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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 2, No. 46, May 31, 2004

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal



Convulsion in the Military-Jehadi Enterprise
Kanchan Lakshman
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management; Assistant Editor, Faultlines: Writings on Conflict & Resolution

Karachi, as the new hub of Islamist radicalism, has been highlighted by Pakistani reportage since the arrests of many Al Qaeda operatives and a series of bomb explosions and terrorist violence in that city. The past week saw more evidence corroborating these trends. Two persons were killed and at least 33 others sustained injuries when two car bombs exploded in succession near the Pakistan-American Cultural Centre and the residence of the US Consul-General in Karachi on May 26. On May 30, the pro-Taliban Sunni cleric and chief of the Binoria mosque in Karachi, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, was killed when armed assailants ambushed his vehicle in front of the mosque. Amidst these incidents, Said Tayeb Jawad, Afghan Ambassador to the United States, reportedly said in Washington on May 25, that the search for Osama bin Laden should be centred in Karachi or Quetta as the chances of his being found there were far greater than in any of the isolated areas where the search was presently focused.

Shamzai's assassination triggered mob violence in several localities of Karachi, including the Jamshed Quarters, Soldier Bazaar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Sohrab Goth, Quaidabad and North Karachi. Preliminary reports from Pakistan suggest that the assassination may be a retributive act for the suicide-bombing in the city's Haideri mosque, where 22 members of the Shia community had died earlier on May 7. But responsibility for the killing is far from easy to fix.

Security agencies have, in the recent past, remained curiously tight-lipped on the identification of groups responsible for the various terrorist acts in Karachi and elsewhere in the country. This is not surprising, considering the fact that, while a constable of the Karachi Police is alleged to have been the suicide bomber in the May 7 incident, President Musharraf himself disclosed on May 26 that junior personnel within the Pakistan Army and Air Force were involved in the assassination attempts on him in December 2003 and that most of them are presently under detention.

The perpetrators of the Shamzai assassination may never be definitively identified, but it is useful to look at the trajectory of recent violence in Pakistan. During the last year, there was a series of attacks in quick succession in Quetta and Karachi, targeting the Shias. When the military regime was still coming to terms with the spread of sectarianism, suspected Shia gunmen assassinated Maulana Azam Tariq, leader of the outlawed Sunni group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) on October 6, 2003, in the capital Islamabad. Some 102 persons were killed in 22 incidents of sectarian violence during year 2003, and the current year (till May 30, 2004) has already seen at least 73 persons lose their lives, with another 394 wounded in just nine incidents. While outlawed Sunni groups like the SSP and its armed wing, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), have been actively targeting Shias since 1989, Shia radicals, including the proscribed Sipah-e-Mohammed Pakistan (SMP), constrained by logistics and the absence of state complicity, frequently target the high-profile Sunni leadership and have assassinated a number of them in the past.

Shamzai, considered a top scholar of Islam with a Ph.D from the University of Sindh, is the third head of the Binoria mosque to have been assassinated in succession. Mufti Habibullah was shot dead in 1998 and Allama Yusuf Ludhianvi in year 2000. Shamzai, however, would not be a natural target for the Shia radicals, as he is not directly implicated in sectarian violence in Pakistan, though he is closely connected with Sunni extremism and the global Islamist terrorist movement.

The Binoria mosque complex has long been the nerve centre of the Military-Jehadi enterprise in Pakistan. Beginning with Gen. Zia-ul-Haq's decision to make Maulana Yusuf Banuri, founder of the mosque, the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology in 1979, the Binoria complex has been a key element in the Jehad infrastructure in South Asia. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan, along with Shamzai and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, is believed to have organised the Taliban in the early 1990s. Indeed, Mufti Shamzai was considered to be one of the most powerful men in Pakistan during the rule of the Taliban militia under Mullah Mohammed Omar in Afghanistan. Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden are alleged to have met for the first time in the Binoria mosque under the auspices of Mufti Shamzai. Along with the Akora Khattak seminary near Peshawar, the Binoria seminary had imparted doctrinal training to senior Taliban commanders.

That he wielded immense influence over the Taliban/Al Qaeda came to the fore when the Musharraf regime sent a delegation of Ulema (religious scholars), including Mufti Shamzai, to Kandahar in late 2001 to prevail upon Mullah Omar to hand over bin Laden to the US. The US administration is later reported to have learnt that the delegation, which included Lt. Gen. Mehmood Ahmed, the then ISI chief, instead of pressurizing Omar to hand over bin Laden, congratulated the Taliban supremo for 'resisting US pressure and encouraged him to continue to do so.'

