ATbar Harkat-ul-Mujahideen - An Update

Harkat-ul-Mujahideen - An Update

20/03/1999 | by Raman, B.  
Reprinted with permission from South Asia Analysis Group

On October 1,1997, Mrs.Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State, notified to the US Congress a list of 30 international terrorist organisations which the US Government had decided to bring under the purview of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, 1996, which makes it an offence for any citizen or resident of the US to provide funds or other assistance to such organisations. The Act also empowers the US Administration to deny visas to members of such organisations and prohibits their representatives from operating from US territory.

The Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA) of Pakistan, one of the organisations so notified, was started in central Punjab in Pakistan in the early 1980s by certain religious elements under the name the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) with headquarters at Raiwind in Punjab, where it holds its annual conferences. After the US notification, the HUA has reverted back to its original name of HUM and, hence, it will hereafter be referred to as HUM.

Initially, its objective was stated to be to organise humanitarian relief for the Afghan refugees in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan.

It is a Sunni organisation, closer to the Deoband school of thought and to Wahabism. Like the Markaz Dawa Al Irshad, it holds the sufi tradition of tolerance of other religions and the importance of the teacher (guru)-taught (sishya) relationship as the corrupting influence of Hinduism on Islam. Like the Markaz and the Taliban, it also holds that the woman’s position is at home and denounces pluralist, parliamentary democracy and equal rights for women as the corrupting influence of the West on Islamic societies.

It draws its volunteers from the Tabligi Jamaat (TJ), which ostensibly carries on missionary and charitable work amongst Muslims, not only in Pakistan, but also in other countries. Amongst prominent personalities of Pakistan who had been closely associated with the TJ are Mohammad Rafique Tarar, presently President of Pakistan, and Lt.Gen. (retd) Javed Nasir, who was the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during Nawaz Sharif’s first tenure as Prime Minister and who is presently intelligence adviser to Sharif.

Even while in service, Lt.Gen.Nasir was closely associated with the TJ and he had to be removed by the Government as DG, ISI, in 1993 when the Clinton Administration placed Pakistan on the so-called watch-list of suspected state sponsors of international terrorism. As a condition for removing Pakistan’s name from the list, the US demanded the removal from the ISI of Lt.Gen.Nasir and a number of other officers who had reportedly been identified by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as assisting terrorist groups in India, Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia.

A few months after its formation, the HUM decided to send volunteers into Afghanistan for assisting the Afghan Mujahideen groups. Initially, the recruitment was done in Pakistan and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK). The HUM was estimated to have recruited about 5,000 volunteers and sent them into Afghanistan. The money came from Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia (Osama bin Laden was an important contributor), the arms and ammunition from the CIA through the ISI and the training was given by the Pakistan army.

Subsequently, the HUM recruited volunteers from the Muslim communities in other countries too. About 6,000 volunteers were thus recruited from Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Jammu & Kashmir of India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and the Philippines. The CIA, which was aware of this recruitment, closed its eyes to it since the HUM’s activities served the US purpose of bringing about the defeat of Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

The initial batch of HUM volunteers was trained in the use of arms and ammunition and explosives in training camps in the Paktia province of Afghanistan run by Jalaluddin Haqqani, the leader of the Hezb Islami (Khalis) Afghan Mujahideen group. Haqqani has since joined the Taliban.

Subsequently, the HUM set up its own training camps in Afghan territory just across Miran Shah in the NWFP. Some of the best fighters of the Afghan war came from the HUM training camps. Impressed by their motivation and prowess, the CIA issued Stinger missiles to them and trained them in their use for bringing down Soviet planes and helicopters.

After the collapse of the Najibullah Government in April 1992, the CIA wanted the HUM and other Mujahideen groups to return the unused Stinger missiles for which it offered handsome payments. It also asked the ISI to pressurise these groups to return the unused missiles. They refused and Lt.Gen.Nasir allegedly did not co-operate with the CIA in getting them back.

This was one of the reasons for the CIA’s anger against him and against the HUM.
It demanded and obtained in 1993 the removal of Lt.Gen.Nasir and in August, 1998, when the Cruise missiles attacked the suspected infrastructure of bin Laden in Afghanistan, the HUM training camps came in for focussed attack, apparently to teach the HUM leaders a lesson for double-crossing the CIA by not returning the unused Stinger missiles. The HUM was the largest recipient of these missiles before 1992.

