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Category — Insurgency

200 phones found from Quetta, Machh prisons

Report in The Nation,June 23, 2017
QUETTA – The security forces conducted a search operation in Balochistan’s most sensitive prisons on Thursday and recovered more than 200 mobile phones.

According to Prisons Department sources, the security forces launched a search operation in District Jail Quetta and Mach Jail and recovered more than 200 mobile phones from prisoners. Following the operation, the security arrangements at these sensitive jails were tightened.
http://nation.com.pk/national/23-Jun-2017/200-phones-found-from-quetta-machh-prisons

Five ‘facilitators’ of militants arrested
LAHORE: The Rangers (Punjab), Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and police claim to have arrested five alleged facilitators of militants in a joint search operation in riverine areas of Mandi Bahauddin on Thursday.

The law-enforcement agencies were conducting raids under the ongoing Operation Raddul Fasaad.

According to a news release, the Rangers, CTD, district police and intelligence agencies carried out intelligence-based operations in riverine areas of Mandi Bahauddin and arrested five suspected facilitators of militants.

The law-enforcement agencies also recovered illegal weapons and ammunition during the operation. The suspects were shifted to undisclosed locations for further interrogation.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1341267/five-facilitators-of-militants-arrested

June 23, 2017   No Comments

CTD fears fresh spate of sectarian killings

Karachi: Top counterterrorism officials of the Sindh police believe that the jailbreak by two notorious terrorists associated with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s (LeJ) Naeem Bukhari group may help scattered militants to regroup and restart sectarian killings in Karachi, The News has learnt.

The suspected hitmen — Shaikh Mohammad Mumtaz alias Firaun and Mohammad Ahmed Khan alias Munna, who belong to the Qasim Rasheed group of the Naeem Bukhari-led LeJ – broke out of the high-security Central Jail Karachi earlier this week.

The two had been arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in 2013 for their alleged involvement in over 60 murders, mostly on sectarian grounds.

According to the officials, Mumtaz has the ability to put together the Naeem Bukhari group, which was almost neutralised after the death of Bukhari, who was the mastermind of a number of sectarian attacks in the country, particularly Karachi.

“There was a possibility that the escaped LeJ terrorists may regroup Naeem Bukhari’s activists to start sectarian killings in the city,” said Additional Inspector General (AIG) Dr Sanaullah Abbasi of the CTD.

“Keeping this possibility in view, we have issued a threat alert on Friday and warned the law enforcement agencies that sectarian killings may be paced up in the days to come,” he added.

Law enforcers investigating the shocking jailbreak said Firon had a team to execute sectarian killings and was in contact with other teams of hitmen of the group.

The investigation has established that it is nearly impossible to cut the iron rods of the under-trial suspects’ cell by using a manual cutter.

Investigators said the manual iron cutter could just help in cutting barbed wires and one was used by the Karachi’s Mehran Base attackers in 2011. They said the iron rods of such a heavy gauge could be cut by using only an electronic cutter, and bringing one into the prison’s Judicial Complex was not possible.

Responding to a question, Sindh Prisons Inspector General Nusrat Hussain Mangan also said it was almost impossible to cut through the cell’s iron rods with a manual cutter. “We ruled out the cutting of the cell’s rods with the manual cutter, and we are looking into this jailbreak from other angles,” he added.

CTD AIG Abbasi, who visited the central prison in connection with the probe, said it was very difficult to cut the iron rods of such a heavy gauge with a manual cutter.

He said there was a big question mark on the shifting of two under- trial terrorists to the Judicial Complex, where no hearing was to take place.

Abbasi hinted that the scope of the investigation would be widened to outside the prison to ascertain the names of people involved in the unnecessary shifting of the LeJ terrorists to the Judicial Complex.

Dearth of prison staff: The investigation has shown that there is a dearth of staff in the central prison housing wanted terrorists.

As many as 180 positions of central prison staff are said to have been lying vacant for the past many years. The arrests of 12 cops following the jailbreak have compound the problem.

IG Prisons Nusrat Mangan, when contacted, confirmed that 180 positions had been lying vacant in the jail. However, he said, the suspended cops had been replaced immediately with junior staffers to run the prison affairs effectively. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/211034-Threat-alert-issued-as-CTD-fears-fresh-spate-of-sectarian-killings

June 17, 2017   No Comments

Top 8 banned outfits on FB in Pak:

Report in Dawn, May 30, 2017

1. Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ)

Formerly known as the SSP, the ASWJ was banned 10 years after its predecessor, on February 15, 2012. They are known to spread anti-Shia sentiment across Pakistan, and often attack minority groups.
Despite the ban, the organisation remains active in spreading hatred and violence. They engage in local politics by holding rallies and gatherings, amassing a following in an attempt to legitimise the group.

2. Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM)
Founded in 2000 by Shafi Burfat, the JSMM is a separatist group fighting for the separation of Sindh from Pakistan. Proscribed on March 15, 2013 for alleged ties to Indian intelligence’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the JSMM is thought to have been involved in sabotage through the offshoot militant faction Sindhudesh Liberation Army.
Due to lack of incidents and reported activity after being proscribed, the organisation is believed to have refocused their efforts on recruiting students for protests.

3.Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP)
Founded in September of 1985, SSP is acknowledged as one of the largest and oldest anti-Shia militant factions. They have targeted Shia mosques and leaders in the past. Having changed their name twice after they were banned for terrorist activities in January of 2002, the faction is presently known and operates as ASWJ. Along with ASWJ, SSP has the biggest presence among banned organisation on Facebook.

4. Baloch Student Organization Azad (BSO-A)
Founded by Allah Nazar Baloch in 2002, the organisation is known to indoctrinate the youth of Balochistan in a struggle for an independent Balochistan.
Proscribed on March 15, 2013 on the basis of spreading anti-state sentiment through strikes and processions, they remain active online and in student communities in Balochistan.

5. Sipah-i-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP)
Although reports vary, it is believed that Maulana Mureed Abbas Yazdani founded SMP in 1993. Formed as a Shia outfit to counter the militancy of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, their primary objective is to retaliate against aggressions from SSP and LeJ.
Proscribed on August 14, 2001 along with LeJ for suspected involvement in terrorist activities, the SMP is alleged to have carried out attacks against the leadership of banned Sunni extremist factions. Their operations were reported to have seized after a rift amidst the leadership.

6. Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM)
Masood Azhar formed JeM in 2000 after being released from an Indian prison in return for hostages of an Indian Airline plane. Notorious for attacks in India-held Kashmir (IHK), the militant outfit’s stated objective is to unite IHK with Pakistan. However, it also has close links with LeJ, and its members have carried out attacks against the minority communities.
Breaking into two factions, the militant organisation is still believed to be active in the region, despite being banned on January 14, 2002 for sending non-Kashmiris into IHK causing unrest in Kashmir and hampering diplomacy between Pakistan and India. They are known for an attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and two assassination attempts on former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf.

7.Tehreek-e-Islami
Following the refusal of Jamaat-e-Islami to shun electoral politics, Naeem Siddiqui founded Tehreek-e-Islami in 1994 with a view to start an armed struggle to turn Pakistan into an Islamic state.
Even though the outfit was banned in January of 2002, along with several other militant organisations for anti-state sentiments, it continues to operate today through its head office in Karachi.

8. Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)
Since its formation in 1990 by the controversial Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, LeT has been credited with carrying out several attacks on Indian soil. At the time of their conception they aided Afghanistan in their fight against the Soviets.
Infamous for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, LeT’s interests lie in liberating held Kashmir from India and enforcing strict Salafi and Ahle-Hadith interpretations of Islam across the Indian subcontinent. Despite international attention and having been banned by the Pakistani state on January 14, 2002 for spreading terror locally and internationally, there is evidence that the outfit remains operational. https://www.dawn.com/news/1336223/top-eight-banned-outfits-on-facebook

May 30, 2017   No Comments

Banned outfits in Pak operate openly on FB

Investigative report in Dawn, May 30, 2017
They exist in plain sight, just one search and one click away from any of Pakistan’s 25 million Facebook users.
An investigation carried out by Dawn across the month of April 2017 has revealed that 41 of Pakistan’s 64 banned outfits are present on Facebook in the form of hundreds of pages, groups and individual user profiles.
Their network, both interconnected and public, is a mix of Sunni and Shia sectarian or terror outfits, global terror organisations operating in Pakistan, and separatists in Balochistan and Sindh.
For the purpose of this investigation, the names of all banned outfits – including acronyms and small variations in spelling – were searched on Facebook to find pages, groups, and user profiles that publicly ‘liked’ a banned outfit.

The biggest outfits on the social network, in order of size, are Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) with 200 pages and groups, Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) with 160, Sipah-i-Sahaba (SSP) with 148, Balochistan Students Organisation Azad (BSO-A) with 54 and Sipah-e-Muhammad with 45.
Other banned outfits which exist on Facebook at a smaller scale include Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Tehreek-e-Taliban Swat, Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, 313 Brigade, multiple Shia outfits and a host of Baloch separatist organisations.

