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Fighting Insurgencies: Religious

& Sectarian Dynamics


Confidential Material: Not for public distribution, circulation or sale outside the BrassTacks
authorized end users.

© 2008 BrassTacks. All rights reserved.


By Zaid Hamid
This document is protected by copyright. No part of it may be reproduced, or transmitted, in
any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without the written permission of
BrassTacks.

The information in this document is furnished for informational use only. Great care has been
taken to maintain the accuracy of the information contained in this document. However,
neither BrassTacks nor the authors can be held responsible for errors or for any consequences
arising from the use of the information contained herein.

brasstacks@dsl.net.pk

© 2008 BrassTacks. All Rights Reserved

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Confidential Material: Not for public distribution, circulation or sale outside the BrassTacks
authorized end users.

© 2008 BrassTacks. All rights reserved.

This document is protected by copyright. No part of it may be reproduced, or transmitted, in


any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without the written permission of
BrassTacks.

The information in this document is furnished for informational use only. Great care has been
taken to maintain the accuracy of the information contained in this document. However,
neither BrassTacks nor the authors can be held responsible for errors or for any consequences
arising from the use of the information contained herein.

brasstacks@dsl.net.pk

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Fighting Insurgencies: Religious and Sectarian
Dynamics

Pakistan is in a state of war, fighting an asymmetric high intensity war within its own
borders against an Indian backed terrorist insurgency with a religious facade, which is
based in the remote tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, and is waging a ruthless,
decentralized war against the State as well as the civilian population in the mainland,
urban environment. In the last 3 years alone, on the average, Pakistan has suffered a
suicide attack, a bomb explosion, or an attack on the security forces, almost on daily
basis. Hundreds of the finest officers and soldiers, as well as thousands of civilians
have given their lives in a war, which has cast a staggering toll on Pakistan's economy
and society. At least 3 serving Army Generals, many Brigadiers and other senior
military officers have died in ambushes, suicide attacks and assaults by the insurgent
militants on military and civil installations in major cities of Pakistan. Regional
offices of Pakistan's military led Intelligence agency, ISI have been attacked. Even
GHQ was attacked for an audacious attempt at targeting military leadership. At one
point in Swat, almost 2.5 million people had to leave their homes in a mass migration
to allow Pakistan army to conduct military operations in an area larger than England.
Cantonment and sensitive areas of Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi give
the looks of cities under fortress defenses. Universities, hospitals, hotels, bazaars,
funeral ceremonies, Masjids, schools – none have escaped the most ruthless and
bloody war by the TTP terrorists. Till 2007 and 2008, the TTP was wreaking its reign
of terror almost unchecked, with large regions of Swat valley and FATA under their
influence. But then the army began to put a clamp on this new form of 4th generation
war, although the Pakistan army was not initially trained for this kind of warfare
mentally, emotionally, militarily or logistically. Fighting a high intensity, counter
insurgency war inside its own borders, in an urban environment, within the cities, was
not the form of warfare any army would want to fight. Despite the lack of any
previous experience to fight such a war, Pakistan army performed with stunning
success, breaking the back of the insurgency in Swat, capturing the South Waziristan
bastion of the terrorists and taking back almost all regions of FATA, which were
previously under the terrorists' control. However, it's not over yet and the war
continues in remote tribal regions as well as in the cities where insurgents regularly
cause chaos, assassinations and bomb attacks. The centre of gravity for the terrorists
is in Afghanistan from where they get their weapons, money and are provided
sanctuaries – backed by CIA, Afghan regime and Indian RAW. So far, Pakistan has
been fighting a reactive war within its own borders and has left the safe havens of the
insurgents untouched inside Afghanistan.

On another axis, on a lesser intensity, CIA, RAW and Afghan RAMA have stirred up
another insurgency in Baluchistan by supporting the Secular Marxist Pakistani
Baluch Separatists, seeking to break Baluchistan away from Pakistan. The mode of
operations against the State include, blowing up gas pipelines, destroying power

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cables and State infrastructures as well as attacking security forces and assassinating
non-Baluch settlers from the rest of the country. Baluchistan constitutes of 42% area
of Pakistan but comprises of only 4% of population divided between Pashtuns,
Baluchis, Makranis, Brahwis and Sindhis. With only a small segment of Baluch
falling under the spell of armed insurgency and also due to the remoteness of the
region, the situation in Baluchistan, due to BLA/BRA militancy is not as critical as it
is due to the TTP insurgency but still, it is a serious menace. Military has not been
used in Baluchistan as yet and only Para military forces, Police and local militias
have been performing the security duties.

Apart from the two, above mentioned, active armed insurgencies, there are secular
political parties which have armed wings and also have separatist agendas and have
been involved in urban violence, especially in Karachi. Both MQM and ANP
maintain armed militias in the city and though they hold positions in the government
also, they are waging a ruthless and brutal war of assassinations and counter
assassinations on the streets of Karachi. Both MQM and ANP are fondly close to
India and reject the creation of Pakistan as a State and have dismissed the Islamic
ideology of Pakistan. ANP especially had been instrumental since 1947 to dismember
Pakistan on ethnic Pashtun lines. Lately, MQM and its leader Altaf Hussein has also
been vocal against the creation of Pakistan and has even suggested “reunification”,
basically suggesting that India should take control of Pakistan! In future, both these
parties could become a major threat and indulge in active insurgencies, especially in
Karachi and urban Sindh. For now, while they remain in power politically and are
allies of the PPP government, they are also playing the assassination game in a turf
war and are keeping their armed wings as insurance against any government or
military operation against them in the future.

Both these axes of insurgencies – religious and secular – have their own dynamics
and demand separate analysis and response on psychological, political and military
plains. The total and complete failure of the Pakistani government, media and civil
law enforcement managers, can be judged from the fact that despite facing an
existential threat from armed insurgencies, Pakistan still does not have an anti-
terrorism policy. The Parliament has not passed a single resolution on terrorism in the
last 10 years and the composite collapse of the judicial system is evident from the fact
that not a single terrorist has been sentenced to death in the last 10 years either. The
system has simply collapsed under the pressure, threats and the challenges, and the
entire burden has fallen on the Pakistan army and armed forces to rid the country of
these cancers. This is precisely the reason why this menace of terrorism and
insurgency is still haunting Pakistan. Despite applying correct and precise military
pressure, there is complete lack of political, moral, legal and religious support for the
armed law enforcement. Pakistan desperately and urgently needs a national anti-
terrorism policy under a larger, national security strategy.

What follows is such an attempt, showcasing the approach for Pakistan's policy
makers, to redefine Pakistan's National Security Strategy by analyzing the historical,
ideological and military dimensions of the threats faced by Pakistan.

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Background:
Fighting insurgencies in urban environment remains one of the most tiresome and
challenging tasks for any country and the task has gotten more intensively complex in
the contemporary world, particularly after 9/11. The phenomenon of fighting an
insurgent movement demands a multi-dimensional solution focusing on the multiple
aspects of whole restive milieu, with a pre-determined equilibrium of all the tactics of
counter insurgency techniques that would be utilized while eradicating the problem,
for example, understanding the conflict, identifying the root causes of the problem,
choosing the most appropriate state tool to eradicate the root cause and most
importantly calculating the need, time, magnitude and impact of military force to be
applied. Apart from these elements, a successful counter insurgency strategy demands
a dedicated, committed and sincere leadership, capable of taking various policy level
initiatives, showing courage during the crisis and exploiting opportunities created
during active counter insurgency operations, through governance and administrative
measures to win hearts and minds of insurgents and their unarmed sympathizers in
the area of conflict.