According to the Lahore-based Daily Times, among the 2,000 odd fatwas issued by Shamzai, the most infamous was the one he gave against the United States in October 2001, declaring jehad after the Americans decided to attack Afghanistan. Earlier, in 1999, he deemed it within the rights of all Muslims to kill Americans on sight. While Shamzai is believed to have been a patron of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), one of his many students, Maulana Masood Azhar, launched the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). Operating under Shamzai's tutelage after his release by the Indian Government in Kandahar on December 31, 1999, following the hijacking of the Indian Airlines Flight IC 814, Azhar set up one of the most lethal terrorist organizations operating in the region, and continues to operate freely from Pakistan, despite a token ban on his organisation. In July 1999, at the height of the Kargil war, Mufti Shamzai, Mufti Jamil Khan and Abdur Razzaq had also issued an edict of jehad against India in Islamabad in response to a request from the HuM. The fatwa reportedly ordered that all seminaries in Pakistan should suspend their classes and send their students to Jammu and Kashmir to participate in the jehad.

Although Shamzai was never accused of direct involvement in the Sunni-Shia violence in Pakistan, it is now becoming increasingly clear that the Deobandi platform that has spawned Jehad in South Asia has an intrinsic sectarian element. Shamzai has long been considered the spiritual head of the various Jehadi groups active in Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan, including the Jaish, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Harkat-ul-Jehadi-e-Islami (HuJI), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and its splinter group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen Al-alami (HuMA) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). Many of the 'graduates' from Binoria have been at the forefront of terrorist activity in South Asia and Afghanistan.

Incidentally, Masood Azhar's Jaish-e-Mohammed, one of Shamzai's famed progeny, is currently under intense scrutiny within Pakistan for its alleged role in the assassination attempts against Musharraf. Amjad Hussain Farooqi alias Imtiaz Farooqi, a Jaish cadre still at large, has been identified as the organiser of the December 2003 assassination attempts. Farooqi, wanted in the abduction-cum-murder of Daniel Pearl, was also an alleged mastermind behind the suicide car bomb attack at the US Consulate in Karachi in June 2002. Pakistani reports indicate that Azhar 'disappeared' from his hometown, Bahawalpur, before the December 2003 attacks.

The shadow of suspicion for the Shamzai assassination, consequently, falls across a far wider spectrum of motives than a Shia vendetta alone, and there are at least some elements within the Pakistani state structure, and within the opportunistic alliance of Forces within the US led global war against terrorism, who have been increasingly troubled by activities of many within the circle of Shamzai's radicalized fraternity. Shamzai's death notwithstanding, the convulsions within the Military-Jehadi enterprise in Pakistan can be expected to continue.


J&K: Nuts and Bolts in Counter-terrorism
Guest Writer: Praveen Swami
New Delhi Chief of Bureau, Frontline magazine, and also writes for its sister publication, The Hindu

Several dozen articles have appeared over the last fortnight, outlining the sketches of what their authors feel ought to be done in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The ideas debated include, variously, deepening or going slow on dialogue with Pakistan; restricting negotiations with secessionists to the All Parties Hurriyat Conference's (APHC's) moderate faction or extending them to Islamist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani; resuscitating the economy through public investment or the private sector; and initiating a unilateral ceasefire or not. Not one gives any reason to suspect that a particularly unpleasant armed conflict exists in J&K, or that there could perhaps be ways for India to fight it better.

Here is one basic military fact: more than four months after the initiation of the ceasefire along the Line of Control, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's peace initiative has not yet led to an improvement in the ground situation. 106 Indian soldiers, policemen, and militia members were killed in combat between January and April this year, up from 93 in the same months of last year. The numbers of civilians killed in these months fell to 232 this year from 246 last year, it is true, but this reduction is of no great statistical significance. Crucially, however, fewer terrorists have been eliminated in the winter and spring of 2004 than in 2003 - figures that debunk the Indian Army's claims that terrorists are facing imminent decimation.

Here is another basic military fact: India is not, for all the hot air emanating from North and South Block, anywhere near winning the war on terrorism in J&K. In 1994, Indian forces - a term I use to include the Army, paramilitary forces, the police, and others batting, as it were, on the Indian side, like Special Police Officers and pro-India militia members - shot dead 7.70 terrorists for each person they lost. Since 1996, however, not in a single year have Indian forces even matched the ratio of success they recorded in 1990, 1:4.18. [The SF-terrorist ratio in year 2003 stood at 1:4.05, and for year 2004, till May 13, 1:3.02].

