Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Suicide bombers coming from Punjab: (Extract)

LAHORE, Sept 22: NWFP Governor Owais Ghani warned Punjab on Monday that militancy was gaining strength in its backyard.

“Militants in the tribal areas of the NWFP have established firm networking (with Jihadi groups) in southern Punjab and most fresh recruits for suicide attacks are coming from there. Militant leaders and commanders are also coming from Punjab. The militants’ field commander in Swat too is from Punjab,” Mr Ghani told a briefing arranged for senior journalists on insurgency in tribal areas.

The words of caution from the governor came soon after a number of people were detained in Punjab apparently in connection with the Marriott bombing.

Mr Ghani also warned against treating the insurgency in the tribal areas as a problem of the NWFP. “It will be ill-advised to think that the militancy will remain confined to the NWFP. Militants’ activities have already shifted to the settled areas and Punjab and they have established strong links with south Punjab. It’s a national issue, a question of survival for (entire) Pakistan.”Later talking to Dawn, the governor said he had discussed the matter with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. He expressed the hope that the Punjab government would effectively handle the situation.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is also said to be aware of the issue of recruitment of suicide bombers from his constituency. “He (prime minister) knows about it,” Mr Ghani said.

Dawn

Comment:

This is absolutely correct. Wonder why no one in authority pinpointed this factor before publicly.

There are many groups now operating under the umbrella title of Taliban - each with a different agenda. The particular South Punjab (Bahawalpur, Sadiqabad) and North-West Punjab (Sargodha, Jhang, Khushab) groups are the sectarian ones operating since late 1980s, and were responsible for suicide bombings of Shia mosques; Shootings of Shia Doctors and religious scholars; the bridge-bomb attempt at Nawaz Sharif near Raiwind; Suicide attacks at the Karachi US Consulate, Karachi Marriot, Karachi Sheraton French Engineers bus; All attempts at Musharraf and the one on Shaukat Aziz; The Airforce Cadets bus near Sargodha; Plus bombings at large Shia centers such as the 2007 carnage at Hangu. The Lahore FIA building bombing was also traced to these groups and some arrests made of persons from Sialkot and Gujranwala.

These groups were splintered from the original political party Sipah-e-Suhaba and its militant wing Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which regarded Shia as Kafirs and had demanded their declaration as non-Muslim. They were cracked down upon during the second Nawaz Sharif term, their literature seized and the party banned. Their operatives were hunted down and the organization dismantled.

But, quite astonishingly, Musharraf asked for help from none other than Maulana Azam Tariq, the Chief of the defunct Sipah-e-Suhaba and then an independent MNA from Jhang in 2002 elections, when he needed a single deciding vote to get Zafarullah Jamali elected as Prime Minister. Azam Tariq provided that vote and Jamali was elected by a single vote majority.

Azam Tariq was killed soon after in a hail of bullets at the Islamabad Toll Plaza, and the suicide attempts on Musharraf commenced. Did Musharraf use and then double-cross the sectarians?

These groups have large numbers of suicide bombers, networks in cities, as well as experience in Urban terror.

The Pushtun suicide bombings on the other hand, as a pattern, have been at military or paramilitary targets - initially to avenge Lal Masjid, and later in response to the Waziristan/Swat Operations.

The Pakistani security agencies know this very well. The sectarians were identified in each of the above attacks listed, many arrested or killed extra-judicially for specific involvement, but much of their leadership was arrested and then released - or simply disappeared after arrest quite inexplicably.

Riaz Basra, the operational Chief of Lashker-e-Jhangvi was one (who was claimed to have been killed in Faisalabad in a police encounter but his mother refused to identify the body as him), and recently, Qari Saifullah Akhtar who had been specifically named in Benazir Bhutto's letter to Musharraf as a threat to her life. Still he was released for lack of evidence by a Sessions Court judge.

Do these people now have powerful handlers? To work towards an agenda to Balkanize Pakistan? To alienate the Pushtuns and carry out a veritable genocide in their areas?