On the other hand, a sustained armed insurgency always relies on the support of local
masses and foreign aid in terms of money and weapon supply, planning, logistic
support and training.

Traditionally, insurgent movements originate to fight for protection of economic and


political rights within a state but the situation in Pakistan is a lot more obscure than
this, as insurgencies in Pakistan are multifaceted, have been launched under various
pretexts having both natural and artificial causes and supported by hostile forces as
well. Pakistan, when incarnated as a counter insurgency case study, is a unique
country in modern times where multiple insurgencies and internal conflicts are of
heterogeneous nature with diversity in root causes, timeline, political dynamics and
support bases but are aggressively agglomerating into a single complex war against
the state, due to various internal and external factors.

Historically, Pakistan had some problems of low intensity insurgency in Baluchistan


province since early 1970's and sectarian divide among various religious
organizations was also present since 1980's. However, the Pakistani state never faced
any existential threat due to these fault lines. Flawed and faulty anti-terrorism
measures, devised by Islamabad in strategically changed post 9/11 scenario, proved a
catalyst for religious and secular insurgencies as well as sectarian violence in
Pakistan, as it not only intensified Baluch insurgency but also provided India and CIA
with an opportunity to launch another insurgency in North West of Pakistan, with
extreme brutality and to penetrate into the ranks of sectarian and militant
organizations in Pakistan. Due to Islamabad's persistence with same failed policies
despite the change of government in late 2007, Pakistan is facing an unparalleled
challenge of internal security. Recently ethnic and linguistic target killings, in

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Baluchistan and Karachi, involving MQM and ANP have added a new dimension to
these prolonged insurgencies.

To devise a workable and pragmatic policy to address this complex, internal security
challenge, Pakistan would have to revise its foreign and interior policies, which need
a complete overhaul now. But that would be only possible after a careful examination
of every aspect of this highly composite problem, by fragmenting its various
amalgamated aspects so that this problem can be comprehended in context of national
security.

To begin with, it would be prudent to analyze and categorize the insurgencies and
insurgent groups, militant organizations and radical entities, working against the state
of Pakistan, by digging into history to locate the time and origins of these insurgent
movements as well as their ideological bearings.

History and Root Cause of Insurgencies:


In order to get a clue about why multiple insurgencies are prevailing in Pakistan
despite successive military operations, it is essential to investigate the origin of
radicalization of different sectarian factions in the Pakistani society, militant groups,
foreign links of these organizations and the impact of 9/11 on various militant
organizations and their operations on political and sectarian dimensions.
Understanding the politico-religious mind set in Muslim world before the start of
Afghan war and the impact of latter on former, is vital and the key to unlock the
historic padlocks on the ideological and intellectual struggle for political Islam in the
Muslim world and how some of its factions turned into a violent and aggressive
demon, even for Muslim societies by the end of the Afghan war. The whole conflict
and the present environment with respect to politico-religious insurgencies revolve
around this dilemmatic ideal of Islam in Muslim world.

The extreme anger and sense of hopelessness, which has dominated the militant
Muslim minds is due to genuine injustices, atrocities and cruelties of the dominant
West, Tyrannical and Fascist style regimes in the Muslim world and due to the lack
of sense of direction in the Muslim masses around the world.

If we see the political profile in the Middle East, there are some Arab regimes, which
are equally tyrannical as Israel and India. Many countries have had the same leaders
since decades. There are no rights of speech against the government, no fair elections,
no independent press, no opposition, compromised judiciary and brutal Police forces.
Just the party or clan or the leader rules with an iron hand. These regimes have the
worst possible record of abuse of human rights to their name and continue even
today.

The first Major Muslim response in the Middle East was in early fifties, when a
whole new wave of enlightened modern Muslim politico-religious leaders emerged in
Egypt, Pakistan and other Middle Eastern countries. Akhwan-ul-Muslimeen

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originated in Egypt under the leadership of Hasan Banna and Syed Qutub. Jamaat-e-
Islami (JI) appealed to the modern Muslim mind in universities and colleges of
Pakistan, under the guidance of Moulana Maudoodi.

The Arab world was facing the great socialist revolution under the guidance of
Jamaal Abdul Nasir and Arab nationalism was a very strong factor in the ME. But
Akhwan rapidly spread its ideology of political Islam, which became a rallying point
for young Muslims in the Arab world. The response of the Arab regimes was ruthless
and outright cruel. Instead of challenging and confronting the young Islamists
intellectually and ideologically, a policy of decimation was adopted by the Arab
governments. Akhwan was banned and its leaders jailed, tortured and killed. Syed
Qutub was hanged in Egypt in the 60's and he became a martyr of the cause.

The destruction and persecution of Akhwan-ul-Muslimeen as a vibrating political


force in the Middle East in the 60's and 70's, left the young Muslims with no alternate
political forum or platform where their thoughts on State, government and policies
could be defined in the modern world. The best of their leaders were hanged and the
remaining were only blind followers raging with anger, revenge and sense of
helplessness. They are still around and often vent their anger in various violent and
radical, though isolated, acts like assassination of Sadaat, tourist massacre of Luxar,
taking over of Kaab'a in 1979, first car bombing of world trade center in early
nineties etc. But still, reactionary terrorism, as a weapon of political statement, was
not adopted as a policy by any group anywhere in the Muslim world till the early
90's.

Overall, during that era, the general pattern in Muslim political movements in the
Arab world reflected a defeatist and angry, reactionary mindset. They had good
intentions and were ritually practicing Muslims but devoid of any finer vision,
wisdom or logic. Their ideology of Political Islam was without any mature and long
term planning for future reconciliation, peace or offering alternate sustainable
solutions. The anger of some of the cadre had turned into outright violence and
cruelty at their helplessness to change anything around them. The weak role models
could not keep the effects of extremism and sectarianism away from pristine
principles, and slowly almost all Muslim groups and parties degenerated into
decadence and petty politics and sometimes, even violence. This was the state in the
Arab world when the Afghan Jihad started in 1979; then the whole scenario changed
rapidly.

In Pakistan, after the death of Maulana Maudoodi, JI never produced any leader of
stature or vision and began to decay and degenerate into secular politics. The
Pakistani Islamists were more balanced and open than their Arab counterparts, as in
Pakistan there was never any government even comparable to the tyrannical regimes
that exist in the ME. Open dialogue and freedom of expression in Pakistan did not
produce that radical behavior which we see in Arab countries; then came the year,
1979.

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Three phenomenal and historic events took place around 1979-80.

1. Iranian Revolution took place – Giving rise to Shia militant Islam

2. Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan – giving rise to Sunni militancy in the


Muslim world.

3. Iran-Iraq war broke out – Giving rise to Shia-Sunni, Arab-Persian conflict in


the Muslim world.

These regional events during 1979-80 eras played a decisive and critical role in
redefining the national, regional and global politics and strategic affairs. Though all
these incidents took place outside the Pakistani borders but the impact was most vivid
within the Pakistani society. All dimensions of militancy – Sectarian, Politico-
Religious and Secular, emerged and flourished during this era in Pakistan as a
spillover effect of these three game changing events.