A closer look at activity
An examination of some user profiles linked to these banned outfits indicates open support of sectarian and extremist ideology. A few of these profiles have also publicly ‘liked’ pages and groups related to weapons use and training.
While some of the Facebook pages and groups claim to be ‘official’ representatives of the outfits, others appear to be managed by members and supporters in ideological agreement.

The content shared on their forums is varied. Although there are occasional posts in the form of text or status updates, the more common updates feature photos, videos and memes shared to explain and elaborate on the outfit’s ideology; provide updates on recent or ongoing events and on-ground activity; and encourage private contact and recruitment of motivated Facebook users.
In general, the Facebook updates are in Urdu or Roman Urdu rather than English, suggesting the content is primarily for local consumption. A very small number are in Sindhi or Balochi, also indicating a niche target audience.
Open spread of ideology
Invariably, most of the Facebook pages and groups glorify existing leaders or those killed in the past while some banned outfits also campaign for the release of their activists or leaders.
In their Facebook updates, all banned outfits place blame on the state, or, in the case of outfits focused on Kashmir, on India. In rare cases, pages and groups linked to these banned outfits share graphic content depicting acts of violence — including photos and videos of bodies.
The more organised outfits appear to have ‘official’ media cells sharing press releases and religious sermons or political speeches as both audio and video. Such pages and groups also share links from websites, blogs or Twitter accounts that appear to be run by members of these outfits. The content in general includes anti-state propaganda or hate speech directed at religious minorities and other members of society.
Local footprint
Of the pages, groups and users investigated for the purpose of this story, a majority appeared to be based in larger urban centers such as Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta. Those users that had publicly listed the educational institutions they had attended are mostly based in large, government-run universities, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan.
Many banned outfits have pages and groups with their names followed by district names, inviting users to join based on locality e.g. in the case of Baloch separatists, divisions include Gwadar, Kharan, Mastung, Panjgur etc.

Others, such as sectarian outfits, are organised down to localities e.g. North Nazimabad in Karachi, or even by-election constituency e.g. NA-68. Furthermore, others are organised using terms such as ‘student wing’ or ‘youth wing’
.
Tip of the iceberg
At all times, members and supporters of these banned outfits operating on Facebook have the option to shift communication from public to private.
Any user linked to, or interested in a proscribed organisation can befriend and chat with like-minded users, message those operating the pages and groups or click the provided links to websites and blogs. To establish contact off Facebook, all they would need to do is use the publicly listed email addresses or local phone numbers provided by some outfits.
The findings of this investigation are just the tip of the iceberg however, as a far larger number of pages and groups could exist without publicly using the name of the banned organisation in order to operate in secret. Unlike the profiles examined, most Facebook users would also not leave their list of pages and groups public – unless they feel they can use the social network with impunity.

Facebook’s militancy problem
Delete, block or hand over information to authorities — these are Facebook’s primary responses in the event that the social network is used for terror or criminal activity.
Although the company has acknowledged working with Pakistan in multiple cases, due to a lack of real transparency the nature of the cases is unknown, as is the process by which the requests and exchange of information is made. It is entirely possible that these requests are related to politics, blasphemy, sexual harassment etc. rather than on investigating banned outfits.
Details of Pakistan’s requests to Facebook provided in its ‘Government Requests Reports’ from 2013 to 2016 show a sharp upward trend from 2015 onwards, reaching a high of 1,002 requests in July-December, 2016. The percentage to which Facebook complied with the requests to some extent has been between 64% and 68% since 2015.

As stated in its policies, Facebook “may access, preserve and share your information in response to a legal request (like a search warrant, court order or subpoena) if we have a good faith belief that the law requires us to do so.”
It also does not allow any organisations engaged in terrorist activity, or organised criminal activity to have a presence on Facebook.
More controversially, the company also removes user accounts and content “that expresses support for groups that are involved in the violent or criminal behavior mentioned above. Supporting or praising leaders of those same organisations, or condoning their violent activities, is not allowed.”
This specific policy led to many user accounts being blocked or deleted in 2016 for criticising India following the killing of Kashmir’s young ‘freedom fighter’ Burhan Wani and the resulting violent protests and crackdown by India’s security forces.
The Kashmir conflict is just one example of the quagmire Facebook faces as it tries to govern 1.9 billion users. Preventing the social network from being misused by militants and terrorists spread across all the continents, and also distinguishing those outfits from legitimate freedom movements is a task that Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg has admitted to being beyond the company’s capacity.
In a note shared on Facebook, Zuckerberg said, “In the last year, the complexity of the issues we’ve seen has outstripped our existing processes for governing the community…We’ve seen this in misclassifying hate speech in political debates in both directions — taking down accounts and content that should be left up and leaving up content that was hateful and should be taken down. Both the number of issues and their cultural importance has increased recently.”

