Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the state

Published: November 14, 2011

Pakistan has been seemingly trying not to fight terrorists attached to al Qaeda for various reasons. PHOTO: EXPRESS/ FILE

The Pir Chambal shrine strike in Pind Dadan Khan on November 12 by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) should disturb Pakistan because of what it means in terms of the country’s capacity to fight al Qaeda. The LeJ is a sectarian (anti-Shia, anti-Iran) terrorist organisation closely aligned with al Qaeda, together with the Tehreek-e-Taliban and Jundallah. The Pir Chambal killers kidnapped a group of Military Intelligence (MI) personnel and wanted their men released from prison as ransom, but in the ensuing operation against them they killed all of their hostages. Pakistan has been seemingly trying not to fight the terrorists attached to al Qaeda for various reasons and has been relying on other national hate objects like the US, India and Israel, to deflect attention. In this incident, too, there were reports that sympathetic elements from within the Pind Dadan Khan police had forewarned the terrorists about the coming operation that led to the capture and death of the MI personnel. More significantly, the terrorists were hiding in the Chambal hills for many months and the local police must have had information of this.

The LeJ is the sectarian face of al Qaeda but its main function is to engage in kidnapping for ransom in all the big cities of Pakistan to fill the fast-depleting coffers of its parent organisation. When the military spokesman of the ISPR tells us that the army has broken the back of al Qaeda, he leaves LeJ out. In one case after the other, the courts have convicted LeJ members for abducting people, especially those who are Ahmadis, but the image of the LeJ somehow never takes the sort of beating it should. After its founder, Malik Ishaq, was let off by the courts and ultimately released from a Lahore prison, a flurry of sectarian deaths followed, in particular two gruesome incidents in Balochistan where dozens of Shia Hazara were targeted and killed. Any outside observer would think that the state of Pakistan seemingly has a level of tolerance for these minions of al Qaeda that should arouse suspicion.

Late prime minister Benazir Bhutto was convinced before her death that attempts would be made on her life by the Musharraf establishment through the LeJ on the basis of the interface it enjoyed with it. A Pakistani journalist who interviewed Ms Bhutto after the Karachi attempt on her life, quoted her thus: “I have come to know after investigations by my own sources that the October 18 bombing was masterminded by some highly-placed officials in the Pakistani security and intelligence establishments who had hired an al Qaeda-linked militant — Maulvi Abdul Rehman Otho alias Abdul Rehman Sindhi — to execute the attack. Three local militants were hired to carry out the attack under the supervision of Abdul Rehman Sindhi, an al Qaeda-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant from the Dadu district of Sindh”. She ultimately died at the hands of another al Qaeda attachment — the Tehreek-e-Taliban.

There are four factors that force Pakistan to lean on its indoctrinated sense of insecurity to ignore the real danger confronting it from within: 1) lack of writ of the state; 2) presence of foreign terrorists on its soil; 3) affirmation of the ideology of the terrorists by the ideology of the state; and 4) the ‘contamination’ of the establishment from the more stringent doctrines embraced by the terrorists. The indoctrinated sense of insecurity which covers up for the reluctance to fight the terrorists is the textbook designation of India and Israel as enemy states and the latest media-led campaign against America according to which the US backs the other two and intends to snatch Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Most Pakistanis are aware of the change this conduct of the state is bringing about. They call it the rise of extremism. But any diagnosis of how this has been brought about will not fail to indicate that it is the impunity enjoyed by the terrorists. There is Pakistan’s vast madrassa network to endorse the strict ideology of the terrorists and there is a response from within the state institutions in the shape of ‘penetration’. The world is increasingly worried about this symbiosis of terrorists with the Pakistani state and society, simply because an isolationist state relentlessly points to ‘external’ enemies who are to be fought first.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • najib moha
    Nov 15, 2011 - 3:17AM

    God save my country.

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  • Pakistani
    Nov 15, 2011 - 9:07AM

    May God save our country from these cowards.

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  • Lord
    Nov 15, 2011 - 10:39AM

    Faces of pakistani extremism.

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  • abbas
    Nov 15, 2011 - 11:16AM

    You will be soon no where on the face of earth LEJ, Allah’s azaab is not far away from killers like you.

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  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Nov 15, 2011 - 12:20PM

    We should all Thank Zia-Ul-Haq & Co (including the present rulers of Punjab) along with the Arabs for this gift!!!!!

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  • Asif Maalik
    Nov 15, 2011 - 3:30PM

    In my opinion until an efficient combat operation against sympathetic elements within the police, intelligence and government is not done, terrorists will be achieving their targets incessantly. Basic responsibility of this episode goes to the interior ministry of Punjab under which jurisdiction jihadis seem able to find a safe heaven for themselves. Then federal government with the coordination of army must review its strategy and operations against terrorists. Otherwise there will be no option but to allow drone strikes on the targets in other parts of the country because it is a bitter fact that in Waziristan drone attacks has successfully wipe out major high-value targets besides killings of some innocents which is inescapable in war game. Recommend

  • RoyalHumanist
    Nov 15, 2011 - 10:59PM

    Religious Terrorism and Mullahism is very organized while Western Democracy is inherently weak and disorganized in Pakistan. Normally, after every 5 years govt. changes with it all the policies change;. In between elections, there is continuous poélitical civil war between the parties: The politicians contact the religious mafia for votes and on coming to power cooperate in their activities… The solution is Constitutional monarchy with Parliament of Reps and Experts as ministers….!

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  • Aitzaz
    Nov 16, 2011 - 7:16PM

    As long as officer appointments will be made on the basis of a person’s political backing strength, this should go on. It makes a really gruesome reading to know that such dangerous factions are at large. Even disturbing is the fact that neither the Army nor any other civil Law-enforcement institution is ready to take some punitive action against these peace-haters. Wish there was a revolution or an altogether wash-out or a reset button.

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