After the Afghan Mujahideen captured power in Kabul in April 1992, the HUM converted itself into an international network of fighters for defending the rights of the Muslims all over the world. The name of the organisation was changed as HUA in 1993 and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, another organisation of Afghan vintage, merged with it. As already mentioned above, after the US notification of October 1,1997, the HUA has reverted to its original name of HUM.

From 1992, the HUM spread its activities to Jammu & Kashmir of India, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Myanmar and the Philippines. In an interview to the “News”, a daily newspaper of Islamabad, on February 13,1995, an unidentified HUM activist, who had claimed to have fought against the Indian army in Kashmir, said: “ We try to go wherever our Muslim brothers are terrorised, without any monetary consideration. Our colleagues went and fought against the oppressors in Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Burma, the Philippines and, of course, India. Although Pakistani members of the Harkat are not participating directly in anti-government armed resistance in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Jordan, many of the fighters in those countries had remained our colleagues during the Afghan war and we know one another very well. We are doing whatever we can to help them install Islamic governments in those states.”

The daily further quoted the HUM office-bearer as stating as follows: “ Separate cells look after the training, operations and funds within the organisation. A typical Harkat sympathiser first contacts one of its offices and offers his services for jehad anywhere in the world. The sympathiser, after the necessary in-house security clearance, is then sent for a ten-day training programme. Later, he is sent to the relevant Harkat commander, who arranges weapons and selects routes to transport the Mujahid to the area of operation to work under a field commander. Each worker volunteers his services for 40 to 120 days.

“The Mujahid is told in advance that in case of martyrdom, his body would not be brought back to Pakistan and he would be buried at the place of the operation. The Harkat takes full care of the families of the martyrs. Our brave warriors are buried in Kashmir, Tajikistan, Bosnia, Burma and the Philippines. Muslims in those countries would never forget these courageous boys from Pakistan. We always tell those intending to join us that we are devoted to Islamic jehad and, by joining us, you have chosen a path that may take you to death.”

HUM office-bearers also claimed that amongst the foreign volunteers trained by them were 16 Afro-American Muslims from the US. They also claimed that since the demolition of the Babri Masjid in India in December 1992, the HUM had been receiving funds from some members of the Indian Muslim community in the UK.

The “News” identified Fazlur Rahman Khalil as the head of the HUM. However, the US State Department’s Counter-Terrorism Division identifies the leader of the HUM as Maulana Sadaatullah Khan. It is believed that while Rahman Khalil heads the HUM for the whole of Pakistan, Sadaatullah Khan heads its POK unit.

The “News” further reported on March 27,1995, as follows: “ Official investigation has revealed that dozens of Saudis committed to jehad all over the world have been visiting the military training camps inside Afghanistan. Sources estimated that at least 2,000 persons, mostly Pakistanis and Arabs of different nationalities, are currently engaged in military training in those camps for jehad in Kashmir and elsewhere in the world.”

It added: “These sources estimated that since the expulsion of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, at least 10,000 Pakistanis belonging to Islamic parties such as the Jamaat Islami, the HUA, the Markaz Dawa Al Irshad and the Jamiat Ulema Islam have acquired training in making bombs, hurling grenades, firing from light and heavy weapons and in laying mines… The Harkat and all other militant organisations committed to Islamic jehad all over the world have acknowledged sending their guerillas to Tajikistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, the Philippines, Burma and Kashmir.”

The paper concluded: “The Jamaat Islami, the Harkat and other organisations have never been challenged by the Government in their campaign to recruit committed Muslims to commit jehad anywhere in the world. These organisations are also permitted to collect jehad funds anywhere in the country.”

In an investigative report on the activities of the Abu Sayaff (meaning Sword-bearer) group, which has been fighting for the independence of the Muslim-inhabited areas of the southern Philippines, the “Far Eastern Economic Review” of Hong Kong stated as follows on March 9,1995: “The Tabligi Jamaat movement in the Philippines has registered a phenomenal growth. Philippine military intelligence sources claim it has as many as 300,000 members in the Muslim areas of Mindanao. A military intelligence document on Islamic fundamentalism further claims that Ramzi Ahmed Yousef was helped by Abu Sayaff’s network to move in and out of the Philippines. Military intelligence sources say that the Abu Sayaff group has bought high-powered arms and that Pakistani veterans of the war in Afghanistan are helping to train its fighters. Sayaff’s lieutenants are composed mainly of Filipino Muslim volunteers, who joined the international Islamic brigade which fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, the military intelligence document asserts.” (Note: Ramzi Yousef was extradited from Pakistan to the US in March 1995 on charges of complicity in the World Trade Centre bombing and has since been convicted)