Formerly known as the SSP, the ASWJ was banned 10 years after its predecessor, on February 15, 2012. They are known to spread anti-Shia sentiment across Pakistan, and often attack minority groups.
Despite the ban, the organisation remains active in spreading hatred and violence. They engage in local politics by holding rallies and gatherings, amassing a following in an attempt to legitimise the group.
Founded in 2000 by Shafi Burfat, the JSMM is a separatist group fighting for the liberation of Sindh from Pakistan. Proscribed on March 15, 2013 for alleged ties to Indian intelligence’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the JSMM is thought to have been involved in sabotage through the offshoot militant faction Sindhudesh Liberation Army.
Due to lack of incidents and reported activity after being proscribed, the organisation is believed to have refocused their efforts on recruiting students for protests.
Founded in September of 1985, SSP is acknowledged as one of the largest and oldest anti-Shia militant factions. They have targeted Shia mosques and leaders in the past.
Having changed their name twice after they were banned for terrorist activities in January of 2002, the faction is presently known and operates as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. https://www.dawn.com/news/print/1335561

May 30, 2017   No Comments

Pak: Daesh is here

By Syed Arfeen in The News on Sunday (TNS), May 21, 2017
The author is a Senior Investigative Correspondent of Geo News in Karachi.
On May 12, Balochistan was rocked with a powerful bang one more time in the area of Mastung when the deputy chairman senate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidery was targeted. He was lucky to have survived the attack but 25 other people lost their lives. The Islamic State (IS) claimed the deadly attack and released its statement in three different languages including Urdu.
On the same day, a trilateral meeting among the delegates of the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan was held at the General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi. The delegates underlined the need to defeat Daesh (Islamic State) through complementary efforts in respective areas of operations.
Despite the military offensive on both sides of the frontier — Pakistan and Afghanistan — data shows that Daesh is successfully carrying out deadly strikes in Balochistan since August 8 last year when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Civil Hospital Quetta killing at least 70 people. On October 24, three suicide attackers stormed the Police Training Centre Quetta and gunned down 62 cadets. After a few weeks, a suicide bomber detonated his vest at the Sufi shrine of Shah Noorani in the district of Khuzdar, at least 52 devotees were killed.
The target of the last attack was Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidery, general secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F). Attack on a right wing religious party leader may have been surprising for many; however, the head of the JUI-F, Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, too, had escaped unhurt in three different suicide attacks in 2011 and 2014.
The last assassination attempt on Rehman was made on October 23, 2014 in Quetta when a suicide bomber exploded himself outside the rally of JUI-F. The banned outfit, Jundullah Pakistan, had claimed the responsibility of the attack. It was among the few groups who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State back in November 2014.
Militant circles have for long been criticising the JUI-F for showing an undeterred support for the democratic form of government in the country. The extremist organisations that claim to struggle for the revival of Khilafat have no place for democracy in a country. Likewise, in its recently celebrated 100th anniversary, the JUI-F had invited representatives of various faiths — something that was condemned by extremists.
On October 31, 2014 the Home & Tribal Affairs Department of Balochistan issued a letter alerting about Islamic State activities: “It is reliably learnt that Daesh has offered some elements of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat to join hands with it in Pakistan”.
A high ranking intelligence official on condition of anonymity told The News on Sunday that Daesh is more like an umbrella organisation now, trying to attract international attention and getting projection by extending its area of influence. This will catapult it as a formidable terrorist organisation, thereby attracting more hardcore elements.
“IS does not have any militants on ground. Violent organisations like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or Jaish-ul-Islam have subscribed to their ideology or some converts from these and other militant outfits like TTP have joined them, in return for funding and provision of suicide bombers,” he added.
On December 5 last year, an intelligence agency along with the police conducted an operation in Pishin district. During an encounter Jahangir Badeni, the mastermind of the civil hospital blast, along with four others was said to have been killed. After investigation, it was revealed that those killed were affiliated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Almi (LeJA) and Jaish-e-Islam.
A source who was privy to this operation disclosed that the head of the gang was Jahangir Badeni and all the affiliates had pledged allegiance to Islamic State before the execution of the hospital attack.
Following the PTC Quetta attack, Geo.tv spoke to Ali Bin Sufyan, LeJA’s spokesperson and he conceded that “it was a joint venture of LeJA and Islamic State, the suicide bombers were provided by Daesh”.
During early February in an interview to the United States Combating Terrorism Centre (CTC), Commander US Forces in Afghanistan, General John W. Nicholson said, “The Islamic State, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have also formed a loose configuration. So we see these alliances of convenience or coming together where they have complementary goals, and this is one of our big concerns.”
Former IG Balochistan Javed Ali Bukhari who has a sound counter terrorism background said, “Daesh in Pakistan is an extension of Middle East based ISIS. It is a brand and a saleable item these days, that’s why everyone wants to associate himself with it but on ground it is the LeJ that is still active”.
February this year, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Sindh prepared a report titled “Pakistan as a fertile growth area for the Islamic State”. The report says: “Despite the support for the Islamic State among tribal leaders, the group has garnered more support among the general population in Pakistan’s settled areas. Islamic State recruitment appears to be high in Pakistan’s well-off Punjab province as well as in Karachi”. The Counter Terrorism Department’s report further points out, “the focus now is on tribal areas as a likely theatre for IS expansion, but the real threat may come from IS luring individuals to its ideology in urban areas.”
The CTD report further notes the rise in hard-line schools of thought, both within Pakistan and among Pakistanis who work in Gulf countries — a trend that can make individuals more susceptible to Islamic State influence.
The Islamic State’s virulent hatred of Shiism has also contributed to its growth in Pakistan, as the country’s fault lines have allowed militant groups like the now-defunct sectarian terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) to operate. The top anti-Pakistan militant outfit, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is also a deeply sectarian outfit. Some of the TTP’s sub-groups based in different tribal agencies are headed by individuals who were once affiliated with LeJ.
The Pakistani authorities believe that Pakistan is not as easy a target as Afghanistan for the IS. State institutions like Army, Law Enforcement Agencies and intelligence agencies are far more in control and a wave of IS-dominated militancy that would disturb the everyday life of citizens is far-fetched. Isolated incidents might continue to happen though.
“It is the ideology of religious organisations that trickles down to their ranks and file creating sympathies for the IS and other militant organisations,” says Bukhari.
The ultimate objective of Daesh is to attain enough political clout to declare a pan Islamic (sunni) Khilafat. It is a dream of establishing an overarching state all over the Muslim world, removing all disparity, promulgating a system of justice based on Sharia and social welfare. Fueling this ideology are factors like injustice, poverty, unemployment, and lack of response from State. The absence of Madrassa reforms and poor governance in militant infested areas are further exacerbating the mindset of the indoctrinated individuals.
The journey of radicalising youth and women in settled areas of mega cities is another potent threat as there is no major obstacle in its way.
http://tns.thenews.com.pk/daesh/#.WSE-UWiGPIU