The evidence does point to that. The Islamabad Marriot bombing has all the indicators towards this conclusion.

23 comments:

Ijaz Gul said...

include BBs murder and you have a complete list.
These groups were intialy made to nuetralise the Iranian Revolution and finded by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and USA. Basically they are anti Shia and Marriot belongs to Shias.

Zeemax said...

Ijaz Gul,

True. I didn't include Benazir's murder because it is not yet established who did it. I try to remain as factual as possible. Of-course, the implementers would have been none other than the sectarians - but with strong backing of some very powerful Governmental forces.

Yes, one tells them to blow up Shias, and they will. These are the true fanatics, or the Neo-Khwarij as I term them. It's the same ideology, some term it as Takfiri. Same thing.

The original Khwarij used to injure themselves by rubbing their elbows on the ground after picking dates from trees to repay Allah. Anyone who was seen to stray the slightest from their perceived path of Muhammad was 'Wajib-ul-Qatl', and they beheaded hundreds of Muslims for that.

Problem is, Khwarij were Muslims too - very staunch ones. It all had a sort of Islamic sanction.

It took no less than Ali to see they didn't succeed, and had defeated them at the time, but was eventually stabbed to death by a Khwarij and the Great Split occurred soon after.

Now they're back. Could there be an Ali now?

pavocavalry said...

basically the man wants an extension in governorship....he is famous for messing up balochiostan and now wants to roll imperials in NWFP

pavocavalry said...

what pakistani state sponsored in kabul in 1978-92.....attack on civilians....bomb blasts in students cafes in kabul university is now happening in pakistan.....the message is clear....if the punjabi air force bombs the pashtuns indiscriminately , fear of Allah has to be driven in Islamabad....the most psuedo...the most artificial city of pakistan

Zeemax said...

pavocavalry,

But if it's out of revenge on the Punjabi Airforce, Islamabad isn't exactly Punjab, is it? Nor is it a base for any of the three armed forces. I would think Pindi would have been a more plausible choice given your explanation.

I really think it was an attack on US officials. Conflicting reports are coming out how many foreign nationals were killed. E.g. It hadn't been reported till today that the Egyptian CFO of Mobilink was amongst the dead. There's also a news ticker on TV today about an Indian News Agency report, that ten senior US intelligence officers were present inside and were killed.

pavocavalry said...

islamabad is a very punjabi target....there are pashtuns there too....i was with a famous afghan so called mujahid yesterday and he is convinced that this attack was a very local job....no superpower conspiracy

Majumdar said...

Amin sahib,

Even if the bombing was a local job, there is no way of escaping the conclusion that some inside support was there. Surely you cant load half a ton of explosives on a truck and run it thru high sec zone of Isloo without some inside help. I am not suggesting AAZ or YRG but merely some disgruntled higher up in the agencies.

Zee sahib,

I think we need to get out of the good jihadi bad jihadi mentality. All of them are bad. The state must not give up the monoploy over violence and entrust private armies with their agenda. We set up Khalistanis (for INC's political interest in Punjab) and LTTE (for God knows what reason) and ended up losing two PMs. Fortunately, the Palk Strait protected us from a bigger blowback. If Pak wants territory in JK and A'stan it must use its regulars rather than depend upon private militias who can (and will) run out of control.

Regards

pavocavalry said...

how else can smaller forces fight against larger forces......

Zeemax said...

majumdar Sahib,

General Hameed Gul maintains something to the effect "these Jihadis are a great asset for Pakistan, since they provide unlimited capacity for protracted asymmetrical warfare which no other country possesses"

In terms of military advantage, he is right. Other countries use Commando forces for the same asymetrical purposes. Here, the capcity is unlimited and natural.

So, I guess we do need to make a distinction who is good (i.e. pro-State) and who is bad (i.e. anti-State). The sectarians pointed out in this blog are all anti-State.

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

these Jihadis are a great asset for Pakistan

Well, you are a finance man and you would doubtless be aware that for every asset there is a corresponding liability.