Earlier (February 23,1995), the same journal had reported as follows: “ Since 1985, groups of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the armed wing of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), have gained combat experience in Afghanistan. The MILF has tried to shun publicity as it quietly built up its forces, but some national media attention came its way last year with reports that it had smuggled in a large shipment of high-powered weapons. The Government’s National Intelligence Co-ordinating Agency reported that the weapons included hundreds of Russian-made rocket-propelled RPG-2 grenades. Also brought in were six 75mm anti-aircraft guns, American-made B-40 anti-tank rockets and 81mm mortars."

The report of the US State Department on “Patterns of Global Terrorism” during 1994, submitted to the US Congress in April,1995, for the first time took note of the activities of the HUM (HUA) in the following words: “The HUA raised its visibility (during 1994) by kidnapping two British citizens (in India) in June. This group has recently carried out a number of operations against Indian groups and civilian targets in Kashmir. The HUA captured Lt.Col. Bhupinder Singh in January and demanded that Indian forces turn over an HUA commander in return for Singh’s release. When the Indian authorities refused, the militants killed Singh. In mid-May, HUA militants conducted two attacks in Doda district in which they stopped buses, forced the passengers off , then singled out individuals for execution—the last victim was a 14-year-old Muslim boy.”

The report added: “The HUA has several thousand armed members located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in the southern Kashmir valley and Doda regions of India. The HUA uses light and heavy machine guns, assault rifles, mortars, explosives and rockets. Membership is open to all who support the HUA’s objectives and are willing to take the group’s 40-day training course. It has a core militant group of about 300, mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris, but includes Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. The HUA is based in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, but its members have participated in insurgent and terrorist operations in Kashmir, Burma, Tajikistan and Bosnia. The HUA’s Burma branch, located in the Arakans, trains local Muslims in weapons handling and guerilla warfare. In Tajikistan, HUA members have served with and trained Tajik resistance elements. The first group of HUA militants entered Bosnia in 1992. The source and amount of HUA’s military funding are unknown, but are believed to come from sympathetic Arab countries and wealthy Pakistanis and Kashmiris.”

The State Department’s reports for 1995 and 1996 continued to bring on record the terrorist activities of the HUA. In addition, they also took note of the HUA’s links with the so-called Al Faran, which captured some Western tourists in July,1995, beheaded one of them and has been silent on the fate of the others since then. One of them managed to escape.

The report of the State Department for 1995 released in May,1996, said: “ The HUA has been linked to the Kashmir militant group Al Faran that has held four Western hostages in Kashmir since July,1995. There is no evidence that the HUA ordered the kidnapping.”

The State Department’s report for 1997 released in April,1998, said that there continued to be credible reports of official Pakistani support for the Kashmiri extremist groups such as the HUM.

It added: “ Muslims from around the world, including a large number of Egyptians, Algerians, Palestinians and Saudis continued to use Afghanistan as a training ground. The Taliban as well as many other combatants in the Afghan civil war facilitated the training and the indoctrination facilities for the non-Afghans in the territories they controlled. Several Afghan factions also provided logistic support, free passage and sometimes passports to the members of the various terrorist organisations.”

It further said: “These individuals, in turn, were involved in fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Kashmir, the Philippines and parts of the Middle East.”

It is necessary to digress a little here and draw attention to the difficulties faced by Indian counter-terrorism agencies in the past in dealing with terrorism in the Punjab, Kashmir, Nagaland and the rest of India due to the attitude of the Western countries.

Some Sikh groups, funded by some members of the Sikh diaspora, took to terrorism in 1981, with the training and arms assistance given by the ISI. Till, 1985, no Western Government would take notice of their acts of terrorism and treat them as terrorist organisations.

But, after some Sikh extremist elements in Canada blew up the Kanishka aircraft of Air India off the Irish coast in June,1985, killing a large number of Canadian nationals, the Governments of the UK and Canada started treating them as terrorist groups. In the same month, the US authorities uncovered evidence of plans by some Sikh extremists to indulge in acts of terrorism against Indian visitors in US territory. This induced a change in the US attitude too towards accepting India’s contention that these were terrorist groups.