May 21, 2017   No Comments

Security situation in South Waziristan deteriorates

by Mushtaq Yusufzai in The News International, Apr 27, 2017

PESHAWAR: The security situation in South Waziristan has started deteriorating again as a senior leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), Ayaz Wazir, was recently kidnapped after he and some other local politicians formed a political alliance and supported merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Senior government officials and tribal sources told The News that Ayaz Wazir was kidnapped in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan, and held at an unknown location. There was no information about the people behind his kidnapping, but tribal sources in Wana said that local Taliban militants, headed by Bahawal Khan aka Salahuddin Ayubi, were behind the act.

“The Taliban have their well-established office in Wana and people approach them in connection with their disputes. They call people to their office and resolve the issues. Those who defy orders are picked up and held in their secret detention centres,” said a tribal elder in Wana.

Pleading anonymity, the tribal elder of Ahmadzai Wazir tribe said the ANP leader was kidnapped from Wana a few days ago and was freed on Tuesday. He said Ayaz Wazir had contested election for the National Assembly seat on ANP ticket from Wana in the 2013 general election.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate, Ghalib Khan had won the election and become the MNA from Wana. Tribal sources said that Ayaz Wazir had carried out his election campaign in difficult circumstances when ANP and its leadership faced serious security threats and could not properly run their electoral campaigns in the 2013 general election both in settled areas and Fata.

Also, recently all local political leadership of different political parties, except Maulana Fazlur Rahamn’s Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, gathered in Wana and formed a political alliance with Ayaz Wazir as president.

The alliance comprising ANP, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), supported Fata’s merger with KP. It unanimously demanded shifting of the offices of the political administration to Wana from Tank district in KP, transparency in utilization of development funds, fair use of funds meant for development schemes and an end to what they termed “harsh and unjustified” taxes imposed by the political administration on all edibles transported to South Waziristan from settled areas of Dera Ismail Khan and Tank.

