‘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.

Debut of MWM; Can MQM retain its Karachi seats?

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: With anti-MQM alliance in making and Majlis Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen (MWM) making its electoral debut, it will become difficult if not impossible for the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) to retain its electoral position in the city, say political analysts. But the party said it is well aware of all these developments and well prepared to face these challenges with best election strategy it has formed. “MQM has it own dynamics, it has services for the city and it has its own political outlook so if free and fair elections are held, both the entry of MWM and emergence of anti-MQM alliance will not bar it from retaining its position” said Nair Jamal, a joint incharge of MQM’s information department, adding, party has delivered to the people and it has its own pledges that bring it a strong support of the masses. 

The Majlis Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen (MWM) if contested elections would definitely affect the vote bank of MQM in Karachi and that of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Punjab, opined Professor Dr Tauseef Ahmed, a well known political analyst who has been closely observing the politics of Karachi for the last few decades. Professor Ahmed is, however, cynical of any strong anti-MQM grand alliance at this point, saying if any of PTI and PML-N allied with Jamaat-e-Islami in Karachi, the other one will automatically back out. He said there are many issues pertaining to seat adjustments among the grand alliance parties which still require time to come out with clear picture.

MQM which first made its electoral debut in 1988 got 11 out of 13 (85%) National Assembly seats and increased its success ratio to 92 percent in the next 1990 general polls by grabbing 12 out of 13 seats from the port city. The party boycotted next general elections of 1993 which gave PML-N a chance to grab six of the total seats. 

The party’s share cut down a bit when it won 10 out of 13 seats (77%) which further went down to 60 percent in 2002 when Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA) became successful in getting 5 seats from Karachi which was one of the best performance by religious parties in the city. 

MQM regained its strength in 2008 elections partially due to split of MMA and subsequent boycott by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). It clinched 85 percent of national legislature share as it won 17 out of 20 seats from the costal city.

Jamaat-e-Islami, which boycotted the 2008 elections, is geared up while its alliance with anti-PPP and MQM parties will give it further benefit during the 11 May general polls, said Zia Ur Rehman, a Karachi based political analyst and author of the “Karachi in Turmoil” who thinks the emergence of MWM and ASWJ, both sectarian political clicks, on electoral front will certainly cut down the votes of their previous beneficiaries.

“If the MWM is going to affect the votes of MQM and PPP, the ASWJ will divide the voters of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F, especially on the PS-128 a Landhi seat from where the ASWJ leader, Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi, is contesting elections” he said. 

Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen has fielded 14 candidates for National Assembly and Sindh Assembly from Karachi. The party is confident it will make its way to the legislature to raise voice for the community which has been exploited and targeted. 

Talking to The Frontier Post, spokesman of MWM Karachi, Ali Ahmar, said the parties especially MQM, PPP and PML-N while enjoying the votes of 5 crore Shias have never protected them from the brunt of terrorism against them.

MWM is contesting elections from NA-250, NA-239, NA-252,NA- 253,NA- 257 and 258 besides running for the PS-102, PS-118, PS-94, PS-107, PS-117, PS-119, PS-126 and PS-127, he informed.

Ahmar is confident that his party will win the elections on most of the seats as it has chosen only those seats where it has strong vote bank. PS-117, PS-127 and PS-126, the later also having Abbas town and Hussain Hazara Goth in its limits, have whole localities of Shia and they will vote for MWM, maintained Ahmar. “We also have strong chances of wining NA-252 and NA-253”, he claimed.

We will also win from NA-250 as nearly the whole phase-4 of Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has Shia inhabitants while there are over 750 houses in other phases of the same constituency who will support the Shia candidate, said Ahmar while citing a sit-in in front of the Bilawal House against Quetta carnage which was staged by a large number of residents of the DHA.

When asked as MQM shared a common stance over the act of terrorism including those against Shia, Ahmar said MQM could not support Shia despite being in the government for the last five years while Shia had been playing a major role in electing its candidates to the national and provincial legislatures.

“A group under a certain banner will grab some of the votes and it can certainly leave negative impact over MQM but given the services rendered by MQM for the people of the city and its best election strategy, such group may not become successful” said MQM’s Nasir Jamaal, adding, the one Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Fiqah-e-Jafaria (TNFJ) with better grounds as compared to Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen could not attain success in the past.

He said Taliban were openly threatening MQM due to its strong opposition and protest over the acts of terrorism including those in which the people of Shia community had been targeted. 

MQM is well prepared and we have made an election strategy keeping in mind all these factors, said Jamal.

http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/4246/