Even thereafter, the continental European countries were disinclined to treat them as terrorist groups, but their attitude too changed only after some Sikh extremists kidnapped a Romanian diplomat, Liviu Radu, in New Delhi in October,1991. One of the arrested suspects stated during the interrogation that their initial target was a French diplomat, but since the security outside the French chancery was tight, they kidnapped a Romanian.

When the world press did not take much notice of the kidnapping, a Sikh extremist in the US told his counterpart in Pakistan, who was co-ordinating the operation, over phone that the world was indifferent because nobody was bothered about the life of a Romanian. He added that they should have instead kidnapped an American or a West European. Thereafter, the continental European countries too started taking action against these terrorist elements in their territory.

Similarly, Kashmiri terrorist groups, the Markaz and the HUM had been killing hundreds of innocent Kashmiris and other Indians since 1989, but the US and other Western governments would not treat them as terrorist groups till one of the Kashmiri extremist groups attacked some Israeli tourists in the Valley in 1992 and the HUM kidnapped two British nationals in 1994.

In the perception of the US and other Western governments, these were not terrorists so long as they kept killing only Indian nationals, mainly Hindus, but they became terrorist groups the moment they started killing Western nationals and Jewish persons.

Terrorism has continued to thrive partly because of this lack of objective standards in assessing and dealing with it. This lack of objectivity came to the fore once again last year when President Clinton ordered the bombing of terrorist camps in Afghanistan in reprisal for the explosions outside the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, but he cautioned India against emulating the US example in dealing with the anti-India training camps in Pakistani territory.

In the US perception, if the US did it, it was in exercise of its right of active defence against terrorism, but if India did it, it would be a threat to regional peace and stability.

If Clinton discharged his responsibility to protect American lives through proactive measures, it was legitimate and in accordance with the UN Charter, but if L.K.Advani, India’s Home Minister, spoke of his responsibility to protect Indian lives from terrorism through proactive measures, it was jingoistic and contrary to the UN Charter. That is American logic.

Reverting to the HUM, on September 8,1995, the Pakistani Customs stopped a car carrying a consignment of heavy arms and ammunition near Kohat in the NWFP and arrested its driver and Saifullah Akhtar , an office-bearer of the POK branch of the HUM. On interrogation, they reportedly told the Customs authorities that the weapons had been procured by Brig. Mustansar Billa of the Pakistan army at Darra Adamkhel for supply to the Kashmiri extremist groups.

The Pakistan army then took over the investigation and arrested a group of 40 army officers and 10 civilians headed by Maj.Gen.Zaheer-ul-Islam Abbasi, who was previously posted as Military Attache in the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi. He was expelled by the Government of India in 1989 for indulging in espionage.

The Pakistani authorities alleged that this group had planned to kill senior military officers and Mrs.Benazir Bhutto, the then Prime Minister, seize power and proclaim an Islamic state. They were secretly tried by a military court and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.

M.H.Askari, a well-known columnist, wrote in the “Dawn” of Karachi of October 18,1995, as follows: “ It is said that the plotters had close links with the Hizbul Mujahideen and the HUA, which are known for their involvement in international terrorism. It is also said that the arrested officers wanted Pakistan to become militarily involved in the Kashmir freedom struggle.”

The “Nation” of October 20,1995, reported that Maj.Gen.Abbasi had close contacts with the HUM. The “Khabrain” alleged that two of the arrested officers belonged to a secret agency (implying the ISI) and that one of them was the staff officer of Lt.Gen.Nasir when he was the DG,ISI.

The “Nation” of November 15,1995, reported as follows: “ Almost all the arrested officers are followers of the Tabligi Jamaat based in Raiwind.”

The “Herald”, the monthly journal of the “Dawn” group of publications, in its January 1996 issue, identified Saifullah Akhtar, who was travelling in the vehicle with the arms and ammunition, as the patron of the HUM. It added that, mysteriously, the Pakistani army authorities decided not to prosecute him.

Fortunately, the interception of the vehicle by the Customs alerted the authorities to the plot to seize power and they were able to pre-empt it. But, one cannot be certain that the authorities had identified all the sympathisers of the HUM in the military.

The Markaz and its Lashkar-e-Toiba, the HUM and the TJ are the non-mainstream extremist organisations which do not believe in elections and a parliamentary democracy. They advocate a caliphate and the transfer of nuclear and missile technologies by Pakistan to other Muslim countries and their eventual use against India to “liberate” the Muslims of India.

