack on a Rangers van at Qalandria Chowrangi last month.

According to Muhammad Arif Hanif, deputy inspector general of the Counter-terrorism Department, police seized a laptop which had video recording of the suicide attacker, identified as Arif alias Wahaj – a resident of Bilal Colony in Korangi, and a student of a prominent religious seminary in Karachi.

Evidence confirms the group had carried out several attacks, including bomb attacks near Qalandria Chowk on January 10, near DC Office (West) on February 3, and near Shahra-e-Noor Jehan on August 31, he said.

Al Qaeda may also be linked to attacks on police vans at Ibrahim Haideri and Bilawal Colony in 2013, and the assassinations of political workers Khursheed Pathan, Siraj Behari, Alam Mochar and Syed Zahir Shah, and a policeman identified as Razzaq.

But they did not claim responsibility for any of these attacks.

Analysts believe leaving leaflets with names of other groups may be an AQIS tactic to mislead investigators.