Iranian Revolution of (1979) and Iran – Iraq War (1980 to 1989)


The Iranian revolution played a critical role in Shiite
uprising in Pakistan as well. As Iran is predominately a
Shiite society, it adopted Shiite version of Islam as its
official religion after the revolution of April 1979.

Pakistani society comprises of two main sectarian


factions: Shiite and Sunnis. 84% of Muslim population
follows Sunni version of Islamic laws in religious
matters while some 12% belongs to Shiite school of
thought. This sectarian divide predates more than 1000
years back in history and Pakistan had inherited it at
the time of its creation in 1947. Though this sectarian
divide was there in the society but it never was an
internal security problem until 1979, a year which not only changed the social
outlook of Pakistani society but also altered the security profile of the region in later
years.

The Shiite influence began to expand in Pakistan and Afghanistan after the Iranian
revolution through supporting and mobilizing Shiite community in Pakistan for a
mirror revolution in the country. In Pakistan, with a Sunni dominated state, this was
perceived as an Iranian attempt to expand its political and sectarian footprint in the
region. Consequently, opposing factions and sects also started to get support against
Shiite ideology from Iraq and other gulf states. The Iranian revolution and the Arab-
Persian / Sunni-Shia war spilled into Pakistan.

Sectarian Sunni militant organizations like SSP (Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan) i.e. Army
of Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) emerged during this era of Afghan Jihad in

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early 80's. On the other hand, Iran was supporting Shiite organizations like TNFJ
(Tehreek-i-Nifaz' e Fiqa-e-Jafaria i.e. movement for the implementation of Shia
Laws) in Pakistan and also the Shiite groups of the Afghan resistance. Shiites also
had their version of militant sectarian outfit on the pattern of SSP, known as Sipah-e-
Muhammed Pakistan (SMP). Both these sectarian militant outfits – SSP and SMP –
later fought bloody wars within the Pakistani society in 80's and 90's and continue to
do so, even to this day despite being banned by the government.

In this regard, Pakistan paid a very heavy price of having brotherly relations with
both Arab and Iranian camps. Pakistan became a bloody battleground for a proxy war
between two opposing sects.

Russian invasion of Afghanistan and Afghan Jihad (1979 to 1992)


The Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 was the single most influential event
which changed the global strategic paradigm altogether as well as Pakistan's national
security landscape, in terms of sectarian and religious violence.

Threatened by aggressive Soviet designs, Pakistan decided to help the Afghan


resistance against the invading red army. Islamabad's decision to fight against Soviets
in Afghanistan was taken as announcement of Jihad by Muslim youths across the
globe and particularly inside Pakistan.

Afghan resistance or the six party Mujahideen alliance based in Pakistan was purely a
Sunni military alliance of Afghans against the Soviets. The eight Shia Afghan parties
were based in Tehran. Even the Afghan resistance was divided on sectarian lines
between Pakistan and Iran.

But for Sunni Muslims, Afghan Jihad became the first practical focal point for every
Muslim movement in the world to vent their anger against a “super power”. Arabs
found it an easy path to Paradise and flocked in thousands to fight along with
Afghans. Their romantic dream of an Islamic “Khilafat” was the prime mover in
creating a strong moral legitimacy for Afghan Jihad in the Arab movements. They
created personalities and figures with almost cult followings. Ustad Sayyaf was to be
the next “Khilafa” and Dr. Abdullah Azzam was the kingpin of “Islamic victory over
all infidels” starting from Afghanistan.

Every Sunni Muslim movement in the world from North Africa, America, Eastern
Europe, Far East and Central Asia sent their cadre for training. The Philippine
militant group “Abu Sayyaf” is named after Ustad Sayyaf for its links with the
Afghan group, sponsored by Arabs in the Afghan Jihad. For the first time the Arab
militants emerged as major players in a war against “infidels”. The amount of money,
resources and assets, which flowed into the Afghan war from Arab connections, is
almost comparable to the total aid given by UN and US during the Afghan war!
There were almost 20,000 Arab and non-Afghan casualties during the Afghan war
from all over the world.

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The Afghan war had
created a new breed of
fighters, who saw
Afghanistan as a dream
come true, a base to
establish the puritan Islamic
State, to declare Jihad on
the entire world. These
Arab fighters were
extremely brave, robust,
burning with a desire to go
to paradise via shortest
possible way but extremely
short of vision and full of
anger, hate and imbalanced
obsession, which very seriously affected their capacity to think rationally and to plan
for a sustainable policy in the world. Some of them were “Takfiris”, meaning quick to
declare any person as Kafir or infidel, who does not fit into their version or image of
Islamic interpretation. This “Takfiri” attitude made them unwelcome even among
Afghans, let alone in the modern Muslims worldwide. They were an isolated lot from
the very beginning.

Subsequently, the romanticism of creating an Islamic State was blown away when a
civil war started between the Afghan Mujahideen after the collapse of the Kabul
regime. Ustad Sayyaf was blown into obscurity and all the “heroes” of Afghan Jihad
fought amongst themselves over the spoils. It was a dream going sour; the
culmination being the murder of Dr. Abdullah Azzam in a car bomb in Peshawar in
1988, basically destroying the Arab network in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Arabs
started to leave by the hundreds, some voluntarily, some deported by Pakistan. Those
who had no place to go, held their ground in the Pakistani tribal areas and made
independent mini States. Pakistan even had to fight a small battle in the tribal belt,
back in the early 90's, to flush out few Arab extremists who had declared war on
Pakistan too.

The Afghan war was not only instrumental in radicalization of sectarian outfits, but it
also resurrected secular, linguistic and ethnic Marxist insurgency of Baluchistan,
which first started in the early 1970's; back then it took the Pakistan army 4 years to
bring stability and normalcy to the province. During the Afghan conflict in the 80's,
Russian intelligence agency KGB teamed up with Indian RAW (Research & Analysis
Wing) to resurrect the Baluch insurgency once again in Pakistan in order to divert its
attention from Afghan theatre. All major cities of Pakistan witnessed horrendous
bombings in which thousands of Pakistanis were killed.

In the presence of all these politico-religious, sectarian and secular militant groups, a
new category of militant organizations emerged after the Afghan war, which was

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focused purely on Kashmir and its liberation from India. The resistance against
Indian occupation started immediately after Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in
1988 and many fighters from the Afghan battle fronts decided to enter Kashmir
through the disputed and porous line of control between Pakistan and India. These
groups were not global jihadists nor had any terrorist or violent agenda against any
other country except to join the legitimate freedom struggle of Kashmir against
Indian occupation.

Radicalization of Arab and Foreign Militants in Post Afghan War


Era – 1990 to 1996
Most of the Arab fighters who returned back to their native countries were arrested by
their respective governments and hanged by the dozens. There was no way out for
these desperate groups. A huge contingent landed in Sudan, where a much better
government existed under the command of General Basheer, who took religious
guidance from Dr. Hassan Turabi, and ex-Akhwan leader and a friend of Dr.
Abdullah Azzam.