These irrational organisations were pampered by the late Gen.Zia-ul-Haq and they still have many sympathisers at various levels of the Pakistan military. To realise this, one has to only note the number of Pakistani military officers who, after retirement, gravitate towards these organisations instead of to the traditional democracy-advocating political parties.

If these organisations succeed one day in seizing power, the world would be faced with the spectre of international terrorist organisations, with links to the likes of bin Laden, having their finger on Pakistan’s nuclear trigger.

On February 17,1998, Abdul Aziz Kamilov, the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, for the first time accused the Markaz, the HUM and the TJ of fomenting Islamic extremism and violence in Uzbekistan. He revealed that 400 persons from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were undergoing training in arms and ammunition in the training centres of these organisations located in the Karachi, Islamabad, Mardan and Peshawar areas. He added that the matter had been taken up with the Pakistani authorities, who, however, subsequently denied the presence of any such training camps in Pakistani territory.

The Uzbek authorities have so far refrained from blaming the Pakistani authorities for the activities of these organisations. They have been saying that either the Pakistani authorities are not aware of these activities, or, if they are aware, they are unable to control them.

The Markaz and its Lashkar and the HUM have become members of the International Islamic Front for Jihad against the US And Israel whose formation was announced by bin Laden in May last year. The meeting at which the decision to form this Front was taken was attended, amongst others, by the following:

(a).Sheikh Taseer Abdullah also known as Abu Hafs Al-Misri also suspected to be identical with Mohammed Atef, whom the FBI describes as the military commander of bin Laden and for whose capture it has reportedly announced a reward of US $ 5 million. He acts as the chief body guard cum personal secretary cum chief adviser of bin Laden. It is reported that he came to Afghanistan in 1983 from Egypt where he was a police officer. He joined the Afghan jehad much before Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden andSheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric presently undergoing imprisonment in the US for his role in the World Trade Centre bombing of 1993. He accompanied bin Laden to Saudi Arabia and then Sudan, where he assisted him in running the training camps. When the Sudanese authorities asked bin Laden to leave in 1996, Sheikh Taseer accompanied him to Afghanistan.

(b).Dr.Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the Jamatul Jihad of Egypt, who acts as the interpreter and press spokesman of bin Laden. His grand father, AbdulWahab, used to be the Egyptian Ambassador to Pakistan.

(c).Mohammad and Abu Asim, sons of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. They are both associated with the Al-Gama Al-Islamiyyah of Egypt.

(d). Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the Amir of the Markaz and its Lashkar.

(e). Fazlur Rahman Khalil, the Amir of the HUM.

Addressing a press conference at Islamabad on August 22,1998, after the US bombing of the HUM training camps in Afghanistan, Fazlur Rahman Khalil denied that bin Laden was indulging in terrorism and accused the US of killing 50 innocent civilians, including 15 Arabs.

He said that the camps bombed by the US in Afghan territory had actually been set up by the CIA during the Afghan war and claimed that these were being used by the HUM for giving education to the Afghans. He denied that any training in terrorism was going on in these camps.

He alleged that the Nawaz Sharif Government was privy to the bombing and said that 40 Cruise missiles had struck three HUM camps in Afghan territory.

He then warned: “ The USA has proved itself to be the world’s biggest terrorist by carrying out the attacks on Afghanistan and the Sudan and I want to convey to the US leadership that we will take revenge for the attack.”

The US attacked the following HUM camps:

(a). The Salman Fasi camp situated in Jawah, two kms inside Afghan territory from the Pakistani border post of Saidgai. This camp was initially started in the 1980s by the Hizbul Mujahideen of Kashmir with the help of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) of Pakistan. Angered over the JI’s support to GulbuddinHeckmatyar, the Taliban expelled the Hizbul Mujahideen from the Afghan territory and handed over the camp to the HUM, which re-named it as the Hazrat Amir Mawia camp. When the HUA changed its name as HUM
after the US notification branding the HUA as an international terrorist organisation, some members of the HUA, having differences with the HUM Amir, set up a splinter group called the Jamaitul Mujahideen under Mufti Bashir. They have their own training camp in the same area.

(b).The Khalid bin Waleed camp in the Zhavar area near the Pakistan border:Seven HUM members, including Abu Huraira, an instructor, were killed.