Overall fatalities in violence in J&K have, of course, been falling steadily from their peak at 3,796 in 2001. The trend has been continuous, irrespective of policy postures of Indo-Pak tensions and periodic détente, since 2002, the year when Operation Parakram established that there was indeed some point at which India might be tempted to go to war in response to the sub-conventional battering inflicted by Pakistan. However, this has not translated into meaningful gains for ordinary people. Large parts of the Kashmir Valley, particularly the rim of the Pir Panjal, remain effectively dominated by jihadi groups. So, too, do several rural areas in Doda, Rajouri, Poonch and Udhampur. Terrorists may not be carrying out as many offensive operations as they did before 2002, but the fact remains that they, not Indian Forces, are the de facto arbiters of life and death in significant swathes of rural J&K.

Just how this skews political life was made evident in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat. Voter turnout was low in segments where the National Conference or Communist Party of India (Marxist) was expected to do well, and high where the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) prospects were good. No prizes need be awarded for working out the obvious conclusions. In effect, the PDP's deal with the Hizb-ul-Mujaheddin (HM)served it well. Handing out contracts to the close family members of HM cadre, and effectively ending action against overground sympathisers and harbourers, was the price the Party paid.

Indian forces must address three key issues if anything is to change. Many of these have been discussed endlessly over the years, but they are reiterated here in the hope there will actually be a serious debate:

First, there is no purpose served by scattering company-strength or larger pickets across rural J&K, if, as is the case at present, their primary objective is defending themselves. The effective cessation of random night-time patrols and cordon and search operations has been one of the more insidious legacies of the fidayeen (suicide squad) attacks initiated five years ago. Over a third of a typical unit's effective strength is tied down in night-time perimeter protection. Terrorists have been able to use this situation to establish domination over villages at night, when scores can be settled with individuals perceived as informers, or just generally pro-India.

Second, the pattern of deployment needs to be reconsidered, particularly the manpower-intensive commitments in urban centres. Much of this is a legacy of the 1990s, which has not taken into account the fact that the character of terrorism has changed. Srinagar city has thousands of men who do nothing most of the time, for the good reason that there is not very much to be done. Much of the force in the city simply stands around in the day, providing a target to whoever wishes to use small arms or grenades against them. Elementary actions, like building elevated towers to monitor crowded areas and at once protect against grenade attacks, have not been taken.

Third, the Indian Army needs to accept that its principal focus, in the foreseeable future, will be counter-terrorist. It needs to work harder at building a cooperative working mechanism with the police and paramilitaries. The current ego-driven debates over command, which break out every year or so, are debilitating and fruitless. Successful officers have in general been responsive to these realities, but the lessons they have learned need to be institutionalised. At once, the police and paramilitaries need to engage in urgent action on their own severe limitations. Policemen who do not have mess to eat in or a home to go to cannot be expected to display sustained motivation in an unending war. There also needs to be a great emphasis on forensic and intelligence technologies that can bring a larger number of terrorist to conviction through the judicial process. A police force without a signals service of its own, moreover, is an anachronism.

Several meta-issues, of course, need to be addressed: questions of an effective and coherent Pakistan policy, long-term doctrinal reform, economic development, administrative reform, and unleashing India's own offensive sub-conventional capabilities. Crucially, there are things that can be done today which are not being done. Admitting one has a problem is a necessary precondition for doing something about it. Historically, Indian politicians and bureaucrats have been loath to do this. Responses to crisis have changed little since the Mughal period, consisting essentially of throwing bribes at local chieftains and despatching an army if the trouble really gets out of hand. Underlying this is the assumption that time is on India's side. Given the direction in which the United States' policy on Pakistan is likely to develop, driven increasingly by the Iraq quagmire, this assumption may not remain valid for long.


Re-inventing the Terror
Saji Cherian
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

Since April 2004, the districts of Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore, Joypurhat, Rangpur and Bogra have witnessed increasing activities of the Islamist vigilanté group, the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), espousing the ideal of a 'Talibanised' Bangladesh and vowing to ensure that the region is 'swept clean' of the activities of Left Wing groups, primarily the Purbo Banglar Communist Party (PBCP). The rise of the vigilanté group raises serious questions regarding its motives. Far from providing a semblance of security and order in the area - its proclaimed objective - the JMJB's activities have seriously undermined public security. The reaction of the Government to the JMJB, moreover, remains baffling.