Sudan invited all Afghan veteran Arabs who wanted to leave Afghanistan. The
Afghan chapter was effectively closed for these Arabs. Among all those who landed
in Sudan was Osama Bin Laden, known only as an ordinary Arab fighter but with lots
of money and good family connections. He had already made his mark during the
Afghan war by building tunnels and deep caves bringing in the experience of his
family construction business in Saudi Arabia. Apart from that, there was nothing
extraordinary about him. His lavish spending of money on poor Arab comrades did
bring fame to him among the Arabs, who were now looking for an alternate
leadership after the death of mainstream leaders during Afghan Jihad. Arabs need
religious personality cults and are good at creating them even if they do not have a
genuine one.

The Arabs returned to Afghanistan almost with


the emergence of Taliban in 1996 after the
former were kicked out of Sudan due to US
pressure. Dr. Turabi was also not getting along
well with General Basheer and finally Dr. Turabi
was arrested as well. To put pressure on Sudan to
expel these militants to Afghanistan, US carried
out missile strikes in the country. Hence, Arab
fighters lost all sympathy in Sudan. This is very
interesting to note that it was US desire that these
Arab fighters be expelled from Sudan towards
Afghanistan. Special flights were arranged which
refueled in Dubai right under the nose of the CIA
and then they landed in Jalalabad. No attempts
were made by the US or the Arab regimes to block or seize these “wanted terrorists”
enroute. The entire movement of so called Al-Qaeda was orchestrated, planned and

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executed by CIA. Afghanistan was once again to become their base, but this time
with a vengeance. Now these Arab fighters were a compromised lot penetrated by
Israeli, CIA and Arab intelligence assets for creating the future bogey of “Muslim
Terrorism”. Seeds for 9/11 and post 9/11 wars in the 21st century within the Muslim
world were sown.

It is again interesting to note that during the Taliban era, US never demanded that
Osama and his gangs be expelled from Afghanistan nor Taliban were accused of
supporting any global terrorism. In fact, US were engaging Taliban in high level
negotiations to construct TAP gas pipeline project (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and
Pakistan). The American company UNICOL was negotiating on behalf of the US
government. Taliban delegations used to visit US on a regular basis. Taliban were
then the blue eyed boys of the US government and the oil cartels. Around 1998, the
negotiations between the two broke down and Taliban refused to give the contract to
the American company opting for an Argentinean company Bridas instead. That was
the moment when a policy decision was taken in the white house to replace the
Taliban regime.

From now on, US would wage global media and information wars against Taliban
projecting them as villains. It is again very interesting to note that the man who
replaced Mullah Omar as the President of Afghanistan was the same man who was
negotiating with Taliban on behalf of the Americans as UNICOL consultant – Hamid
Karzai!

Taliban had contained the activities of Osama and his gang. He was there as a guest
but not allowed to conduct his operations anywhere in the world. Taliban also had
closest relations with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and some Gulf States and were not
willing to allow Osama to spoil their foreign relations. Not a single act of terrorism
has been attributed to Taliban or Osama's gangs during this era. Taliban did not
export their version anywhere in the world. There was total peace in Pakistan except
for occasional local sectarian violence or some political unrest in Karachi.

The Taliban Era – 1996 to 2001:


As far as external and internal security of Pakistan is concerned, Taliban era in
Afghanistan was the most peaceful time for Pakistan. Since the creation of Pakistan
in 1947, Afghanistan had been the most hostile country for Pakistan after India.
Throughout the 60's, 70's, 80's and the early 90's, the pro-Soviet regimes in Kabul
also aligned themselves with India, hence allowing the KGB, Khad and RAW to use
the Afghan soil to foment insurgencies, separatism and violence inside Pakistan. In
Pakistan, Awami National Party in frontier province wanted to create Pashtunistan, a
Pashtun land carved out of Pakistan. In Baluchistan few Baluch Sardars from Marri,
Bugti, Mengal tribes aligned themselves with Soviets and Indians to “liberate”
Baluchistan.

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In the early 70's, government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had to fight an anti insurgency
war in Baluchistan and Bhutto also filed treason cases against ANP for trying to
dismember Pakistan. It is ironic that the same separatists now rule Baluchistan and
Frontier province and are hell bent on their same sinister agenda while PPP rules in
Islamabad. The role of the Soviets has now been replaced with the Americans. Rest
of the separatists' agenda against Pakistan remains same.

During the Afghan Jihad of the 80's and after the defeat of the Soviets, the dream of
“Pashtunistan” and “Free Baluchistan” was shattered. Kabul was captured by the
Mujahideen in 1992, and after four years of civil war between various Mujahideen
groups, the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996.

Despite their harshness in managing their affairs within Afghanistan, Taliban's


foreign policy towards Pakistan was most suitable and peaceful for Pakistan's
national security for the following reasons:

 Taliban being strongly anti-Indians, eliminated the Indian influence from


Afghanistan after decades of Indian presence in the country. Indians could not
use Afghanistan to backstab Pakistan now.

 Taliban eliminated all bases and training camps of Baluch separatists,


basically killing the Baluch insurgency in Pakistan.

 Taliban kept Osama Bin Laden and his group in check, not allowing them to
create problems for Pakistan. There was no TTP and no insurgency against
Pakistan in the tribal regions.

 In the absence of US, Soviet and Indian elements in Afghanistan, the idea of
Pashtunistan was also killed, isolating the Pakistani Pashtun separatists within
Pakistan, without any support base in Afghanistan for the first time since
1947. ANP was an isolated defeated group in Pakistan.

 Taliban respected the territorial integrity of Pakistan and never raised the
issue of Durand line or any border disputes.

 Not a single suicide bombing, bomb attack or act of violence was reported in
Pakistan from any insurgent group – either religious or secular during the
Taliban era. Afghanistan had become the strategic depth for Pakistan.

 Taliban eliminated drugs from Afghanistan, choking the drug supply in


Pakistan and also the money supply of Baluch and other separatist elements in
Pakistan.

 Pakistan had no deployment of troops on the Afghan side and the entire focus
of Pakistan was against India and on Kashmir.

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 Afghanistan acted as the strategic depth for Pakistan with almost all of
Afghanistan dependent upon Pakistan for trade, food supplies, clothes, fuel,
printing, industrial and technological support. Pakistani currency was
acceptable at all Afghan shops and Afghans would scramble to get Pakistani
ID cards and passports. Geo-economically and geo-culturally, Afghanistan
had become an informal province of Pakistan.

Post Taliban Era – 2001 till date:


Then in 2001, Taliban, too were overthrown by US, and Ahmad Shah Masood was
assassinated by pro-Taliban Arabs. Afghanistan once again came under foreign
occupation and they installed remnants of Masood's men and few imported Afghans
like Karzai, to replace the clerical regime. Another war of resistance has begun in the
country. Taliban as well as Haqqani and Hekmatyar have once again become
resistance fighters, fighting against another foreign army and against their former
allies during Soviet occupation. Now, Taliban, Haqqani and Hekmatyar have
emerged as allies for common cause of survival. There is total chaos in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan government is the most hostile regime against Pakistan after India and
Israel. Despite some increase in trade, Afghanistan has become staging post to spread
death and destruction in Pakistan.

Since 9/11, Pakistan has emerged as the net


loser in the whole episode. The pro-Masood
elements controlling power in Kabul and
Hamid Karzai, remain staunchly anti-Pakistan
and have close relations with India, Iran, US
and Russia. For them, it is also a blood feud
now, as they hold Pakistan responsible for the
death of Masood, when in reality Islamabad
knew nothing about the Taliban/Osama plot to
assassinate Masood. Afghan refugees still
remain in Pakistan and have no plans to go
back. Pakistan's western borders remain
insecure. Nearly a hundred thousand Pakistani
troops are stationed along Afghan border
fighting an array of enemies from TTP
terrorists to Arab militants to local tribal
sympathizers to Uzbek infiltrators sent from
Kabul and India. The scenario is not just
complex, it is dirty.