(c).The Liza camp at Tanai in the Khost area, 40 kms to the West of the Mawia camp. This was run by another HUM splinter group called the Harkat Jehad Islami under one Qari Saiful Islam Akhtar.

(d). Another camp close to the Darwanta hydel power station near Jalalabad. This camp originally belonged to Heckmatyar’s Hizbe Islami. The Taliban captured it in September 1996, and handed it over to the HUM.

Addressing the Karachi Press Club on August 23,1998, Azizur Rahman Danish, the head of the Sindh branch of the HUM, warned: “The US air strikes have drawn a clear dividing line between the Muslim Ummah and non-believers and this is the beginning of a crusade. The USA will be paid back in the same coin.”

Addressing a press conference at Peshawar on August 25, 1998, Fazlur Rahman Khalil said that nine HUM members died in the US attack on its camps in the Khost area, of whom five were killed on the spot and the remaining succumbed to their injuries in Pakistani hospitals. In addition, two Tajiks and four Arabs, two of them physically handicapped, were also killed. According to him, the Cruise missiles destroyed four mosques, partially damaged another and burnt 200 copies of the Holy Quran kept in the camps.

He added: “The USA calls Osama a terrorist and President Clinton is claiming that all terrorist training camps had been destroyed in the air strikes. Let me tell the Americans that not even one per cent of the so-called terrorist camps run by Osama have been destroyed.”

In another warning to the US on September 1,1998, Fazlur Rahman Khalil said: “The USA has struck us with Tomahawk Cruise missiles at only two places, but we will hit back at them everywhere in the world, wherever we find them. We have started a holy war against the US and they will hardly find a tree to take shelter beneath it.”

Khalid Ahmed, a well-known Pakistani analyst, wrote as follows in the issue of the “Friday Times”, a Pakistani weekly, for the week from August 28 to September 3,1998: “The national consensus on Kashmir often blinds Pakistan to the isolationist compulsions that arise from it. Internal politics has compelled the removal of Heckmatyar’s Hizbe Islami from the Afghan jehad and his ally Qazi Hussain Ahamad’s Hizbul Mujahideen from the Kashmir jehad. The vacuum created by their ouster has been filled exclusively with Deobandi and Wahabi Mujahideen.

“The Deobandi HUA and the Wahabi Lashkar-e-Toiba are the main outfits fighting in Kashmir, but their guerilla training is acquired in Afghanistan. ..That the jehad in Kashmir is dependent on the Afghan jehad is hidden from no one. That it gives a locus standi to India in Afghanistan is not clear to most Pakistanis. The Pakistani compulsion to wage the Kashmiri jehad with the help of Deobandi-Wahabi warriors has allowed anew religious stringency to prevail in Pakistani society.”

He added: “In 1996, the Lahore High Court openly favoured the Wahabi jurisprudence as some of the judges were found to be of Ahle Hadith persuasion. Prime Ministers and Presidents have been attending Deobandi congregations to demonstrate their new faith. Violent sectarianism is the offshoot of this social change.”

In an editorial in the issue for the week from August 14 to 20, 1998, the same journal warned: “ Pakistan is gradually falling under the puritanical faith of Deobandi-Wahabi forces that are allied to the Taliban. In the past two years, for example, Pakistani judges are increasingly falling prey to Islamic extremism….The Pakistani state will become hostage to the Taliban Deobandi brand of Islam by continuing to give succour to the Jamiat Ulema Islam, the Sipah-e-Sahaba and the HUM.”

In an article in the same issue, Ejaz Haider, another Pakistani analyst, said: “A recent report brought out the linkage between Deobandi sectarian organisations in Pakistan and the HUA which has links both with the Taliban and the JUI.” It said that Imams belonging to these organisations have been saying in their addresses to their congregations that after consolidating its hold in Afghanistan, the Taliban would not only “liberate” Kashmir, but also rid Pakistan of Shias and Brelvi Sunnis.

The HUM has strongly opposed the process for the normalisation of Indo-Pakistani relations. In a statement before the recent visit of the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, to Lahore for talks with Nawaz Sharif, Fazlur Rahman Khalil warned: “More bodies of Indian officials would be sent in coffins from Kashmir on the days Vajpayee visits Lahore.” He also said that Islam’s enemity with India was ideological and not just territorial. He alleged that it was the US which had pressurised the two Prime Ministers to meet.

The Markaz and its Lashkar and the HUM are determined to wreck the normalisation process by stepping up their terrorist activities against India.