Posts Tagged ‘TTP Karachi’

by Zia Ur Rehman

Aug 10-16, 2012

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta3/tft/article.php?issue=20120810&page=2

Taliban militants have brought their war to the streets of Karachi, threatening key leaders of the Pashtun-dominated secular-leaning Awami National Party (ANP) and raising funds through extortions, killing those who refuse to pay.

Leaders of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have recently threatened to kill Pashtuns from the Mehsud tribe living in Karachi if they do not leave the ANP. The threats came from people linked with Waliur Rehman Mehsud, chief of TTP’s South Waziristan chapter, party sources said.

Karachi is Pakistan’s largest city, and about 5 million of its estimated 18 million residents are Pashtuns from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Balochistan. A large number of Pashtuns migrated to the city after unrest and violence in northern Pakistan since the war on terror began in 2001. After the killing of key Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders in drone attacks and military operations, a number of militants have also fled to Karachi in recent years, security experts and police officials say.

Although there are several Karachi-based militant outfits associated with Al Qaeda and Taliban consisting mainly of non-Pashtun members, militants from FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have recently been found involved in extortion and seeking protection money from Pashtun traders and transporters, and are believed to have killed a number of rival political figures.

“In the beginning, the militants from the tribal areas did not get involved in subversive activities. This was in line with a TTP policy to use Karachi only for fundraising and rest and recuperation,” said a tribal elder based in Sohrab Goth. “But now they seem to have changed their strategy.”

Taking advantage of the ongoing ethnic violence in the city, militants belonging to TTP’s Swat chapter killed dozens of elders and political figures of Swat who were travelling to or living in Karachi.

On June 18, Sher Ali Khan, head of the Swat Qaumi Ittehad and chairman of the Pakistan Seamen’s Union, was killed in the Frontier Colony area. His relatives blamed his death on Swati militants hiding in the city. Some of his family members, especially his nephew, former councilor Malik Riaz, were killed by the Taliban when they controlled Swat.

On January 5, Saeed Ahmed Khan, district president of ANP, was killed in an attack on his house in the Metroville area of SITE Town. Belonging to Manja village of Swat’s Kabal tehsil, he was an influential political figure in both Swat and Karachi. One of the attackers shot dead by a police constable assigned to Saeed Khan’s security was identified as Aminullah, a fugitive TTP Swat militant.

“A number of other Swati political and social figures have also been killed in the streets of Karachi by militants loyal to TTP Swat chief Maulana Fazlullah,” said Sher Shah Khan, a parliamentarian elected from Swat.

The militant group involved in the killings of pro-government elders of Swat in Karachi is mainly led by Ibn-e-Aqeel alias Khog, and Sher Muhammad alias Yaseen. Both are among the most wanted people in Swat. The task of these assassinations was assigned to them two and half years ago by TTP commander Ibn-e-Amin, of the lower Shawar area of Swat. Ibn-e-Amin – among the most dangerous militant commanders in Swat and linked with Al Qaeda – was killed in a drone attack in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency in December 2010.

Another militant group active in Karachi is loyal to TTP South Waziristan chief Waliur Rehman Mehsud, led in the city by Khan Zaman. In the beginning, they were believed to be involved in extortion from Mehsud tribesmen from South Waziristan who run transport and heavy machinery businesses in Karachi. The sum they asked for ranged from Rs1 million to Rs5 million.

But recently, they have started threatening the people from the Mehsud tribe to leave the ANP. “Most of the party’s offices in Sohrab Goth, Mingopir, Kunwari Colony, Pashtunabad and New Sultanabad have been closed down after the threats, and party members belonging to the Mehsud clan have gone underground,” a provincial leader of the ANP said. He requested anonymity for security reasons.

Mehsud tribesmen living in Karachi are seen as supporters of the ANP. Two of the party’s elected members of Sindh Assembly also belong to the Mehsud tribe. Although the ANP was the main target of terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA and had lost scores of party workers and lawmakers in attacks carried out by TTP because of their opposition to militancy and extremism, their Karachi leaders have never been threatened by Taliban groups before.

