Difa-e-Pakistan Part 1/2: Jihadis itch for resurgence

Published: February 11, 2012

Religious leaders, some from banned outfits, join hands to ‘save Pakistan’.

LAHORE: 

In December, Kashmiri hardliners, sectarianism-fanning extremists and Taliban-sympathisers were seen holding hands together on stage in Lahore under a banner decorated with images of arms, ammunition and a call for ‘Jihad’.

Since then, the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (Defence of Pakistan Council) movement has gained momentum across Pakistan and their leaders seem unperturbed by serious accusations against them. “Even if we were banned, we cannot just sit around and see this country go up in flames,” says Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, chief of banned religious group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), which now operates under a changed name, Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ).

His group is not alone in urging Pakistanis to rise up. Under the auspices of Maulana Samiul Haq, chairman of Difa-e-Pakistan, over 40 different religious leaders, including those from ASWJ and Jamatud Dawa (JuD), held a meeting on October 12 last year in Lahore.

After this, Difa-e-Pakistan issued a statement saying that the President House is a hostage to the Americans, and appealed to the Supreme Court of Pakistan to force Parliament to abide by article 245 of the Constitution, which states that the country’s military be called in to defend Pakistan.

Party leaders say their agenda is to free Pakistan from American and Indian aggression by putting pressure on the current government. The group also released a 10-point agenda. One of the points is a warning sent to all “anti-Islamic, secular, liberal hypocrites inside Pakistan.” They also announced complete support for those fighting in ‘Occupied Kashmir’ as well as the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Difa-e-Pakistan may be a new name, but its roots lie in the movement started by its current chairman in the wake of attacks on Afghanistan by Western forces.

“At that time our brothers needed our support against the American crusade, so we took a stand for them,” says Maulana Samiul Haq, the 75-year-old former member of the National Assembly. The group he made at the time was known as the Pak-Afghan Council (PAC) but later, this group joined politics by merging into an Islamic alliance known as Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal, which formed the government in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa under the Musharraf regime.

Samiul Haq currently heads a religious political party, Jamiat Ulema-Islam-S (JUI-S), and also runs a madrassa in Akora Khattak, a religious seminary that was frequented by the Afghan Taliban before 2001, a claim he denies.

Besides him, other prominent members include Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, both of whom have come under local and international scrutiny due to their perceived connections with terrorist activities.

Jamatwud Dawa, currently on the United Nations list of banned organisations, is accused of involvement in the Mumbai attacks in 2008 that killed at least 166 people. Its chief, Hafiz Saeed, changed the organisation’s name from Jamatud Dawa to Falaah-e-Insaaniyat, but after he was set free by courts due to lack of evidence, his organisation now operates under the JuD banner openly throughout Pakistan.

The group dates back to the early eighties and its spokesperson, Yahya Mujahid, was widely quoted in the press as the spokesperson for Lashkar-e-Taiba in the 1990s, which is a globally banned ‘jihadi’ organisation.

Then there is Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which, says an intelligence officer who does not wish to be named, was SSP’s militant wing before it broke away. Its head, Malik Ishaq, when released from prison last year, was received by the head of ASWJ, Ahmed Ludhianvi, who stated at that time that Ishaq will continue his struggle peacefully.

But the intelligence official does not believe this. “Different smaller groups linked with LeJ are still involved in sectarian violence across Pakistan,” he says. Ishaq who spent more than a decade in jail, after being accused of involvement in more than 70 killings, was present at the last gathering of Difa-e-Pakistan in Multan. Samiul Haq, though, acknowledges the implications of standing in the same row with those accused of international and local terrorism. “I will keep a check on them and make sure they don’t do anything wrong,” he states.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2012.

Reader Comments (44)

  • marty
    Feb 11, 2012 - 10:26AM

    Uncle should drone them.

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  • Devils advice
    Feb 11, 2012 - 10:29AM

    Difa e pakistan OR Dafan e pakistan

    They are leading this nation to destructive mode.
    God bless you

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  • Niaz Ahmed
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:02AM

    This country was made in the name of Islam and Insha’Allah by following Islamic teachings only we can defend it. What is seen by a Muslim as destruction is seen by a secular person as success and vice versa. They can never agree on anything. Both the groups are strategically and psychologically different, they interpret in a different way and they see things in a different way.