The Indians returned to Afghanistan with a vengeance. Baluchistan insurgency has


been fully activated with bloody consequences for Pakistan. Pakistan government
allowed CIA to operate independently in the tribal areas under the pretext of finding
Osama and they exploited the opportunity to create Al-Qaeda, Uzbeks and TTP. The

14
TTP insurgency was created and is being kept alive through massive support of
weapons, money and infiltrators in the garb of “Muslim militants” and “Arab
Mujahideen” or “Al-Qaeda”. Israeli Mossad and CIA are handling the Arab
connection, while RAW and RAMA manage the TTP, Uzbeks and local Pashtun and
Pakistani terrorist elements.

The fascist religious ideology of Takfir against Pakistani State has been aggressively
promoted through planted Arab spies like Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Abu Yazid while
Osama remains an elusive support to the Takfiri ideology. Local terrorists like TTP
are further supported by Uzbek militants from ruthless Communist warlord Rasheed
Dostum's gangs under the guise of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

Pakistani sectarian terrorist groups like SSP and LeJ also joined the ranks of TTP for
protection and survival, and have expanded their role from anti-Shia militancy to
anti-State and anti-Pakistani warfare. The entire campaign of terrorism against
Pakistan is based in Afghanistan under the patronage of a hornet's nest of CIA,
Mossad, RAW and RAMA.

Mercifully for Pakistan, the Afghan groups – Mullah Umar, Haqqani and Hekmatyar
– remain neutral towards Pakistan and have still not declared any hostile intent
towards Pakistan, despite blunders made by Islamabad. US is desperate to push
Pakistan onto a collision course with Afghan Taliban and Afghan resistance but
Pakistan has been resisting the pressure so far. The CIA has been waging an
independent war in the tribal regions eliminating genuine Afghan resistance through
drone strikes but avoiding attacks on TTP, Baluch separatists and Uzbeks, despite
strong objections, demands and reservations by Pakistan.

The US is present in Afghanistan. CIA, Mossad, RAW and RAMA continue to play
havoc with Pakistan's security, backing as well as supporting multiple insurgencies
and terrorist groups in Pakistan. Pakistan government and parliament remains
paralyzed, while army continues to fight a heroic battle in the absence of any
political, diplomatic or information warfare support for the cause. American presence
in Afghanistan is the root cause of all terrorism inside Pakistan. So far, this critical
issue has not been addressed either by the government or the military while trying to
fight the insurgencies. In the reactive mode of response, more and more resources,
men and weapons continue to flow into Pakistan from Afghanistan and the base
areas, safe havens and supply lines of the insurgents both in NWFP and Baluchistan
remain secure, out of the reach of Pakistani forces.

Analyzing the Militant Groups in Pakistan:


After gaining an in-depth insight and understanding the historic prospect of political,
sectarian and secular mindset and dogmatic struggle by various militant factions
across the Islamic world, it is time to get an insight into the militant groups currently
active in and around Pakistan, and how they converge or diverge in pursuit of their
political and sectarian ideals in the realm of religious insurgency. Apart from that, it

15
is also time to study the motives, ambitions and future discourse of secular
insurgency that has been waged against Pakistan, in Baluchistan, from Afghanistan
by Indian RAW.

Sipah -e- Sahaba Pakistan (SSP):

Formed in 1985 by Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, Zia-ur- Rehman Farooqi, Esrar-ul-Haq


Qasmi and Azam Tariq in Jhang as a political party. Main objective of this
organization was to deter the political rise of Shiite parties. SSP remained part of
provincial government in Punjab during 1993. Later on, SSP turned into a complete
sectarian terrorist entity with a manifesto to turn Pakistan into a Deobandi state. SSP
was banned for its sectarian violence in 2002. It started to operate again under the
name of Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan, which was again banned in 2003 by the
government. SSP believe that Shiites are not Muslims and justifies brutal violence
against the community. Apart from sectarian activities, SSP is alleged to be involved
in Muslim-Christian riots in Gojra in 2009.

Lashkar-e- Jhangvi (LeJ):

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was formed as a splinter group by the extremely violent criminal


elements of SSP like Riaz Basra and Akram Lahori in 1996. These elements were
annoyed at SSP leadership for not taking “adequate” measures against Shiite
organizations. Anti Shiite sentiments in the ranks of LeJ were more radical than SSP.
According to LeJ scripture, all Shiites are infidels and must be eliminated by force.

Riaz Basra, a wanted criminal by Pakistani authorities, fled to Afghanistan where he


established links with different terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and TTP. LeJ
was declared a terrorist outfit by Pakistani authorities in 2001. LeJ has now
effectively turned into a terrorist group for hire, ready to work for anyone who pays
the highest price. Indian RAW is now known to be using LeJ for terrorist strikes
against strategic targets in Pakistan.

Most of the high profile terrorist incidents are attributed to LeJ, like the assassination
of Iranian diplomat, Sadiq Ganji (1990), killing of US journalist Daniel Pearl (2002),
killing of French engineers in Karachi (2002), assassination of Benazir Bhutto
(2007), attack on Marriott hotel in Islamabad (2008), attack on Sri Lankan cricket
team in Lahore (2009) etc.

Sipah-e-Muhammed Pakistan (SMP):

SMP was formed in 1990, by Moulana Muneeb Abbas Yazdani, as a reaction to SSP,
to guard the Shiite community in Pakistan. The organization remained involved in
sectarian violence during the 1990's. SSP accused SMP of killing its leaders. SMP got
so much power in the coming years that it established a state within a state in Thokar
Niaz Baig area in Lahore during the 90's. SMP was accused of getting funding from
Iran to expand Shiite ideology in Pakistan. Just like LeJ, many criminal elements

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became part of SMP like Ghulam Raza Naqvi, once chieftain of the organization,
who was involved in 30 different cases of murder and robbery.

This organization was also banned by Pakistani government on 14th August 2001.

Tehreek-i-Nifaz-e-Shariyat Muhammedi (TNSM):

The group was founded by Sufi Muhammed, in 1992 after he left Jamaat-e-Islami, of
which he was an active leader. Objective of TNSM was to replicate Afghan Taliban's
version of Islamic laws in Malakand division in frontier province, in Northern
Pakistan. Sufi Muhammed was jailed in November 2001 for sending thousands of
volunteers to Afghanistan to fight the US led invasion. After his arrest, his son in law,
Mullah Fazlullah, took over the command of TNSM and started one of the bloodiest
campaigns to enforce his version of terrorist laws in Malakand division. This militant
faction of TNSM called itself Swati Taliban or TTP Swat.

TNSM used Islam to further its political agenda to grab power and authority. During
its terror drive in Malakand it was supported by Indian backed Tehreek-i-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP) with arms, training, Radio stations and intelligence against Pakistani
law enforcement agencies. TTP Swat established its writ on Swat and adjacent
districts of Malakand division by 2009, when Pakistan army launched a full scale
operation and crushed the TTP Swat faction.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP):

The most brutal and ruthless terrorist organization in the world today and the most
prized asset of RAW. Emerged in 2005, TTP acted as an umbrella organization for
many militant groups fighting against the Pakistani state, under the ideology of
Takfir. TTP consists of Pakistani, Arab, Uzbek and Afghan nationals.