“The day Ayaz Wazir and other political leaders raised voice for rights of the tribespeople, unknown people kidnapped him. It was a clear message to him and other politicians in South Waziristan and in rest of Fata that there is no place for such activities in the tribal areas,” said a tribal elder.

In the meeting, he said, the political alliance had raised the issue of heavy taxes on edibles imposed by the political agent and handing over of development projects such as schools, basic health units and solar tube-wells to influential Maliks along with vacant positions of Class-IV positions.

“An 80 kilogram bag of flour sold in DI Khan for Rs1,800 was available in Wana for Rs3,000 because of this cruel tax of the political agent. Same is the case with other items as a ghee packet costs Rs1,600 in DI Khan and Rs2,500 in Wana,” said a tribal elder.

ANP leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain confirmed his kidnapping by Taliban and said he was freed later. When reached on phone, Political Agent Zafarul Islam Khattak denied kidnapping reports of the ANP leader.

“It is possible he might have been held by someone due to local disputes and then freed,” he argued. He said the offices of political administration were established in Wana and Tank in 1896 therefore they were following the same rule. He didn’t agree with reports about misuse in funds, but neither denied nor confirmed taxes on edibles.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/201006-Security-situation-in-South-Waziristan-deteriorates

Militant groups finding new ways to evade crackdown: by Zia Ur Rehman in The News,April 27, 2017

Karachi: Monday night’s shootout between Rangers soldiers and suspected militants in the Urdu Bazaar locality suggests that various banned groups have been adopting new strategies to escape the ongoing crackdown on them.

They have been found to be shifting their hideouts from Pashtun-dominated suburban localities to congested parts of the Old City as well as splitting up into smaller cells, some of whom then join up with other banned groups.

On Wednesday evening, residents and traders in the Urdu Bazaar neighbourhood, famous for housing the city’s oldest and premier book market, discussed the exchange of fire between Rangers soldiers and suspected militants.

The paramilitary force killed four members of the proscribed Jundullah in the shootout, an announcement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations had stated on Tuesday.

For shopkeeper Muhammad Ali, who has been living in the Urdu Bazaar area for the past three decades, said that it was the first incident of militants’ presence in the locality.

“Because our area, an Urdu- and Gujarati-speaking neighbourhood, was a stronghold of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, we initially thought the Rangers were here to arrest the party’s militants,” Ali told The News. “But we found out later that hardcore Taliban militants were residing in our locality.”

Shifting hideouts

Investigation in the case suggests that the militants killed in the shootout – Zahid Afridi, with the aliases of Faheem and Hameed, Muhammad Hafeez Ullah Quettawal, Naeem, alias Mama, and Afshan, a facilitator – moved to the Urdu Bazaar area three months ago and rented a flat.

Until the end of 2013, impoverished and lower-income Pashtun neighbourhoods, especially Manghopir, Ittehad Town, Sohrab Goth and Gulshan-e-Buner, were considered the most dangerous areas of the city because of strong Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) presence.

However, after successful crackdown on the TTP and other affiliated militant outfits, law-enforcement and security agencies, especially the Rangers, have been in strong presence and have established their intelligence networks in the militants’ former strongholds.

A senior paramilitary official, who oversees the Manghopir area, said: “Even though the ongoing operation has cleared the area of militant groups, we still man security pickets and run an active intelligence network with the coordination of the local community elders, which is why they [militants] can’t hide in these areas now.”

A Mehsud tribal elder in Manghopir corroborated the claim: “I know that the crackdown in the past two and a half years has weakened the TTP factions and killed most of the key Taliban commanders.”

Senior Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) official Raja Umer Khattab said that because Pashtun-populated suburban localities were in the spotlight of the law-enforcement agencies, militant groups had now shifted their hideouts to non-Pashtun areas, such as Urdu Bazaar.

“They [militants] want to dodge the law-enforcement agencies, but because of strong intelligence networks, they were caught even in such an area.”

Splitting up: Investigation into the Urdu Bazaar shootout suggests that militants have split up into other outfits as part of their strategy to escape the crackdown and dodge the law-enforcement and security agencies.

According to CTD sources, Zahid Afridi, one of the militants killed in the shootout, was associated with the TTP’s Swat chapter in Karachi. After the launch of crackdown in the city, he joined Jundullah and moved to Wadh in Balochistan’s District Khuzdar, where he closely worked with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and al-Qaeda.

