‘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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Naimat Khan

In Karachi, a sectarian group’s popularity has attracted both the liberals and the conservatives 

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The PRHP has won 9 Union Committees, the party, which is considered a political front of ASWJ, claims

In a Pashtun neighborhood in Karachi, the left-liberal People’s Party and the sectarian group Pakistan Rahe Haq Party (PRHP) are campaigning together for the local council elections.

Residents of Muzaffarabad Colony, especially the elderly who had seen the ideology-driven politics of the 1970s, are astonished that the two parties – ideologically poles apart – are canvassing for a ‘joint panel’ in the local council.

And so is Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan, a political analyst and a former chairman of the Mass Communication Department at the Federal Urdu University in Karachi. He is equally surprised that a sectarian group has become so strong that the province’s largest party is compromising on its principles to gain its support.

“We have also seen the Barelvi group Sunni Tehreek and the Shia group Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen becoming active in electoral politics,” he said. “This is not a good sign.”

“The MQM, the PTI and the Jamaat-e-Islami contacted us for seat adjustment, but we have decided to go independent, or to make alliances with other independent candidates,” said Asif Safvi, a spokesman for Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen. The group has fielded three “full panels” of candidates from the Soldier Bazaar, Jaffar Tayyar and Ancholi localities, where people belonging to the Shia school of thought are in majority. “As many as 47 candidates of our party are contesting for local councils in various parts of the city, and we are allying with many independent contesters as well.”

In Muzaffarabad Colony, Maulana Mohuiddin of the PRHP – a Deobandi group founded by a former leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba in 2012 – is running for the chairman of the union council, and Haji Misal Khan, associated with PPP, is his running mate, contesting for vice chairman.

There were reports that their election office was inaugurated by Taj Muhammad Hanafi, a leader of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) – a sectarian political party believed to be an offshoot of Sipah-e-Sahaba. Local leaders of the People’s Party and the ASWJ attended the event, insiders said.

“The dynamics of local politics are different”

The union council falls in the Sindh Assembly constituency in which ASWJ President Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi (then a candidate of Muttahida Deeni Mahaz, an alliance formed by influential Deobandi cleric Maulana Samiul Haq) bagged 23,625 votes for a narrow loss to MQM’s Waqar Hussain Shah, who got 23,827. The People’s Party candidate in the race could only get 482 votes.

“The dynamics of local politics are different from those of national politics,” says People’s Party Senator Saeed Ghani, who had visited the Deobandi seminary Jamia Banoria on November 12 to get the blessings of its principal Mufti Muhammad Naeem – among the city’s most influential religious leaders. “The PPP had given a free hand to its local leaders to make seat adjustments with various political groups and parties,” he said. Ghani said that the party’s Karachi chapter would probe the matter, but added that PPP candidates would only run under its own election symbol – the arrow.

“We have made electoral alliances with Jamaat-e-Islami and JUI-F in the past,” he said, “but we did not compromise on our principles.”

PPP is not the only liberal party to have made an alliance with the PRHP. In the city’s central district, the Awami National Party (ANP) and PRHP have fielded joint candidates for chairman and vice chairman in the Pashtun neighborhood of Pahar Jang.

“We have more than 250 candidates, and are supporting ANP’s panel in at least three union councils,” said Ashraf Memon, the Karachi chief of the PRHP.

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

The party has fielded its own candidates for the chairman and vice chairman of 15 union councils, of which five are in the West district of Karachi, three in the East, three in central district and two each in South district and Malir, Ashraf Memon told me. He said the West district and Malir were his party’s strongholds.

Established in 2012 by Hakeem Muhammad Ibrahim Qasimi – reportedly a former provincial leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba – the PRHP gained attention during the by-polls in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly constituency PK-95 in May this year. Its candidate, Qari Ziaul Haq Haideri, received more than 3,000 votes.

Qasmi – who had been elected to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on an MMA ticket – bagged 6,673 votes in the by-election in Peshawar’s NA-1 constituency vacated by Imran Khan. ANP’s Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour had won the by-poll with 34,386 votes.

The party fielded 20 candidates for district councils in Peshawar in the local elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, its information secretary Irshad Muhammad Haideri had told reporters.

In the first phase of local elections in Sindh, the party won two seats of councilors from Khairpur and Sukkur, and one of its candidate was elected unopposed in Tando Allahyar.

The PRHP spokesman said his party was not associated with the ASWJ. The ASWJ also insists the PRHP is separate entity. But the parties have very similar flags, and many ASWJ leaders are close to the PRHP. Some locals say they use both the names when campaigning.  “We are only supporting them,” said Umar Muawiya, the spokesman of ASWJ.

The writer is a Karachi based journalist

Email: undisclosedtruth@gmail.com

Twitter: @NKMalazai

Published In The Friday Times 

Eight JUI-F men among 554 in Sindh terror watch list

The JUF Chief, Maulana Fazl-Ur-Rehman  who is know for his best political art in Pakistan
The JUF Chief, Maulana Fazl-Ur-Rehman who is know for his best political art in Pakistan

By: Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Eight members of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) are among 554 persons who are enlisted in ‘forth schedule of anti terrorism act (ATA)-1997’ of Sindh province, it emerged here on Thursday.

JUI-F, a religio-political party, is coalition partner in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s federal government. The faction of Maulana Mufti Mahmud’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) is led by his son Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who despite having just five senators in a house of 104 got his man Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri elected as Deputy Chairman Senate, the upper house of the Pakistan legislature.

JUI-F has two portfolios in federal cabinet whereas the party chief, who heads the Kashmir Committee, is also enjoying the status of a federal minister. The party also holds top slot in the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), the permanent recommendatory body on Shariah matters.

Highly credible sources told that the Sindh has placed 554 individuals, suspects and members of 22 organizations, mostly proscribed, who are monitored by the agencies whereas their movements, accounts and communications are also scrutinized.
According to the Sindh Police’s report, eight of them have association with JUI-F, thus astonishingly making it the only political party having representation in the watch list. The person likely posing threat to public peace and security is placed under the watch list, fourth schedule of Anti Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997.

It is the government prerogative to place any person under Fourth Schedule who has been associated with any militant or sectarian organization in the past or has been involved in criminal activities in the past but assures through affidavit that he would no more be associated with any banned militant or sectarian organization or engage in any criminal activity.

According to a report, which was prepared by IGP Sindh for presentation in the Karachi law and order meeting, 216 members of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), which is now working under the nomenclature of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) are enlisted in for the schedule.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, another banned sectarian outfit, is second and has 51 members in the list. As many as 42 members each of the Shia sectarian proscribed organizations, namely Tehreek-Jafria Pakistan and Sipah-e-Mohammad Pakistan are placed on the schedule for agencies’ watch. Outlaw Jihadist organizations, Jesh-e-Mohammad and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistani, have 27 and 36 men in the list, respectively.

The reports stated that 20 people, who have either returned from Afghan Jihad or released from local and foreign detentions are also in the list. Eighteen suspicious persons belonging to Shia sect and 14 other suspicious persons with no evident affiliation are among those enlisted under the forth schedule of ATA-1997 of Sindh Government.

Members of Jindullah, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen Al-Almi, Hizb-ut-Tehreer, Lashkar-e-Islam, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Alhle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), Pakistan Sunni Tehreek, MQM-H, Harkatul Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jihad, Khudam-ul-Islam, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), Milt-e-Islamia, Imamia Student Organization (ISO) and Jey Sindh Motaheda Mohaaz (JSMM) and 5 other suspicious persons belonging to Devband sect are enlisted by the Sindh Government in forth Schedule.

 

The Story was originally Published here