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TTP declared the whole of Pakistani nation as infidels on allying with US in war on
terror. TTP gets support from US and NATO occupied Afghanistan, mainly from
Indian and Afghan secret services.

TTP adopted the slogan of Jihad against US occupation of Afghanistan to get more
recruits from Pakistani tribal areas in order to intensify and expand its war against
Pakistan. TTP never fired a single bullet on US forces in Afghanistan and its main
target is Pakistan, both as state and nation, with a particular focus on Pakistan army
and its intelligence organizations. TTP established its foothold in South Waziristan
agency in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) area. Soon it expanded its
influence in other agencies of FATA as well. There were several incidents where
Pakistani security personnel were beheaded by the cold blooded TTP operatives.

Apart from that, the phenomenon of suicide bombings in Pakistan was introduced by
TTP. Thousands of Pakistanis have been killed in these suicide attacks by TTP during
the last 5 years. The Pakistan government has declared TTP as a terrorist
organization. Pakistan army launched massive military operations against TTP in
South Waziristan, where TTP had established its illegal state within the FATA area of
Pakistan. TTP leadership is now on the run, as the Pakistan army is busy in search
and destroy operations in FATA.

Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA):

The Baluchistan Liberation army (BLA)


is a Baluch ethno-linguistic, militant,
secessionist organization. The stated
goal of the organization is to establish
an independent Baluchistan by seceding
Pakistani and parts of Baluch ethnicity.

It was established during the 1970's, by


the support of Russian KGB, to divert
Pakistani military establishment's focus
from Afghanistan. The name Baluch
Liberation Army became public after
9/11 when the organization took credit
for a series of bomb attacks in markets, railway lines and other infrastructure in
Baluchistan. In 2006, the BLA was declared to be a proscribed group by Pakistani
government.

Brahamdagh Bugti commands BLA from Afghanistan and is supported and funded
by Indian consulates in Afghanistan. Indians are also sponsoring multiple conferences
on Baluchistan and on “atrocities” committed against Baluchis by “Punjabi army”.
US still refuse to declare BLA and other Baluch separatist groups as terrorist outfits.

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Baluchistan Liberation Front (BLF):

Currently headed by Sher Mohammad Marri, BLF is the oldest insurgent movement
in Baluchistan, whose origin predates to 1964. It got its support from pro-Soviet Iraq
and other states in the gulf in its initial years. In the beginning, BLF was more active
in Iranian Baluchistan. In 1973, Pakistani authorities discovered arms in the Iraqi
embassy in Islamabad, which were intended for the BLF's use in Baluchistan. This
led to a full-scale military operation in Baluchistan against BLF.

Lashkar-e- Tayyaba (LeT):

Lashkar-e-Tayyaba operates in Kashmir. It was founded by


Hafiz Muhammed Saeed and Zafar Iqbal. The primary area of
operations of their activities is the Kashmir valley, fighting
against India for liberation of Kashmir. It does not have global
agenda and is a staunch opponent of Al-Qaeda and TTP, making
it an organization on the hit list of Indian backed terrorists. In
January 2009 the LeT publicly declared that it would pursue a
peaceful resolution in the Kashmir issue and that it did not have
global jihadist aims. LeT does not exist in Afghanistan and has
not committed any act of terrorism in Pakistan ever. US insists
upon calling LeT as an Al-Qaeda associate group and a threat
larger than Al-Qaeda but that is factually absurd. Ideologically,
Al-Qaeda and LeT are diametrically opposite.

Harkat-ul- Jihad al-Islami (HuJI):

Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami emerged as first Pakistani militant organization in 1984


during the Afghan Jihad; it was formed by Fazalur Rehman Khalil and Qari Saifullah
Akhtar. Khalil later broke away to form his own group Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA). This
group would later re-form as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), when HuA was banned
by the United States in 1997.

HuJI first limited its operations in Afghanistan against the Soviets but after the Soviet
retreat in 1988, the organization shifted its area of operation to the Indian Held
Jammu and Kashmir. Currently, HuJI is a terrorist organization involved in anti-
Pakistan activities inspired by Al-Qaeda ideologically; it has been banned by the
Pakistani government, as the group is hostile to Pakistan now.

Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM):

Hizbul Mujahideen (party of holy warriors) founded by Ahsan Dar in 1989, is a


Kashmiri militant group, active in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir only since
1989. Hizbul Mujahideen is currently the largest militant group operating in Indian
Held Kashmir (IHK). HuM is not hostile to Pakistan nor aligned to Al-Qaeda nor

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have any act of terrorism attributed to it anywhere in the world. It is involved in
legitimate freedom struggle in Indian controlled Kashmir only.

Jaish-e- Muhammed (JeM):

Jaish-e-Muhammed was once a major mujahideen organization in Kashmir.

Jaish-e-Muhammed was formed in the year 2000, after supporters of Maulana


Masood Azhar split from another Kashmir based militant organization called Harkat-
ul-Mujahideen. The group's primary motive is to liberate Kashmir from India and it
was active in Indian held Kashmir since 2001. It does not have global agenda and
does not have affiliations with Al-Qaeda or TTP. In fact, this group and the TTP are
daggers drawn. JeM has been banned in Pakistan since 2002. Activities of JeM have
reduced considerably in recent years after being banned by the government of
Pakistan. Some of its cadre have joined the ranks of Afghan Taliban to fight against
the US and NATO forces. The group is not hostile to Pakistan despite being banned
by the Pakistan government.

Al-Badr:

Created in 1998, Al-Badr is a freedom fighter group operating in the Jammu Kashmir
region only. The group operated independently from their previous umbrella group,
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). Prior to the group's separation from HuM, they
participated in fighting in Afghanistan in 1990 as part of Gulbadin Hekmatyar's Hizb-
e-Islami alongside other anti-Soviet Afghan mujahideen. They have been linked to
Jamaat-e-Islami. The groups stated purpose is to liberate the Indian states of Jammu
and Kashmir in order to be merged with Pakistan. Al-Badr is currently on the US
State Department's list of Designated Foreign Funded Freedom Organizations. Al-
Badr is not hostile to Pakistan nor aligned with Al-Qaeda or the TTP.

Al-Qaeda:

A hardcore terrorist group penetrated by CIA, Mossad nexus. It


never existed during Afghan Jihad. Though Al-Qaeda's stated
aim was to liberate all Muslim lands from foreign occupation,
particularly from US occupation, and then establish an Islamic
state comprising of all Muslim countries, but due to heavy
penetration of Mossad, CIA operatives and its extremist Takfiri
ideology, it has caused great turmoil and destruction in Muslim
world. This ideology is so twisted and fascist that it provided
an easy whipping horse to the western media around the world,
to distort the image of Islam as an intolerant, militant and
sadistic religion.