If the state of Pakistan wants to use the jihadis as tools of state policy, it should be prepared to foot the bill too.

we do need to make a distinction

The problem of course is that too often the former can mutate into the latter.

Regards

Zeemax said...

Majumdar,

True, but in Pakistan's case the former were deliberately turned into the latter by none other than Pakistanis, when the good guys since decades were suddenly declared bad in the U-turn following September 2001.

Quite simply, if there had been no U-turn, there would not have been any bad Jihadis either.

The sectarians though are not 'Jihadis' in the first place, never considered so by public, and were always deemed bad ever since their advent in the 1980s. I think all these distinctions are necessary to be made.

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

Naturally I am not so well-versed with the Pak society or state as you are. But here are my observations:

The change from good jihadis to bad jihadis would have happened sooner or later.

1. The Pak state and the elite have for long had lived parasitical lives as US satellites. Sorry if I am using harsh language. So naturally once USA cracked down on the jihadis sooner or later and as vassals the Pak state wud have complied.

2. Even if 9/11 had not happened, things would have come to a head. Sooner or later, the jihadis would have demanded fundamental changes in Pak's OWN society in return for their support to Pak's foreign policy. Which the Pak elite, which largely draws its inspiration from Western sources, would have balked at. A mutual (much respected) friend has already referred to this contradiction in another forum.

Regards

pavocavalry said...

as far as i understand sectarian outfits have had a relationship with state agencies

Zeemax said...

pavocavalry,

Sir, I have personal knowledge of what you say is true, but it can't be put down here :)

Regards.

Zeemax said...

Majumdar,

I fully agree with this part:

"Sooner or later, the jihadis would have demanded fundamental changes in Pak's OWN society in return for their support to Pak's foreign policy."

Indeed. But I'll only add that this fundamental change was promised to them and then the great betrayal occurred.

There is news it has been agreed to accept Sharia rule in Bajaur and Swat as per the demand of the militants. I hope it's true. No one in Pakistan wants more enemies at the borders than it already has - all around - and perpetual war.

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

Unfortunately, the Shariah has already been implemented several times in Swat, right from the time of Fazloo's original jihad. The problem is the sincerity and of course whether the Talibs will be content with Shariah over a localised environment or will insist on implementing it elsewhere.

Regards

Zeemax said...

Majumdar,

Lack of sincerity is correct. In fact, the Malakand/Swat Sharia Ordinance was passed by none else than Benazir Bhutto in her final term. It was however just an eyewash and rejected as such.

Re "whether the Talibs will be content with Shariah over a localised environment or will insist on implementing it elsewhere.", I invite you to go back to the Lal Masjid people's simple demand to implement the Article 2 of the constitution. In response, the Government killed them all.

So, in my opinion, if Talibs eventually implement the same anywhere with force, and in a much harsher manner, we cannot say they had any other choice. We ourselves took their choice of constitutional means away.

Zeemax said...

... having said that, cutting off hands of thieves and and stoning of adulterers and such is a very small part of Sharia. Sharia is mostly about a welfare State and socio-economic justice.

The cutting and the stoning is however played up quite understandably as if that's all it's about.

Did you know Umar the second Caliph suspended punishments for thieves during a famine even though it's a Qura'anic injunction?

Regards :)

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

Shariah (or for that matter Ram Rajya) are ostensibly about the rule of righteousness. Sadly, in practise they pan out differently.

Regards

Zeemax said...

Majumdar,

But with a difference. Ram Rajiya has no accountability for actions of rulers. Sharia does. It's 'Allah'.

Majumdar said...

Zee sahib,

Ram Rajya has accountabily too. The Raja has to uphold dharma or he has to pay for his sins in the hereafter. But I guess it will be difficult to convince a Momin that Ram Rajya is nothing but righteousness or a Kaffir that Nizam-e-Mustafa is anything but the same.

So, maybe you can do away with both.

Regards

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