    The Islamist has a strong argument of having knowledge of heavenly guidance which the other group lack, rather they just talk from their logic, experience and sense. The secular group has no Heavenly Guidance at all in the shape of Quran or Sunnah of the Prophet Sallalahu alaihay wassalam. But they always claim to know them more than the Islamist and when it comes to the test they can’t even recite Surah Ikhlas.

    So be sure that everyone will rest with those whom they admire, follow and idealize.

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  • Doosam
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:08AM

    where is Kaptaan Khan? will he not join this holy alliance?

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  • John B
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:49AM

    Guantanamo Bay is nearly empty. If PAK wants, they can ship them there.

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  • ali
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:53AM

    We NEED this alliance to save Pakistan!

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  • feroze
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:58AM

    Its fools like this who have brought this country to near destruction. Where is the Government? Where is the Judiciary? Where is the civil society? These people should be locked up for life and the keys thrown away! How can banned outfits so openly flout the law and not be taken to task for spreading hate…..they are an insult to Islam and to Pakistan!

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  • Javed
    Feb 11, 2012 - 12:07PM

    @Doosam:
    PTI is already a part of Difa-e-Pakistan and always sends a delegation to its gatherings.

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  • Altaf Hussain, Mumbai
    Feb 11, 2012 - 12:34PM

    This article does NOT name the organisation on whose support Difa-e-Pakistan is standing. That organisation is above law in Pakistan. So ladies and gentlemen, please do not waste your breath on how these guys are allowed to preach hate so brazenly.

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  • Jehanzeb
    Feb 11, 2012 - 12:34PM

    Even more disturbing is the phenomenon of apparently non-religious elements (do I need to name names?) joining hand with these extremists and becoming apologies to the jihadist agenda of Difa-e-Pakistan Council. I suppose they are ready to jump into bed with mullahs to propogate theirobsessive anti-Americanism.

    If anything Pakistan needs to be defended foremost and first against thesevery fanatics who have no qualm in selling out Pakistan to their Arab benefactors in the name of religion. They have done in past and will continue to pursue their supra-national utopia. We need less of religion-inspired policies if Pakistan is to survive as a modern nation-state. Else, we are will continue to edge towards complete Talibanisation.

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  • Talha
    Feb 11, 2012 - 12:42PM

    @Niaz Ahmed:

    How do you know that they have heavenly guidance?

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  • Muslim
    Feb 11, 2012 - 12:47PM

    We oppose and condemn american insurgency in Pakistan and Afghanistan and warrant them to understand the sentiments of Muslim community around the globe and in the same time preach these ignorant organisations to ‘Please please except the Islam, great religion of the world’ because they are not thought to be Muslims yet as per their acts.

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  • Feb 11, 2012 - 12:50PM

    Its a good block I suppose. JI needed a platform to do the electoral politics – they will gain a lot from this Recommend

  • Irshad Khan
    Feb 11, 2012 - 12:55PM

    It is apparent and has been indicated at several places that this new group has been formed, protected, promoted and funded by the Pun-jab Government to achieve their political goals, no matter what results or repercussions are made on the future of Pakistan.

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  • saleem
    Feb 11, 2012 - 12:56PM

    I have to say it again, its good they are all under one group, now the whole world knows and we should also know who is responsible for all the terrorists acts

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  • Parvez
    Feb 11, 2012 - 12:57PM

    As you sow, so shall you reap – The so called establishment will never accept their mistakes and the people and the country suffer.

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  • Masood Khan
    Feb 11, 2012 - 1:02PM

    To Niaz Ahmed,

    It’s incorrect to state that Pakistan was made in the name of Islam. You can’t establish a theological state with 15% minorities (in 1947). It’s very clear from Qaid-e-Azam’ speech of August 11, 1947. If Islam would have been the binding force, then how do we describe creation of Bangladesh, what about bloodshed in Baluchistan. Religion shall not be used to exploit general public for political gains.

