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(Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws)

Incidents involving TNSM

The Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi is one of the five outfits that were proscribed by President Pervez Musharraf on January 12, 2002.


The Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) was founded in 1992 with the objective of a militant enforcement of Sharia (Islamic law).

Ideology and Objectives

The TNSM is a militant Wahabi outfit whose primary objective is the imposition of Sharia in Pakistan.

Ideologically, it is dedicated to transform Pakistan into a Taliban style state. In an August 1998-speech in Peshawar, Maulana Sufi Mohammed, its leader who is currently imprisoned in Pakistan, reportedly declared that those opposing the imposition of Sharia in Pakistan were wajib-ul-qatl (worthy of death).

The outfit while rejecting democracy has termed it as ‘un-Islamic’. In an interview, Maulana Sufi Mohammed said, "We want enforcement of the Islamic judicial system in totality: judicial, political, economic, jihad, fi sabilillah, education and health. In my opinion the life of the faithful will automatically be moulded according to the Islamic system when the judicial system is enforced."

TNSM rejects all political and religio-political parties as, according to it, they follow the western style of democracy.

TNSM openly condones the use of force in what they see as a Jihad.

Leadership, Structure and Headquarters

Maulana Sufi Mohammed is the leader of the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM). He was an active leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami in the 1980s. He quit the Jamaat in 1992 to form the TNSM. He is reported to have organised thousands of people to fight the Northern Alliance (NA) in Afghanistan after the defeat of the Taliban in 2001. However, a majority of them were either killed or arrested by the NA in Afghanistan. Some, including Sufi Mohammed, managed to return to Pakistan, only to be arrested. Sufi Mohammad has since then been in jail.

Since Sufi Mohammad's imprisonment, his son-in-law Maulana Fazalullah is reportedly now leading the TNSM.

Maulana Faqir Mohammed is one of the prominent leaders. Maulana Liaquat, another of the prominent TNSM leaders, was killed during the aerial strike claimed by the Pakistani security forces on a Madrassa (seminary) in the Chingai village at Bajaur on October 30, 2006. The Government has said that the Ziaul Uloom wa Taleemul Quran seminary, run by Maulana Liaquat, was being used for training militants. At least 83 people were killed in the aerial raid. Faqir Mohammad and Maulana Liaquat were wanted by the Government for harbouring Taliban operatives and training militants.

The executive body is the highest policy making organ of the TNSM. The outfit has a large number of ex-servicemen, including many retired Commissioned Officers, within its ranks. According to one report, many TNSM cadres are alleged to be persons with a criminal background.

The TNSM headquarters is located in Maidan, near Bajaur Agency in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Area of operation

The TNSM operates primarily in the tribal belt, such as Swat and the adjoining districts of the NWFP. Although well established in the NWFP, the TNSM has had only limited success in expanding its activities beyond the tribal areas of the province. It has substantial support in Malakand and Bajaur and includes activists that have fought in Afghanistan at some time during the past 25 years.

Activities and Incidents

Since the imprisonment of Sufi Mohammed, the loss of cadres in end 2001 and the proscription, the TNSM has been largely defunct. However, more recent reports indicate that the outfit began to revive after the October 8, 2005-earthquake and the subsequent relief efforts by Islamist extremist groups.

The Government believes that the TNSM has links with the Taliban militia in Afghanistan.

It first came into prominence in November 1994 when it led an armed uprising in support of Sharia in the Malakand division of NWFP. The outfit’s call to arms reportedly drew large numbers of experienced Afghan Mujahideen from the nearby Peshawar and Bajaur areas. Approximately 40 persons, including 12 security force personnel, were killed in a week of fighting before the Government was able to reestablish its writ. The Frontier Corps was deployed to regain control of the Saidu Sharif airport, roads, police stations and judicial courts in the area. Police fired tear gas on December 4, 1994, to halt a march by approximately 10,000 members of the TNSM who were seeking the release of 85 colleagues who had been arrested during the past month's protests.

