Posts Tagged ‘Sipah-e-Mohammed Pakistan’


By Zia Ur Rehman

November 19, 2011

KARACHI – City law enforcement agencies have arrested several suspects accused of belonging to banned militant outfits.

Outlawed sectarian outfits, especially Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP), have become active in the walk-up to Muharram in Pakistan’s commercial capital, targeting religious sects they despise, senior police officials and security analysts say.

Sindh Security measures for Muharram : 

Security analysts fear a surge in sectarian violence in Karachi during Muharram, which began November 16, and the Sindh provincial government has taken strict steps to avert any incidents during the holy days.

Karachi Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers November 13 present hooded suspects accused of belonging to the banned Laskhar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) at CID Gardan headquarters. With sectarian violence escalating throughout Karachi, law enforcement agencies have arrested several suspects they linked to banned militant outfits. [Zia Ur Rehman]

The Sindh government declared Karachi, Hyderabad and Khairpur the province’s most sensitive cities during Muharram and police and Rangers are working to keep the law-and-order situation under control, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said November 13.

Sindh Police Chief Fayyaz Leghari directed police officers to step up security at airports, railway stations, consulate offices and residences, important installations, government and semi-government buildings, mosques, imambargahs and public places during Muharram, a November 14 statement from Sindh police headquarters said.

The provincial government has banned 50 religious leaders and orators from entering some of Karachi’s districts during Muharram and has ordered these individuals to skip all religious gatherings and to give no speeches during this period.

Because motorcycle-riding gunmen carried out most of the Karachi killings, the Home Department November 10 also banned pillion-riding (shared motorcycle riding) in Karachi, Hyderabad and Khairpur during the first 10 days of Muharram.

Other provinces follow suits  ; 

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police have declared Peshawar, Hangu and Dera Ismail Khan the most sensitive districts in their province. Tank, Bannu, Kohat and Mansehra are also areas of concern during Muharram. KP officials are conducting aerial surveillance during Muharram to ensure timely action in an emergency, Dawn reported November 15, citing a spokesperson of KP Police.

Authorities there have prohibited brandishing and carrying weapons, pillion riding and the use of loudspeakers to broadcast inflammatory pronouncements.

In Peshawar alone, 10,343 security forces personnel will be deployed for Muharram.

Similarly, Punjab police have finalised a security plan for Muharram and law enforcement agencies have started the search and scanning operation in these areas and on the routes of the Muharram procession with the help of modern scanners, sniffer dogs and human intelligence, the Daily Times reported, citing police officials.

More than 20,000 policemen and officers will protect against any untoward incidents in Lahore, the report added.

Sectarian violence in Karachi ; 

At least 54 sectarian murders occurred in the first 10 months of 2012 in Karachi, said Taranum Khan, an officer at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), which compiles data on killings in Karachi, adding that the victims included members of the Deobandi and Shia sects.

But sectarian violence flared up in November, with at least 40 gun homicides reported in Karachi in the first two weeks of November, media reported Khan as saying.

Students and teachers of religious seminaries, activists and sympathisers of religious sects, and professionals were key targets in a recent wave of tit-for-tat killings on sectarian grounds, said Muhammad Raees, a security analyst who monitors religious militancy extensively.

Banned sectarian outfits have become active: 

Outlawed sectarian outfits including LeJ, Jundullah and SMP have become active in the city, fuelling sectarian violence in Karachi, Aslam told Central Asia Online, explaining that LeJ and Jundullah are collaborating with al-Qaeda and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, while SMP is a banned Shia militant outfit.

These groups are taking advantage of the existing ethnic and political violence to kill each other’s workers and sympathisers, Aslam said.

Officially, LeJ was formed in 1996 when three die-hard Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) supporters – Malik Ishaq, Riaz Basra and Akram Lahori – developed differences with SSP on that group’s mission, Raees said, while SMP has been linked to a number of killings and reportedly maintains close links with a neighbouring Shia regime.

Key LeJ suspects arrested : 

Police in Karachi November 13 arrested four men accused of belonging to LeJ and of planning a wave of sectarian attacks in the city, said Aslam.

“The four arrested – who were identified as Asif Hussain alias Hakla, Yasin alias Yawer, Hafiz Mohammad Mubarak alias Omar and Hazrat Ali alias Murtaza – had targeted about 15 people on a sectarian basis in Qasba Colony, Orangi Town, Manghopir, Old Golimar, Taimuria and other parts of the city,” Aslam said, adding that they were planning to carry out a bombing before Muharram to create sectarian tensions in the metropolis.