Al-Qaeda is poised to use extensive force, most of the time against Muslim countries
and ordinary citizens who differ with its version of Islam. Basically, it's now a

20
terrorist organization, waging a ruthless war against Pakistan, more through its
ideology, than its fighters, and TTP is influenced by the same ideology. Effectively,
Al-Qaeda is now a dead organization in Pakistani tribal regions and does not have
any role in war against US and NATO forces. Its active members are now just a few
dozen hunted men who do not have any logistical or technical base to cause any
terrorist operation in the world. They are ideologically more dangerous but not
physically. The generic brand name Al-Qaeda is used by US and western intelligence
agencies to brand all hostile groups.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU):

Formed in 1991 by two Uzbek nationals, Tahir Yuldashev,


and former Soviet paratrooper, Juma Namangani - both
ethnic Uzbeks from the Fergana Valley. Its objective was to
overthrow President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, and to
create an Islamic state. But IMU was heavily penetrated
initially by Russian intelligence which diverted its attention
towards Afghanistan and then towards Pakistan.

In 2000, it had established links with Afghan Taliban in


Northern Afghanistan areas under Taliban control. It fought
against US and the coalition forces in 2001 and faced almost total destruction, some
of the survivors including, its founder and chieftain Tahir Yuldashev, fled to
Waziristan agency in Pakistan where he established training camps and became an
ideological inspiration for the local edition of Taliban in Pakistan i.e. TTP. IMU
suffered a severe blow when Tahir Yuldashev was killed in a military operation of
Pakistan army in Swat region, in 2009. The Uzbek group of Tahir is now heavily
penetrated by the communist, Rasheed Dostum's gangs and now Uzbek insurgents are
operating mainly under the command of the criminal warlord, General Abdul
Rasheed Dostam, Chief of Staff of Afghan army, from Afghanistan to continue their
fight against Pakistan, though they maintain their generic name of IMU for cover.

Afghan Taliban:

Emerged in 1994 under the leadership of Mullah Omar, Taliban were the first force in
Afghanistan to bring political stability in a war stricken country. Ideologically,
Taliban are not global Jihadists and do not share Al-Qaeda or TTP's visions of Takfir
against Pakistan or the Muslim world. True freedom fighters, now they are moral
equivalents of Afghan Mujahideen of the 80's, only fighting to liberate their
homeland from western occupation.

Jalaluddin Haqqani Group:

The Haqqani group is an independent resistance group in


Afghanistan and is closely allied with the Afghan Taliban.
Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani along with his son Sirajuddin

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Haqqani lead the group. The group is strong in eastern Afghanistan and presents
strong threats to NATO and United States forces in Afghanistan. Jalaluddin Haqqani
is regarded as one of the most senior Afghan commanders who fought against the
Soviets during 1980's. Haqqani network, unlike Al-Qaeda, does not consider Pakistan
an enemy state, and is not involved in any anti-Pakistan
activity so far.

Hizb-e-Islami:

Established in Pakistan in 1975 to fight , Hizb-e Islami is an


Islamist organization led by Gulbadin Hekmatyar. Its
membership was drawn from ethnic Pashtuns and its

pan-Islamic ideology is drawn from Maulana Maudoodi's


teachings. Like Haqqani network, Hizb-e-Islami is also
focused in Afghanistan against US and NATO forces and is
not hostile towards Pakistan.

Profiling militant groups in context of Pakistan's National security:


The problem of militancy and sectarianism cannot be dissected completely without
properly and carefully categorizing and profiling all the militant groups in Pakistan
according to their ideology, objectives, area of operations and hostility towards
Pakistan. These militant organizations in the region can be categorized into four
groups; Sectarian, Insurgents, Kashmiri militants and Afghan militant groups.

Sectarian Insurgents Kashmiri Afghan


•SSP •Al-Qaeda Groups Groups
•SMP •IMU/Uzbiks •HuJI • Afghan Taliban
•LJ •BLA •HuM • Haqqani
•BLF •LeT Network
•TTP •JeM • Hizb-i-Islami
•TNSM •AlBadr

Major categories of militant groups active in the region

It is often said that the militant assets created by Pakistan in the 80's are now coming
back to haunt it. Nothing can be further from the truth. The above categorization
makes it clear that Pakistan still does not face any threat from the militant assets it
created during the Afghan Jihad era. The Kashmiri groups also pose no threat to

22
Pakistan. The violence and insurgency against the State of Pakistan are being
conducted by insurgent groups, funded, equipped and created by foreign secret
services in post 9/11 era, after the US occupation of Afghanistan. After 9/11 and US
invasion of Afghanistan, many Arab and Uzbek fighters fled to Pakistani tribal
regions. The groups were heavily penetrated by Indian and Afghan secret services
and gave the ideological foundations to the violent philosophy of TTP, which was
created in 2005 by CIA/RAW nexus. The Baluch groups are also foreign funded
terror outfits, not created by Pakistan.

Sectarian terrorist organizations were present in Pakistan in pre-9/11 era also, but
were more of a local law and order issue and not an existential threat to the State,
even though the violence was serious and thousands of Pakistanis lost their lives in
these sectarian clashes between Shiite and Sunnis. The Government banned these
sectarian militant organizations in 2001, though they continue to operate
underground, albeit much weakened.

Organization Category Domain Sect Year of Orign

SSP Sectarian Anti Shiite Deobani 1985


LJ Sectarian Anti Shiite Deobandi 1996
SMP Sectarian Anti Sunni Shiite 1993
TTP Insurgent Terrorism Deobandi 2005
TNSM Insurgent Terrorism Deobandi 1992
LeT Kashmir Anti India Al-Hadith 1990
JeM Kashmir Anti India Deobandi 2000
HuJI Kashmir Anti India Deobandi 1984
HuM Kashmir Anti India Ahle-Sunat 1989
Al-badr Kashmir Anti India Al-Hadith 1998
Al-Qaeda Insurgent Terrorism Salfi / Takfiri 1997
IMU Insurgent Terrorism Communist 1991
BLA Insurgent Terrorism Secular 2000
BLF Insurgent Terrorism Secular 1964
Afghan Taliban Afghan Group Anti US /NATO Sunni 1994
Haqqani Network Afghan Group Anti US/NATO Sunni 2001
Hizb-e-Islami Afghan Group Anti US/NATO Sunni 1975

Sectarian and operational classification of militant organizations

Activities of both SSP and SMP declined rapidly after being banned by the
government in 2001. Both SSP and LeJ are inspired by Takfiri political thought and
have deteriorated into genuine anti-Pakistan terrorist outfits under the umbrella of
TTP and Al-Qaeda. Shiite-Sunni clash is not the only dimension of sectarian

23
violence in Pakistan. TTP/LeJ are already known to have attacked Barelvi/Sufi sects
to create another axis of Deobandi-Barelvi clash.

Almost, all the anti Pakistan, religious, militant organizations within Pakistan, belong
to Deobandi sect (except SMP which is Shiite outfit). It is interesting to note that
Barelvis and Sufis do not have any militant outfit within their ranks, and hence more
vulnerable to this new dimension of sectarian violence.

BLF

Secular Baluchistan

BLA

SMP

Secterian LJ

SSP

Al-Qaeda

Foreign
Militant
Religious
Groups
IMU

Political
TNSM Fazalullah

Local
Mehsud

Kashmiri
Groups
Taliban TTP Nazir

Afghan Groups Haqqani


Network Gulbhadur

Hizb-i-Islami

Hierarchical tree of militant organizations

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Kashmiri groups are focused towards their anti-India operations in Indian held
Kashmir. Most of these groups have been banned by Pakistani government after 9/11,
and their activities are now severely curtailed and closely monitored but still all major
groups in this category are no threat to the state of Pakistan.

