Using terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e Jhangvi and the SSP, the Saudis want to create a permanent breach between Shias and Sunnis in order to check the influence of Islamic Iran.
February 23, 2013, 08:00 EST
Pakistani authorities have detained Malik Ishaq, head of the banned terrorist outfit, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ). In announcing the arrest on Friday February 22, the police said he would be detained for one month for questioning. Ishaq was picked up from his home in the southern Punjab city of Rahim Yar Khan and taken to a local jail.
Lashkar-e Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the twin terrorist attacks in Quetta on January 10 and February 16 respectively that resulted in the deaths of 125 and 98 people, almost all of them members of the Shia Hazara community in Baluchistan. Hundreds of others were wounded.
Ishaq was detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law on the orders of the Punjab provincial government, according to Tanveer Ahmad, a senior police official in Rahim Yar Khan. A spokesman for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in Punjab, Pervaiz Rasheed, confirmed the news.
“There were complaints against him, that he had been making provocative speeches in the past month,” Rasheed said. Provocative is too simplistic a term; the man was involved in inciting sectarian hatred using vile language against the Shias accusing them of all kinds of terrible things. Such hateful language was bound to incite people—the very purpose of his inflammatory rhetoric—to attack the Shias. Last year, Ishaq was briefly detained for fanning sectarian hatred. He is also believed to have masterminded attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009.
Ishaq denied any involvement in the Quetta attacks but his outfit, banned as a terrorist organization by the Pakistani government as far back as August 2001, has taken responsibility for both attacks. How Ishaq could deny involvement in the Quetta terrorist attacks defies logic. Police records show that Ishaq was involved in more than 40 cases relating to sectarianism and terrorism in which 70 people, most of them Shias, were killed in the past. He was released from prison in July 2011 after spending 14 years behind bars because the charges could “not be proved”. Many informed observers viewed this as a deliberate failure of the government to produce evidence that would secure Ishaq’s conviction.
Pakistani intelligence agencies have described the Lashkar-e Jhangvi and its parent organization, the Sepah-e Sahaba, as the most serious threat to Pakistani state security. While both organizations have been involved in a series of terrorist attacks, their wrath is especially directed against the Shia community in Pakistan. These outfits have been responsible for killing Iranian diplomats (Sadiq Ganji, Iran’s Cultural Attache in Lahore, for instance) as well as Iranian air force cadets as they were traveling in a bus in Rawalpindi. Members of the Pakistani Shia community have also been targeted regularly.
Lashkar-e Jhangvi emerged in 1996 after three members of Sepah-e Sahaba—Riaz Basra, Akram Lahori and Malik Ishaq—split from the parent group because they felt the SSP had deviated from the line of its founder, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, who himself was killed in 1990. The terrible trio felt the SSP had become soft and was not killing enough Shias. Both groups have been involved in the most gruesome acts of terror against innocent people. They maintain close links with other terrorist outfits around the region and are believed to receive massive funding from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The first two, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, have become fountainheads of sectarianism around the world with Pakistan their particular target because the influence of the Islamic Revolution can be felt most strongly as a result of cultural and geographic affinity.
Using terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e Jhangvi and the SSP, the Saudis want to create a permanent breach between Shias and Sunnis in order to check the influence of Islamic Iran. The Americans, Zionists and Indians have also joined the Saudis for their own nefarious agendas in the region. A few weeks ago, a Zionist agent of Pakistani origin was arrested in Lahore. He confessed to having organized a terrorist ring in Pakistan and admitted to having killed more than 200 Pakistani security personnel on direct instructions from his Zionist masters in Occupied Palestine.
The Americans have for years played a double game in Pakistan. This was most clearly demonstrated by the Raymond Davis affair of January 2011 but prior to that the US terrorist outfit Blackwater (since renamed Xe Services) has been involved in many terrorist acts. The tragedy is that these criminal enterprises are able to recruit Pakistanis to do their dirty work. There are many retired military officers as well as civil servants and journalists on their payroll working against the interests of Pakistan.
What is even more disturbing is that human rights organizations have accused the Pakistan army and its intelligence agencies of maintaining links with Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. They point to the fact that the army had used Ishaq to negotiate with the terrorists who had attacked the military headquarters in October 2009 killing a number of military personnel. Ishaq’s subsequent release from jail in 2011 was seen as a quid quo pro for facilitating the deal. This was preceded in 2008 by the escape of Lashkar-e Janghvi’s operational commander in Baluchistan, Usman Saifullah Kurd from a detention facility in the military Cantonment in Quetta. How could he escape from the military cantonment without inside help, observers have asked.
It is yet to be seen whether this time, Ishaq would receive his just dessert or this will be game as usual and he will walk free after a few weeks or months in jail where he is given five-star treatment? In the murky world of espionage and using people for various agendas, it is the innocents that always suffer. In this instance, it is the Hazaras of Quetta that are paying the price together with other members of the Shia community in Pakistan.