The files of every Pakistani detainee held at Guantanamo were released by WikiLeaks on Thursday which reveal the linkages between political and religious leaders calling on Pakistanis to join the ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan.
In their assessments, detainees pointed to public speeches made at rallies by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman. In one detainee’s file, JUI was assessed to be a ‘terrorist organisation’ that operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The JI is listed as an associated force with which the al Qaeda or the Taliban have or had a relationship. Qazi and Fazl were cited as holding “organised public rallies for the purpose of soliciting supporters and volunteers to participate in the jihad against the US and northern alliance”.
While most detainees appeared to have been recruited by the Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HUJI), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad, others had gone to Afghanistan to look for work and were recruited by the Taliban as cooks and drivers.
One detainee said he had decided to “leave for jihad in Afghanistan after hearing Mufti Atique speak in Karachi in late September 2001”.
The role of the alleged ‘rogue’ ISI units in detaining suspects at Guantanamo Bay and in the fighting in Afghanistan has been stated by several detainees, and was evident in the release of new files by the WikiLeaks.
Detainee Ziaul Shah told authorities that his direct supervisor in the Afghan Taliban was a man named Qari Saleem, who may have been Qari Saleem Ahmed, the commander of the ‘Taliban Punjabi’ force in Kunduz. He was reportedly arrested around 1999 for being a member of the Harkatul Mujahideen, HUJI and LeT with “connections to subversive elements of the ISI”.
Aminullah Amin, who said he had been arrested from a sidewalk café in Chaman in December 2001, told Guantanamo authorities that he could have bought his release for Rs100,000 from the ISI since it was common knowledge that many of the Taliban had paid off the ISI in order to be freed, and that the ISI solicited and accepted bribes from prisoners.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2011.