Though Al-Qaeda and IMU were formed during 1990's, both these organizations
established their footprint in Pakistan after 9/11. Prior to that these organizations
were present inside Afghanistan but never posed a direct threat to Pakistan until the
latter decided to become an ally in US war on terror.

Within this complex equation, CIA also wages its own war in the FATA tribal
regions through the drone strikes, almost always targeting those elements that are
either pro-Pakistan or at least neutral. CIA sometimes does attack TTP and other anti-
Pakistan groups, but that is whenever Pakistan army tries to reach a peace deal with
them. CIA has sabotaged all the previous attempts of such peace deals between
Pakistan army and the insurgents by killing the TTP leaders like Nek Muhammed
who wanted to negotiate peace. Real target of CIA drones are those groups that are
not fighting against Pakistani state, like Haqqani, Hekmatyar and Mullah Omar
groups.

Analysis:
Except for the military which has performed extremely well against heavy odds
combating these insurgencies and terrorist groups, the rest of the systems of the State,
government, media and judiciary have totally collapsed under pressure. The fear of
the terrorists has taken the entire State apparatus, including the parliament, as
hostage. Today Pakistan is faced with two existential threats:

1. Insurgency terrorism.

2. Massive corruption and hemorrhage of State financial resources.

Pakistan national security strategy must be developed in order to respond ruthlessly to


these two challenges, even if it means a complete and total overhaul of the political,
judicial and media systems. The solutions would be as much political and diplomatic
as they are going to be social and military. So far, only one prong – military, has been
deployed and is severely under pressure despite major gains on ground.

The weakest link in developing a successful anti-insurgency strategy is the lack of


political will and absence of moral authority in the political leadership of the country.
Religious insurgency cannot be fought with a secular face, neither pacified through
appeasement. A strong moral, religious and political authority is required to take the
initiative away from the militants and into the hands of the State; same is true for
secular insurgencies.

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A total and complete system and leadership failure through the years has brought the
situation to this precipice. Few factors, which have contributed to this serious
situation are:

 Treating the symptoms and ignoring the disease. Problems cannot be


eradicated without uprooting their causes. The root cause of all the crisis,
violence and insurgency against Pakistan is the US presence in Afghanistan
and India's 4th generation warfare using Afghanistan as a base. Both TTP and
BLA get their support from Indian operators in Afghanistan. So far, Pakistan
has not addressed the root cause of the issue nor shaken the centre of gravity
of the militants. For that Pakistan will have to become aggressively pro-
active and take the war to the insurgents and their sponsors in Afghanistan.
US war in Afghanistan is not Pakistan's war.

Pakistan will have to declare neutrality in that conflict and demand


withdrawal of US forces from that country. That is the only practical,
workable, sustainable long-term solution to all the violence and insurgency in
Pakistan. All other measures would remain stop gap, reactive and temporary.

 Lack of any coherent and practical anti- terrorism policy in the country
despite facing such a mammoth existential threat from this quarter.
Parliament, governments and the judiciary have all avoided the issue
deliberately for fear of reprisal from the terrorists. This has been the most fatal
internal failure so far. Even the term terrorism and insurgency have neither
been defined at State level nor groups classified according to their threat
levels. Consequently, there are no guidelines for media and national
opinion makers on how to tackle the crisis.

 Lack of justice and failure of State prosecution services. The Judicial system
has collapsed totally and does not prosecute and execute the terrorists. Last
terrorist executed through the judicial system was a lone sectarian militant
hanged almost 10 years ago!

 Presence of separatists parties with strong alignment with India in the


coalition government in Centre, Frontier, Baluchistan and in Sindh have
aggravated the crisis and have prevented development of any mature strategy
which would respond to the national security needs. In Baluchistan, the Chief
Minister and the provincial government is sympathetic to the cause of Baluch
separatists, hence no political, economic and military solution is being applied
with chaos increasing every day and the situation further exacerbating.

 Emotional and political influence of personal views, faith and sect on


objective thinking. Almost all major local anti-Pakistan militant groups are
from Deobandi School, (SSP, LeJ, TTP, TTP Swat) but the mainstream
Deobandi clergy is neither willing to take responsibility, nor condemn suicide
attacks by these terrorist groups against the State, people and the armed

26
forces. Major Deobandi political party JUI, which is also the coalition partner
with the present regime and had headed the government in Frontier province
for five years during Musharraf era, actually supports the militants and is the
patron political organization for all Deobandi militant outfits. This
complicates the issue of the development of State response against high threat,
terror outfits. Fatwas or moral persuasion against terrorism, from other sects
do not matter to the terrorist outfits as they only recognize their own scholars
from their own sect.

 Lack of any media policy or information warfare strategy to isolate the moral
authority of the terrorists. Media cannot speak against major terrorists for fear
of reprisals nor can it speak against “political leaders” like Altaf Hussain, the
leader of MQM. The “free” media is almost a hostage to the militant groups
and parties.

 There is absolutely no diplomatic or political support, at regional and


international levels, to the military in fighting the insurgency. The Foreign
Office has been one of the biggest failures in exposing the Indian and foreign
hand in orchestrating these insurgencies. There is absolutely no international
pressure on insurgents or on their sponsors due to this catastrophic failure to
protect national interests by the Foreign Office. US have still not declared
Baluch separatists as terrorist groups, nor does the US take TTP as a hostile
entity to Pakistan's interests. US is more interested in making Pakistan wage a
war against Afghan groups, which are freedom fighters within Afghanistan
and are not hostile to Pakistan. US also want Pakistan to eliminate Kashmiri
groups, which is, in fact the demand of the Indians. US have lately declared
LeT as a bigger threat than Al-Qaeda, despite the fact that LeT is now a non-
functional Kashmir group and have neither a global agenda nor does it work
against US interests. This shows how Indian Foreign Office controls US
external policy, especially towards Pakistan.

 Lack of specialists in sectarian and religious matters. Perhaps the biggest


failure of all regimes in Islamabad has been not to understand and address the
situation professionally. Temporary, short-term stop gap arrangements have
aggravated the crisis over years. No serious paper or research hasever been
conducted to identify the factors, groups and sponsors of these militant
movements and terrorist organizations.

Conclusion:
The challenge to national security is grave but is well within manageable limits.
Pakistan needs a multi prong response comprising of both reactive and pro-active
strategies and measures, with a commitment to implement these strategies
concurrently on various axes of national security and social development to fight the
menace of religious, secular and sectarian radicalization. The situation in Pakistan, in
context of sectarian violence and any kind of insurgency was under control before

27
1979 and also during the Taliban era, between 1996 to 2001. So proposed policies
and measures must be directed towards achieving those benchmark eras in social,
religious, political and military culture.

The baseline wisdom to handle these challenges is that Pakistan needs a strong
Federal Government. The present setup has catastrophically failed. Every challenge is
manageable. It is the leadership, which has collapsed.

It's time to devise and implement our homegrown, independent and honorable
strategic and national security policies as a Muslim state and as a leader of the
Islamic world, rather than as a subservient client state of the West and US. These are
decisive moments for Pakistan to take this initiative aggressively at national, regional
and global level. For the Pakistani nation, it's now or never! The time for change has
arrived!

*******************

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