However, after the launch of an operation in Wadh, following subversive attacks in northern Sindh, Afridi moved to Karachi and found residence in the Urdu Bazaar locality.
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/200894-Militant-groups-finding-new-ways-to-evade-crackdown

April 27, 2017   No Comments

Eight terrorists killed in Tirah, DI Khan

report in The News International, Apr 27, 2017
JAMRUD: At least six suspected terrorists were killed and as many injured in airstrikes on their hideouts in the strategic Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency, official sources said on Wednesday.

Warplanes decimated at least two hideouts belonging to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the outlawed umbrella of terrorist outfits responsible for most terrorist violence in the country.

One of the hideouts — located in the Rajgal area of Tirah right on the border with Afghanistan — was used by terrorists as an ammunition dump. –Agencies Our correspondent adds from DI Khan: Two terrorists were killed and two policemen policemen sustained injuries in a clash near Dera Ismail Khan, official sources said.

The sources said that a police party was returning to the police station after a search operation in Malana area on Wednesday when the terrorists attacked the bike riders escorting the patrol van in Kat Shahana. “Two cops sustained injuries in the attack. The cops travelling in the patrol vehicle opened fire at the attackers,” an official said.

He added that the cops and terrorists exchanged fire for some time in which the two attackers were killed. The official said that the Rescue 1122 shifted the injured cops to the District Headquarters Hospital in Dera Ismail Khan.www.thenews.com.pk/print/201028-Eight-terrorists-killed-in-Tirah-DI-Khan

Seven militants surrender in Sui

Quetta: Ferrari Commander Wazir Han Bugti surrendered before security forces along with six associates in Sui on Wednesday.
According to security officials, the militant commander Wazir Han alias Naib laid down arms along with his six associates and pledged to work for the country while in the national mainstream.
The sources said tribal elite Haji Khan Muhammad Masoori had played pivotal role in bringing them into national mainstream. The militants who laid down arms were included Sharif alias Mulla, Ali Bakhsh alias Greik, Haso, Lal Bakhsh, Sindhi Khan Samhar.
These Ferraris were involved in attacks on security forces and gas pipelines and were wanted by forces in most heinous crimes.
http://nation.com.pk/national/27-Apr-2017/seven-militants-surrender-in-sui

April 27, 2017   No Comments

Militancy is Bangladesh’s new crisis, Prof Anisuzzaman tells rally

Dhaka, Jan 6, 2016:  Speakers at a rally yesterday called for a social movement to prevent communalism and militancy, and underscored the need for engaging Islamic scholars in it.

War Crimes Facts Finding Committee organised the rally titled “Social Prevention in Restraining Militancy-Terrorism” at the capital’s Jatiya Press Club.

Addressing as chief guest, Professor Emeritus Dr Anisuzzaman said Bangladesh was facing a new crisis — communalism and militancy.

“Our society is not united like 1971. It is divided into many groups and ideologies. In the past, people came out spontaneously to prevent communal riots. We need to bring that spirit back.”

He said a true Muslim did not hurt anayone through his word or action, and Islamic clerics should spread the message.

Chairman of Bangladesh Jamiatul Ulema Parishad Maulana Fariduddin Masud said there was a gap between Islamic clerics and general people, which needed to be reduced to fight militancy.

University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof Abdul Mannan urged Islamic clerics to raise awareness against militancy at mosques.

http://www.thedailystar.net/city/militancy-bangladeshs-new-crisis-197728

January 6, 2016   No Comments

Police deceive freewill couple, book man in kidnap case: Dawn, Oct 23, 2015

Police deceive freewill couple, book man in kidnap case: report in Dawn, October 23rd, 2015
BADIN: The woman who turned up at the Model police station of Badin city on Wednesday for protection after she said she embraced Islam and contracted a freewill marriage with a Muslim man earlier in the day was deceived by the police who did not produce her in court on Thursday morning as they had promised. Instead, they handed her over to her Hindu in-laws, who immediately took her to an undisclosed place.

Ms Rekha, aka Manisha, 23, left her home in Tando Bago to drop her two young children at their school situated within the town on Wednesday morning but proceeded to Badin city and appeared at the Model police station in the evening with Aftab Shar, claiming that they had just contracted a freewill marriage. The couple sought protection fearing some extreme action by her “former” husband, Mohan Lal, and his family members.

After keeping them at the police station overnight and promising that they would be produced in court in the morning, the police handed over the woman to Mr Lal and his family in the early hours of the day and booked Mr Shar for kidnapping the woman. The FIR was lodged by Mr Lal. Mr Shar was also shifted to some unknown place.

Mr Lal’s family along with the woman, who claimed she had changed her name to Aliya Shar, left the town soon after taking her custody.