LeJ reportedly has two factions operating in the city. The faction’s nationwide commanders are Asif Choto and Naeem Bukhari.

The CID on October 5 arrested Mahmood Babar alias Durki Shah, chief of the Choto faction’s Karachi operation, and on October 17 arrested Hafiz Qasim Rasheed alias Ganja, chief of the Bukhari faction’s Sindh operation, Aslam said.


Poor law and order and the recent political violence in Karachi have enabled banned sectarian outfits to re-surface with renewed vengeance

By Zia Ur Rehman

Feb 5 ,2012

The News on Sunday

A wave of killings on sectarian grounds continues to plague Karachi as several people, especially lawyers, were targeted in the city during January this year.

On Jan 25, three Shia lawyers, Badar Munir Jaffery, Kafeel Jaffery and Shakeel Jaffery, were gunned down near Pakistan Chowk area. Similarly, on Jan 24, two legal advisors to Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), identified as Muhammad Ali alias Mama and Noman, fell victim to target killings. Another senior lawyer Maqbool-ur-Rehman, a legal advisor to ASWJ, was killed in an attack on New MA Jinnah Road on Jan 11. Rehman had fought cases of activists belonging to the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). On Dec 31, Askari Raza, a legal advisor to Pasban-e-Jaferia, was shot dead in Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Besides the lawyers, Taseer Abbas Zaidi, brother of famous noha Khawan Raza Abbas, was shot dead on Jan 30 in FB area. On Jan 28, Jaffar Mohsin Rizvi, a trustee of the Imambargha Aal-e-Aba, was gunned down outside his residence in Gulberg area.

“The militants are mainly targeting the lawyers who are fighting the cases of activists of their rival sectarian groups,” claims a leader of Karachi Bar Association (KBA), adding that the killings of lawyers on sectarian grounds have created fear among the legal fraternity.

This was also corroborated by a senior police official at Criminal Investigation Department (CID), who is of view that banned sectarian outfits, especially Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP), have become active in the city and targeting people, especially lawyers and doctors, of rival sects. Banned sectarian outfits are taking advantage of the existing ethnic and political violence to kill each other’s workers and sympathisers, he says. It is pertinent to mention that in 2011, dozens of doctors were killed in the city on sectarian basis.

“In fact, we were busy in cracking down against other militant groups linked with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) like Al-Mukhtar group and Punjabi Taliban and succeeded to shatter their network in the city to a great extent, but now we have shifted our focus on these banned sectarian outfits in the city,” says the CID official, adding that higher authorities have ordered police officials to stop the ongoing killings.

Rehman Malik, Federal Interior Minister, had said that terrorists from Gilgit and Miramshah have become operational in Karachi to destabilise the law and order situation in the metropolis.

Political experts believe that sectarian violence has reached an alarming level in Karachi and the victims include members of the Deobandi and Shia sects. As many as 111 sectarian-related terrorist attacks, including five suicide attacks, were reported in Pakistan in 2011, killing 314 people and injuring 459, according to Pakistan Security Report 2011, prepared by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank. The report further states that Karachi was the worst-hit city with 36 attacks, about 32 per cent of the total sectarian-related attacks in Pakistan, killing 58 people and injuring another 58. The report also states that the overall incidences of sectarian violence in the country decreased significantly in 2011, but the ratio of casualties were concentrated in the cities of Karachi, Lahore and Quetta.

Raees Ahmed, a security expert, believes that law-enforcement agencies have shattered those outfits’ network in Karachi in the past, but the recent political violence in the city has enabled them to re-surface there. He says a government ban on these sectarian organisations led them to operate under different names. “Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) began operating under the names of Millat-e-Islamia and ASWJ while the SMP started working as a new organisation with a different name. Similarly, other banned jihadi organisations like Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) is now working as al-Furqan and Khuddamul Islam, while Jamat-ud-Dawaa or Lashkar-e-Tayyaba as Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation.”

Some analysts say that the May attack on Saudi Consulate in Karachi was also an effort to re-ignite Sunni-Shia discord in Pakistan, especially in Karachi. “The attack on the Saudi Consulate and the killing of its staffer clearly show that the fight for Bahrain has shifted to Pakistan and could ignite the decade-long Sunni-Shiite rivalry in the country, especially in Karachi”, Ahmed says. “Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have funded hardline Sunni militant groups like LeJ and SSP in Pakistan for years, angering the minority Shia community, while Iran has channeled money to Shia militant groups like the SMP.”

