On January 16, 2015, at least three Shia Muslims were shot dead in Rawalpindi District while they were returning home from a religious gathering. The victims were identified as lawyer Fayyaz Hussain Shah (40), and his two nephews Mir Ghazi Shah (20) and Mir Hamza Shah (22). The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) 'spokesperson' Muhammad Khorasani claimed responsibility for the attack saying that lawyer Fayyaz Hussain Shah was active in his Shia community and was also a local leader of the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
First published in South Asia Intelligence Review
Pakistan continues to play the role of a 'good host' to a multiplicity of Islamist terrorist groupings, prominently including al Qaeda and its many affiliates, as well as various factions of the Taliban operating in Afghanistan. As the US tinkers with its 'strategy' of phased withdrawal from Afghanistan, and seeks a 'negotiated settlement' with the 'good Taliban', al Qaeda and its allies are preparing to unleash a storm of violence across the region, one that will find resonances across the world. And Pakistan will not be immune to the savage blowback that, inevitably, will follow.
First published in the South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR)
On December 12, 2011, the Gadap Town Police in Karachi, the Provincial capital of Sindh, rescued 53 children chained in an underground dungeon at a seminary, the Jamia Masjid Zakaria Kandhelwi Madrassa Arabia, situated in the Afghan Basti in the Sohrab Goth area of Karachi. These children had been chained for 30 days. Unearthing tales of torture, the Police revealed that the chained captives received indoctrination from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) instructors, preparing them to join the outfit’s ‘jihad’ (holy war) on the Afghan front. One of the rescued students stated, "We are being made mujahedeen (holy warriors) here. We are being made Taliban here. They say you should get training... we will send you to fight." An unnamed Police official told the Press, "The rescued students included kids as young as seven years old and 21 teenagers,'' and further revealed that the chained students were beaten and barely fed.
On November 4, 2011, Pentagon officials declared that "relentless pursuit" of the Haqqani Network was the top priority for American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, as this terrorist formation continued to be a major threat to US and NATO Forces in Afghanistan. Navy Captain John Kirby, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Media Operations, noted, "The Haqqani Network is lethal, deadly and continues to conduct operations inside Afghanistan and is a growing concern for our commanders out there."