Sources said that an influential politician based in Jamshoro played a key role in the woman’s handing over to Mr Lal.

When contacted for his comment, Badin SSP Ibrar Hussain Nekokar, who suspended Tando Bago SHO Bukhshal Jamali for his failure to track down the woman within a few hours after she did not return home on Wednesday, claimed that Ms Rekha’s claims about having embraced Islam and contracting a freewill marriage were false. www.dawn.com/news/1214919/police-deceive-freewill-couple-book-man-in-kidnap-case

October 23, 2015   No Comments

Taliban kill 25 militiamen loyal to first Afghan VP Gen. Dostum

Khaama Press, Aug 29 2015, 9:37 am
Kabul: The Taliban militants have killed at least 25 militiamen loyal to first vice president Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum shortly after he left northern Faryab province.

The incident took place in Khwajah Sabz Posh district after a group of the Taliban militants ambushed the militiamen while they were travelling.

The district police chief Mohammad Akbar Bashash said the militiamen were looking to travel to Astana Baba village area which fall to Taliban control yesterday.

In the meantime, a member of the provincial council Mohammad Tahir said at least 22 militiamen and 3 civilians were killed in the ambush.

Gen. Dostum arrived in Sar-e-Pul province late on Thursday afternoon after concluding a major military operation in northern Faryab province.

Gen. Dostum called on anti-government armed militants in the restive northern Sar-e-Pul province to surrender or face death upon his arrival in this province.

Faryab is among the volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in its various districts and frequently carry out insurgency activities.

Gen. Dostum survived at least two assassination plots by the anti-government armed militant groups while he was leading counter-terrorism operations in Faryab.

The convoy of the First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum was ambushed by the Taliban in militants in Qaisar district of northern Faryab province last week.

Another plot to assassinate Gen. Dostum was thwarted by the security forces and special security guards of the Vice President three days after the failed attack.

At least three suicide bombers were arrested earlier on Monday tonight from the vicinity of Gen. Dostum’s residence in Qaisar district.http://www.khaama.com/taliban-kill-25-militiamen-loyal-to-first-vice-presidet-gen-dostum-1448

2.  Over 100 Taliban killed in military operation launched to retake Musa Qala District
Khaama Press, Aug 29 2015, 9:32 am
Kabul: Officials say over 100 Taliban militants have been killed in the ongoing military operation in Musa Qala District of southern Helmand province.

Omar Zwak, spokesman for the governor of Helmand province says that fresh troops have been deployed to Musa Qala District to clear it from Taliban.

He said ground forces are successfully moving forward on militant positions with the support of the air strikes.

In the meantime, Lt. Col. Mohammad Rasoul Zazai who is the spokesman for 215th Maiwand Military Corps says that 110 militants have been killed and 28 others wounded in these operations so far.

Musa Qala District fall to Taliban hands three days before after severe clashes with security forces.

Mohammad Sharif Khan, the district governor said that security forces resisted with Taliban until their last bullet but when they ran out of ammos and food Taliban captured the district.

While talking to media on Wednesday, Khan mentioned that security forces were surrounded by Taliban for several days but they did not receive assistance which finally led to the fall of the District.

He had also said that a number of security forces embraced martyrdom in clashes. However, he did not have a specific number.http://www.khaama.com/over-100-taliban-killed-in-helmands-musa-qala-district-3837
3.   22 ALP members killed in Taliban ambush in Faryab: report in Afghanistan Times, Aug 28, 2015
KABUL: At least 22 Afghan Local Police (ALP) members and three civilians have been killed in an ambush of the Taliban militants in northwestern Farayb province, said local officials.

Muhammad Tahir Rahmani, a member of Faryab provincial council, said that a convoy of 40 ALP members was on their way to Shirin Tagab district the other day when they came under attack.

“Taliban militants killed 22 policemen and three civilians in the ambush,” TOLOnews quoted Rahmani as saying.
He added that the ALP members wanted to travel to Shirin Tagab district to provide back up support to security forces fighting against the Taliban militants.

He blamed the concerned authorities of turning blind eye towards such incidents. “The government is not capable of supporting Afghan troops who are fighting days and nights to ensure security and safety of their country and countrymen,” he said.

Rozi Muhammad, an ALP member who managed to escape the ambush said that all the ALP members were from Khwaja Sabzposh district of the province. He said that most of the killed ALP members were either his relatives or family members.http://afghanistantimes.af/22-alp-members-killed-in-taliban-ambush-in-faryab/

August 29, 2015   No Comments