He says that in the 1980s and 1990s, Pakistan was the scene of an effective proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with Karachi being a bloody battleground in the struggle. “The involvement of hardline religious groups from Afghanistan in Pakistan’s internal affairs has further complicated the sectarian conflict.” Since 1989, sectarian fighting has engulfed the entire country, claiming nearly 7636 lives, mostly from the Shia community, according to statistics compiled by South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP).

Law enforcement agencies have failed to nab 17 terrorists belonging to different banned sectarian outfits whose names are enlisted in ‘Red book’, a report published in Daily Jang, states. These terrorists include Syed Kashif Ali Shah a.k.a Shaheen (Judullah), Riaz a.k.a Afghani (LeJ), Syed Azhar Ali (SMP), Jamil Barmi a.k.a Qari Sahib (LeJ), Syed Asif Ali Zaidi (SMP), Fasi-uz-Zaman (Jundullah) and others.

By Zia Ur Rehman


KARACHI – The investigations of a Saudi diplomat’s murder and a hand grenade attack on a Saudi consulate, both in Karachi in May, continue, but security analysts are attributing both attacks to a Shiite militant organisation with links abroad.

”]”Officials have connected Sipah-e-Mohammed Pakistan (SMP) to both attacks and say the Shiite group aims to reignite feuds between Pakistan’s Sunni and Shiite communities, and between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

“It is impossible to rule out the recent dispute between rival organisations of supporters and non-supporters of Saudi Arabia,” Saud Mirza, then-head of Karachi Police, said in May.

Law enforcement officials May 17 arrested Muntazir Imam, an SMP member, in connection with the death of Hassan al-Qahtani, a Saudi diplomat who was gunned down by men riding two motorcycles in Karachi May 16, and other killings of rival Islamist leaders.

Anti-Saudi attacks in Karachi in May

Qahtani’s assassination came five days after unidentified assailants threw hand grenades at the Saudi consulate in Karachi, where al-Qahtani worked. No one was injured in that attack, media reported.

After the violence, the Saudi government recalled non-essential staff and families of diplomats stationed in Karachi. Imam told investigators that more than 200 SMP activists, trained abroad and heavily armed are hunting down Sunnis, Pakistan Today reported May 26.

Shiite groups support SMP

SMP is a Shiite militant organisation outlawed by the Pakistani government. It has been connected to a number of killings and reportedly maintains close links with a Shiite regime, according to a South Asia Terrorist Portal (SATP) report.

“Although there is no strong evidence of foreign government involvement in supporting the SMP, the terrorist outfit had been supported by (foreign) Shiite groups,” Rana told Central Asia Online. The SMP is mainly involved in targeted killings of leaders of rival groups, particularly those of the SSP, he added.

“When the Punjab government started an operation against the SMP to dismantle its network in the province, most of its leaders fled (abroad),” said Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS). That operation has badly damaged SMP’s network, Rana said.

He said the Punjab government operation against the SMP was launched three years ago, but it is not known exactly when they fled.

A proxy battleground 

Pakistan has become a proxy battleground for conflicts between Shia and Sunni countries, security analysts say, adding that the May attacks on Saudi interests in Karachi could be an effort to re-ignite Sunni-Shiite tensions in Pakistan.

“Saudi interests in Karachi may have been targeted in response to the situation in the Gulf, especially the Saudi military support … to curb (Bahrain’s) uprising,” Raees Ahmed, a political analyst, told Central Asia Online.

The Saudi military’s assistance in putting down predominantly Shiite Bahrain’s uprising angered Pakistani Shiite organisations, Ahmed added, pointing to nationwide anti-Saudi protests that included wall-chalking and a propaganda campaign in Karachi.

In response, Sunni groups rallied in support of Saudi Arabia and accused Shiite states of creating unrest in the Gulf States and Pakistan. Pakistani Sunni leaders condemned the attacks on the Saudi consulates in Karachi and al-Qahtani’s killing and demanded that the government remove banners in Karachi bearing anti-Saudi messages, Ahmed said.

Other cities in Pakistan show signs of Sunni-Shiite tension, Ahmed continued, observing that walls in Karachi, Lahore and elsewhere now bear slogans and posters condemning various countries and exacerbating sectarian tensions.

This is not the first time Pakistan has been the proxy battleground. The SATP report noted that the same thing occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, with Karachi turned into a bloody battleground. Since 1989, fighting between the two sects has killed at least 7,636 in Pakistan, the report stated.