On June 19, 1995, the TNSM Chief and 20 of his senior followers were arrested following a clash with the security forces. At least 26 persons were injured when hundreds of TNSM cadres occupied Government offices in the Swat district. They were demanding the implementation of an agreement reached with the Government in 1994 to enforce Sharia in Malakand. Further, on September 6, 1998, the TNSM threatened to attack American property and also abduct American citizens in Pakistan unless the USA apologised to the Muslim world for the August 1998 missile strikes in Afghanistan.

The TNSM in Malakand organized a protest procession in Mingora on September 20, 2001 where the speakers called for raising a voluntary army in order to extend support to the Taliban militia against the then impending US strikes.

During the US military campaign in Afghanistan, the TNSM is reported to have sent thousands of armed cadres to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban militia. News reports of October 27, 2001, from Bajaur indicated that approximately 10,000 TNSM cadres led by their Chief, Maulana Sufi Mohammed, crossed the Pakistan-Afghan border. They were armed with Kalashnikovs, rocket launchers, missiles, anti-aircraft guns, hand grenades and swords. News reports added that the political administration of Bajaur Agency allowed the TNSM cadres to pass through the agency jurisdiction on their way to Afghanistan. According to the TNSM Chief, the cadres were proceeding to Kandahar, headquarters of the erstwhile Taliban regime. Qazi Ihsanullah, a TNSM spokesperson, said in Bajaur on October 27, 2001: "We will resist if the authorities try to stop us. The jihad (holy war) will start here…Initially Mullah Omar advised us to wait and come to Afghanistan only when necessary but we have told them that we will stay in Afghanistan as a reserve force."

The outfit has reportedly established parallel courts in the Malakand division to protest against what it perceives are the non-cooperation of the Government. According to the TNSM leadership, the legal system in Pakistan was based on English laws and hence was not acceptable to the outfit. Further, these ‘courts’ are reportedly pronouncing ‘decisions’ on many cases free of charge. The TNSM has also demanded the use of Pashtu language for court proceedings instead of the national language, Urdu.

Media reports have indicated that a sizeable number of TNSM activists have joined the Taliban ranks.

In April 2001, the TNSM had demanded that the administration of Malakand put in place a ‘true Islamic judicial system’ by dismantling the present set-up. It rejected the Government's judicial system which, in its perception, lacks authority and finality under Islamic injunctions. In his speeches at Ushu, Kalam and other places in April 2001, the TNSM Chief said, "There is no room for vote in Islam and the concept of democracy which some religio-political parties are demanding is wrong."

The TNSM is also reported to have set up some FM radio stations in the Bajaur area to campaign for funds and volunteers to fight alongside the Taliban. These radio stations are also used to air TNSM leaders' address to pro-Taliban rallies. Writing in Terrorism Focus (Volume 3, Issue 19; May 17, 2006), Sohail Abdul Nasir indicated that “People in the Malakand and Swat districts, populated mainly by the Yousafzai Pashtun tribe, have been gathering in public places to burn personal electronics equipment such as television sets, tape recorders, VCRs, computers, CDs and other musical equipment. The significance of this development is that it has been motivated by the religious sect Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi…” Nawa-i-Waqt reported on May 1, 2006, that TNSM has decided to launch a movement—consisting of protests after Friday prayers and additional rallies—against the Government. On February 22, 2006, Dawn reported that political authorities have closed five illegal FM radio channels in different parts of the Bajaur Agency. The action was reportedly initiated after a TNSM leader Maulana Faqir Mohammad relayed lectures on his illegal channel against the Government and the local administration after the January 13, 2006-US air strike in the Damadola village of Bajaur Agency.

Security agencies suspect that the TNSM could be behind the November 8, 2006-suicide bombing at Dargai in the NWFP in which 42 soldiers were killed.

Incidents involving TNSM





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