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  • Asif Maalik
    Feb 11, 2012 - 1:02PM

    Godfathers of these ‘strategic assets’ once again have fielded them to secure their vested interests. Will our Interior Minister Mr. Rehman Malik explain how these banned elements are allowed to stage a show in our Metropolitan city? And why MQM did not show any resistance despite jehadis were being accommodated whereas MQM was the only voice against Talibanization in Karachi.

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  • Mard-e-Haq
    Feb 11, 2012 - 1:12PM

    While Difa-e-Pakistan Council concentrates on Kashmir Jihad, we will lose Balochistan. It’s happened before with East Pakistan. I am really skeptical about this jihad thing. Sorry bros & sis, I can’t see anything good coming out of this ulema lot. They only talk about Pakistani territory on one end while it gets bombed on the opposite flank by US drones.

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  • Paagla
    Feb 11, 2012 - 2:09PM

    Those JuD freaks wall chalked my my house the next day it was painted! They are abusing islam themselves and are expecting that people will follow them.Recommend

  • faraz
    Feb 11, 2012 - 2:15PM

    They are afraid their dollar jihad might come to an end

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  • Hafeez
    Feb 11, 2012 - 2:29PM

    “Party leaders say their agenda is to free Pakistan from American and Indian aggression by putting pressure on the current government. The group also released a 10-point agenda. One of the points is a warning sent to all “anti-Islamic, secular, liberal hypocrites inside Pakistan.” They also announced complete support for those fighting in ‘Occupied Kashmir’ as well as the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
    Wow. Reminds me of the times back in 80s when civilians were being motivated for jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan, while our army was busy making new defense housing societies, banks, fertilizer companies and even bakeries. I hope people don’t get fooled anymore. I hope people would ask the leadership of Difa-e-Pakistan, that who they think is the real power broker in Pakistan who made all these deals with Americans: certainly not the political/civilian government.

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  • Feb 11, 2012 - 2:29PM

    Hafiz Saeed is good but Malik Ishaq is unacceptable

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  • FJ
    Feb 11, 2012 - 2:47PM

    Say NO to Saudi funded Difa e Pakistan!!

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  • shuweikh
    Feb 11, 2012 - 3:04PM

    @FJ:
    say no to PPP MQM ANP. Yes to Difa e Pakistan

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  • Hadi Ansari
    Feb 11, 2012 - 3:08PM

    Pakistan was or was not created in the of Islam is like chicken and egg situation.Israel was surely created in the name of religion.Both Pakistan and Israel have been living in fear with no peace worth mentioning since their inception.
    If Pakistan were created in the name of Islam then it’s name should have been different because the word ‘P’ has no equavalant inArabic ,the language of our beautiful religion.
    My point is that Islam is not about hating or killing people.It believes in peace and coexistence which is conveniently ignored by religious leaders.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Feb 11, 2012 - 3:22PM

    @Ambreen:

    Hafiz Saeed is good but Malik Ishaq is
    unacceptable

    I could as well say, “Snakes is good but, fangs and poison are unacceptable

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  • Hassan Naqvi
    Feb 11, 2012 - 3:40PM

    All these butchers are now together to save Pakistan, it is a dilemma for us.

    Malik Ishaq, the one who is involved in more than 100 sectarian killings, is coming forward to save our boundaries. He is the one who was held responsible by security agencies for the attack on Sri-Lankan cricket team, the incident that forced ICC to refrain from playing in Pakistan.

    I wish that people of Pakistan should denounce any factor that is going to de-stabilize Pakistan in any form.

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  • vasan
    Feb 11, 2012 - 3:42PM

    With friends like this mob, do pakistanis need enemies??

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  • Aamir
    Feb 11, 2012 - 3:43PM

    We have heard a lot about US funding of these group in the past. Once friend of US during Afghan war against Soviets.

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  • s shah
    Feb 11, 2012 - 3:47PM

    @jahanzeb. I totally agree. I am also very disappointed that PTI had been a part of this crazy outfit and continues to be a part of this organization at this time.

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  • Akhtar
    Feb 11, 2012 - 5:26PM

    To my Paki brothers, Pakistan is deemed to be a muslim state carved out of Bharat. So this is how a Islamic state is meant to be. Jinnah created the state for Muslims & for a true Muslim jihad is part of life. If you don’t like it, you are free to go else where.