The Mohmand chapter of TTP has also formed a cell in Karachi for collecting protection money from the people belonging to Mohmand Agency. The network was developed by TTP Mohmand chief Omar Khalid and spokesman Ikramullah Mohmand to raise funds, said an elder from the Mohmand agency. Qari Shakeel, deputy to Omar Khalid, calls the traders himself, demanding money, he added. The network, led by TTP commander Yousaf Khan Mian in Karachi, has killed several traders who refused to pay, the elder said. Mohmand tribesmen based in Karachi usually sell timber and construction material.

Taliban militants are also involved in the July 17 attack on a WHO doctor and a July 20 slaying of a local community activist working with Polio eradication campaign in Sohrab Goth area, police say.

Mazshar Mashwani, a senior official at the Crime Investigation Department (CID), said Taliban militants hiding in Karachi had been killing ANP leaders and CID personnel for the last few months. “A group of TTP consisting of 9 or 10 militants has become active in the remits of SITE, Pirabad and Mingophir police stations, and killed several ANP and CID men,” he said. The militants, he said, were also carrying out fundraising through kidnapping for ransom, extortion and other means. Several CID and Rangers personnel involved in a crackdown against Taliban militants were killed in Pashtun dominated areas of Karachi in the last few weeks.

Experts and tribal elders say law-enforcement agencies should launch a “selective and surgical” operation in Karachi against militants who are hiding in the city.

A number of Taliban suspects have been arrested for murder, extortion and abduction in the last three months, according to news reports. They include Nazeerullah Mehsud (July 25), Faisal Mehsud and Khan Mohammad alias Sajid (July 2), Jahangir Khan Akakhel (June 9) and Muhammad Yaseen Mehsud alias Naib-Commander (May 28).

Police have also killed Omar Khitab, a key TTP leader, in a July 27 encounter. Khitab, belonging to South Waziristan, used to collect forced donations from Pashtun traders in Karachi, said Chaudhry Bashir, in charge of Mingophir police station.

The writer is a journalist and researcher and currently writing a book titled ‘Karachi in Turmoil’. Email: zia_red@hotmail.com

by Zia Ur Rehman

March 22, 2012

http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/pakistan/main/2012/03/22/feature-01

KARACHI – An awareness campaign against atrocities by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has begun in Karachi, denouncing its inhumane and un-Islamic acts and declaring the militant group “fitna” (a sower of chaos and sedition).

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A Karachi resident reads a poster March 20 denouncing the acts of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as inhumane and un-Islamic. An awareness campaign has been launched by the Karachi-based Anjuman-e-Muhibban Pakistan against TTP violence in Karachi. [Zia Ur Rehman

Posters and handbills denouncing suicide attacks and the slaughter of civilians by TTP miscreants have been plastered onto walls throughout the city.

Anjuman-e-Muhibban Pakistan (AMP), an NGO whose name means Organisation of Lovers of Pakistan, launched the campaign.

AMP : Taliban are ‘Outside Islam’

The campaign seeks to spotlight the atrocities of the Taliban, which the Pakistani mainstream media generally ignore, said Kaleemullah, an AMP leader.

The posters reproduce edicts, or fatwas, by various religious scholars declaring the Taliban “outside Islam.” All Taliban acts violate the basic norms of Islam and humanity, the fatwas say.

“Beyond the differences of sect and schools of thoughts, we are launching the campaign because we think some elements in the form of Muslims are playing into the hands of anti-Muslim powers,” Kaleemullah said, adding the AMP would soon extend the campaign nationwide.

“Terrorists linked with the TTP are the enemies of humanity and Islam. These terrorist acts are haram (forbidden),” Kaleemullah told Central Asia Online. “The TTP, a dark force, is maligning Islam by its un-Islamic and inhumane acts like beheading, killing the innocent, suicide attacks and attacking mosques and Sufi shrines.”