    Can you name one political party opposes to Difa e Pakistan? PPP, PML, PTI, MQM, JI? None. Because 90% of us support Islam & the noble cause of jihad! It’s only the liberal extremist who oppose & the police should start investigating Blasphemy against them!

    Liberals must know that 90% of Pakistani’s will lay down their lives for Islam! Let ET do a survey in all major cities from Quetta to Karachi & publish the results! The liberal extremists are far outnumbered by normal & conservative Muslims which is why you hardly find any support for tasseer’s except in comments section of ET!

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  • dv sikka
    Feb 11, 2012 - 5:37PM

    If these people have any love for Pakistan or Islam they should think of making Pakistan a properous country. They should go after the corrupt who are draining Pakistan of its precious resources. By terrorising everybody within or outside Pakistan they will make it DAFA-e-Pakistan, end of Pakistan.
    Pakistan has tremendous potential of being an industrial giant. Stop hate policies, think of the welfare of your people. Make Pakistan a peaceful, peace loving and prosperous country. People deserve it.

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 11, 2012 - 7:38PM

    @Mard-e-Haq:
    “While Difa-e-Pakistan Council concentrates on Kashmir Jihad, we will lose Balochistan. It’s happened before with East Pakistan.”

    It has not stopped with 1971. It still continues and in recent times Pakistan had almost lost the Swat Valley in their quest for Kashmir Valley.

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  • Ak
    Feb 11, 2012 - 7:39PM

    @Niaz Ahmed: being secular doesn’t mean one has to be less religious. Gandhi was a paragon of secularism but was deeply religious. Being secular means that one is tolerant and accomodating towards other beliefs.

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  • Feb 11, 2012 - 7:42PM

    Haven’t these terrorists clad in religious attires damned this nation enough already that they want to start an all new chapter? They are a perfect embodiment of everything that is wrong with this nation. Lacking tolerance, rationality and common sense, these fanatics have long tooled religion to further their political and social influence.

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  • Ali-Wali
    Feb 11, 2012 - 8:52PM

    What protection these type of people will provide! Pakistan is well defended already, these nothings are like pan on chess board.Recommend

  • Pollack
    Feb 11, 2012 - 9:57PM

    @Ambreen: i hope you are not the most liberal person in Pakistan.

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  • Feb 11, 2012 - 10:05PM

    Firstly, I thank all the readers for the immense feedback. Your thought are always good to know. Secondly, my request to the readers is wait for the second part, which will be published tomorrow, before you make up your mind about this movement. That will give the readers a better understanding of what is actually happening.
    Regards,
    Taha Siddiqui
    Author
    Email: tahassiddiqui@gmail.com
    Twitter: @TahaSSiddiqui

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  • Arjun
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:04PM

    If wishes were horses, jihadis would ride(all the way to Srinigar).

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  • ahmed
    Feb 11, 2012 - 11:55PM

    @Akhtar: Who says, pakistan will get talibanized ?? It has already happened… :(

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  • Lawaning
    Feb 12, 2012 - 9:40AM

    Gys, gys, Hold your horses. As Mr. Siddiqi said, Samil Ul Haq isheading this notrious groups, can you imagine, how come such brandishing of jihadist slogans can prop un in the middle of Lahore? Look my friends, this is share hypcracy. ON the one hand our state, let me say again our state fifght the terrorists on the borders with Afghanistan but their leaders are free to challange the whole world and the liberals like us inside this country. A new game plan is in offing, believe me. Pakistan is gona to become the new war zone and this time the war would not be between Chian and American but between Sunni and Shia. One would be financed by Saudi and headed by Pakistan and the other financed and headed by Iran. Be ready.

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  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Feb 12, 2012 - 11:08AM

    Where are Blessed Drones ?????

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  • Waqas
    Feb 12, 2012 - 7:26PM

    Looking at the news and the comments here, how many people favour Difa-e-Pakistan groups, for us non-muslims Pakistanis, there is no hope anymore. So for humanity and safety sake, lets leave Pakistan for ever!

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