He asked for more concrete steps to stop terrorism and the slaying of innocent Muslims.

“The majority of the religious scholars and prayers leaders don’t blame the Taliban for attacking innocent Muslims because of fear of TTP reprisal,” he said, “But enough is enough. Now it is high time that all religious scholars and civil society should unite against the Taliban and call them oppressors and un-Islamic.”

Public Response :

Those who have read the posters hail the AMP’s efforts and say it is high time to stand up against the Taliban.

“The Taliban, in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, are sending the wrong message to the world that Muslims are terrorists, but in reality, the Taliban are the enemies of Islam,” said Arshad Haleem, a student of Sindh Medical College, Karachi, as he read an AMP poster on a wall of his school.

The late religious scholar Maulana Hassan Jan was the first to publicly denounce Taliban violence, and he termed it un-Islamic. He was assassinated in retaliation in 2007, said Mufti Azam Khan, a Karachi-based religious teacher. After Jan was killed, a large number of ulema and other religious scholars became reluctant to denounce the Taliban openly, Khan said.

Religious and political parties that fail to condemn the Taliban’s atrocities either feared them or were working hand in glove with them, Khan told Central Asia Online.

“Our religious and political parties are issuing phony statements … about terrorist activities (by foreigners). … But the fact is that Pakistani militant outfits, especially TTP, are behind all the killings and attacks,” Kaleemullah said.

Militants are attacking civilians because the public rejects them and because of the military defeats they’ve suffered, he added.

“Killing the innocent and non-combatants, especially children and women, is clearly a violation of Islamic preaching,” Khan said.

Taliban Terror mostly kills Civilians :

In 2011, as many as 1,966 terrorist attacks killed 2,391 people and injured 4,389 in Pakistan, according to the Pakistan Security Report 2011, prepared by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank. Taliban militants committed most of the violence.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) was the most volatile region, with 675 attacks in 2011, compared to 720 in 2010, the report said. In 2011, terrorist attacks there killed 612 people and wounded 1,190.

Pakistan suffered 45 suicide attacks in 2011, compared to 68 and 87 in 2010 and 2009, respectively, the PIPS report said. The TTP claimed responsibility for almost all of them, the report noted.

Those 45 suicide bombings killed 676 people and injured 1,462. Civilians accounted for most of the casualties, with 477 killed and 1,213 injured.

Taliban militants have defiled public places and those for religious events, including mosques, churches and shrines. Shia processions and Imambargahs, Ahmadi worship centres and missionary schools have also been attacked. In the last five years, 55 Pakistani places of worship have been attacked, and holy books of various faiths – including the Koran – have been incinerated in such attacks.

Taliban militants also target funerals. The most recent funeral bombing killed 18 in Badhaber March 12.

 

By Zia Ur Rehman
For CentralAsiaOnline.com
2011-06-24

KARACHI – Security officials have made progress against extremists, forcing such groups as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and al-Qaeda to splinter into smaller cells, an indication that their network is shattered, analysts and police say.

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Policemen search vehicles along a road in Karachi May 2. Security forces have forced militant groups in Karachi to split into small, more obscure groups, police say. [REUTERS/Athar Hussain

Having the factions split up is an end result that has been partially achieved by such things as the deaths of extremist leaders and the cultivation of informants among the public.

“The killing of Osama bin Laden, Baitullah Mehsud and other key leaders is the main factor shattering the TTP network across the country,” Brig. Shaukat Qadir, a security analyst, told Central Asia Online. Bin Laden’s May 2 death in Abbottabad was, at the time, predicted to be a test for the militant network.

Different militant outfits collaborating with the TTP and al-Qaeda are splitting up because al-Qaeda funding has dried up, Qadir said.

“This is indeed a success of security forces against the TTP, as a large number of TTP hardcore militants as well as some al-Qaeda operatives have been apprehended in Karachi,” he said.

Hundreds of suspects caught

Police have also been working to get information from citizens.

“We have developed a strong network of … informers in militant groups that help us track down the militant outfits,” Chaudry Aslam, senior superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sindh Police, told Central Asia Online.

That has helped with the fight.

“In 2010, we arrested 163 members of the TTP while more than 200 have been arrested from the beginning of this year,” Aslam said.

Law enforcement has hindered the activities of the Karachi TTP network by arresting three consecutive alleged amirs, or TTP heads, and dozens of members, Ikram Mehsud, a TTP leader in Karachi, admitted.

The suspected Karachi TTP chiefs whom police nabbed were Akhter Zaman Mehsud, Bahadur Khan Momand (aka Sadiq) and Maulvi Saeed Anwar, he said.

Such arrests have been “a blessing for the people” as they will slow terrorist activities in Karachi until newly appointed leaders can rebuild the network, Aslam said.

Many small terror cells discovered

But a new challenge has emerged. Every month, law enforcement agencies are uncovering new and little-known militant organisations, said Ahmed Wali, a Karachi-based senior journalist who covers militancy-related issues.

“We have developed a strong network of … informers in militant groups that help us track down the militant outfits,” Chaudry Aslam, senior superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sindh Police, told Central Asia Online.

Such groups include Jundullah, the Badar Mansoor group, Kharooj, the Al-Mukhtar group, Punjabi Mujahidin, Al-Furqan, Laskhar-e-Balochistan and Al-Qataal – all discovered within the past year, Wali said. Splinter groups typically arise in one of two ways.

“First, when some leaders form their own outfit, abandoning their jihadi group and forming direct links with the TTP and al-Qaeda,” said Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.

Second, forming a new and little-known operational cell comprising a few members who are responsible for carrying out activities in a specific geographic location,” he said, adding that this method allows the militants to dodge security officials longer.

Karachi police discovered the Badar Mansoor faction of the TTP May 12. It allegedly consists of students from Karachi academic institutions, including the University of Karachi. Four of its alleged members were planning to attack government installations and intelligence agency offices, Karachi Police Chief Saud Mirza said May 13.

The same group, operating under the name of Punjabi Mujahideen in Karachi’s colleges, was also involved in the December 28 bombing at the University of Karachi that injured four students, he added.

Karachi police discovered the Al-Mukhtar group by arresting one of its suspected key leaders in a raid April 26. Police accuse the Omar Baloch-led group of involvement in bombing a gambling den April 21. They have since learned it is a splinter group of Laskhar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) whose militants trained in South Waziristan, Fayyaz Khan, a senior CID official, told Central Asia Online.

Sindh Police’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) also arrested Abdul Qadir Kalmati (aka Rocket) April 4. They accuse of him belonging to Lashkar-e-Balochistan (LeB), a Baloch separatist group involved in attacking police stations and security installations. Kalmati has admitted under questioning that LeB is working with the TTP, said Raja Omar Khitab, the SIU’s senior superintendent of police.

Kharooj is another new and little-known militant organisation operating in Karachi that has been recruiting the young, especially students of academic institutions, the Daily Express reported May 11. The group’s leaders are hardcore militants who separated from the TTP and the LeJ after feuding with their leadership, the report added.

Dispersion may help militants

Jundullah, the Asian Tigers, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami, Jundul Hafsa and the Punjabi Taliban are the main groups that split off from the LeJ and are carrying out its subversive activities from Karachi to Waziristan, a report published last November in the Express Tribune stated.

The article stated that the LeJ is the biggest group operating in Karachi and that of 246 suspected terrorists arrested in the city since 2001, 94 belonged to the LeJ, according to a secret CID report.

However, some say breaking up and scattering the militants may improve their chances of survival.

The small cell strategy makes each cell responsible for carrying out activities in a specific geographic location, said Rana.

“And the main purpose is to divert the attention of security officers,” he said. Indeed, because so few people are in the cells and they are so scattered, their existence comes to light only “when law enforcement agencies arrest their members.”