On August 15, 2003 cadres belonging to an outlawed Islamist group, Jama'atul Mujahidin (JuM), clashed with a police team that had gone to inquire about the presence of JuM cadres at the house of a local Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) leader, Montezar Rahman in Joypurhat. Among the cadres who fled after the encounter was Moulana Abdur Rahman, now the 'Emir' of the JMJB. The documents seized from the encounter site revealed the scope of the strategy being prepared by the Islamists; a strategy that has alarmed the left leaning 11-party alliance who allege that the JeI and Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS) were developing an 'Islamic militant network' across the country by taking advantage of being partners in the alliance Government at Dhaka. With the crackdown on the JuM increasing, the JMJB has emerged as the Islamic militant nexus the left parties refer to.

JMJB's activities started in certain upazilas (sub-districts) of Rajshahi, Naogaon and Natore after Left Wing extremists, popularly known as sarbahara (Left Wing cadres), killed four relatives and friends of Deputy Minister for Land, Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu. Back in November 9, 2003, operatives with ties to the PBCP killed the ruling Bangladesh National Party's (BNP) Bagmara upazila president Abdul Hamid in Rajshahi city and also killed Sabbir Ahmed Gamma, nephew of Ruhul Kuddus, in Natore's Naldanga upazila in February 2004. Within a couple of weeks of Gamma's death, the Sarbahara's also killed Wahidul Haq Pakhi, an aide to Gamma, at Puthia in the Rajshahi district and then murdered Durgapur's Municipality Commissioner, Anwar Hossain, a political aide to parliamentarian Nadim Mostafa on March 7, 2004. With the police unable to stop the extremists from targeting the politicians, the latter allegedly turned towards the JMJB to retaliate against the PBCP. In an apparent bid to occupy the space vacated by an ineffective police force, the JMJB attempted to establish a link with the slain relatives of the deputy minister by introducing itself as "Gamma Bahini" in some places and "Pakhi Bahini" in others; an obvious reference to the politicians who were killed by the extremists. However, in areas where they were eventually accepted, the JMJB leaders and activists did not attempt to hide their uniquely Islamist cause and variously claimed to be Al Qaeda, Taliban and Mujahidin members.

The JMJB's retaliation is primarily lead by Siddiqul Islam, also known as Bangla Bhai, who was earlier involved in the politics of the ruling alliance partner, the Jamaat-e-Islami. Bangla Bhai has personally led operations of the JMJB, killing three cadres of the PBCP at Atrai in the Naogaon district on May 6, 2004, and another three PBCP cadres at the Bamongram village in Nandigram Upazila of Bogra District on May 20. The PBCP has also reacted violently to the attack against its cadres, killing two JMJB cadres and injuring six others in Naogaon on May 17, 2004.

Astonishingly, instead of stopping this vigilanté action, the police appear to be supporting it. Noor Mohammad, Divisional Inspector General (DIG) of police, Rajshahi, reportedly stated that his men were assisting the vigilanté 'law enforcers' in tracking down the extremists. Armed with the assurances of the local police and politicians, Bangla Bhai and his supporters escalated their activities and spread into neighbouring districts, preparing hit-lists and moving brazenly to enforce their own 'laws'. On May 22, 2004, several thousand JMJB activists armed with bamboo and hockey sticks staged a showdown under police escort in Rajshahi city, threatening journalists with death for reporting against them. The demonstration was held after a half-day hartal (strike) called by the main Opposition, the Awami League (AL) and the 11-party alliance demanding the arrest of Bangla Bhai. The first rally of the JMJB was addressed by Bagmara's BNP Joint Secretary, Besharat Ullah, indicating the degree of support that the vigilanté outfit enjoys within the ruling party.

Although the media portrayed him as the main leader of the vigilanté group, Bangla Bhai is one of the seven members of JMJB's highest decision-making body, the Majlis-e-Shura. His party has, however, designated him as the 'commander' of the anti-Sarbahara venture. The first tier of the organization has activists called Ehsar who are recruited on a full-time basis and act at the directive of higher echelons. The second tier, Gayeri Ehsar, has over 100,000 part-time activists. The third tier involves those who indirectly cooperate with the JMJB. According to JMJB officials, the whole country has been divided into nine organisational divisions. Khulna, Barisal, Sylhet and Chittagong have an organisational divisional office each, while Dhaka has two divisional offices and Rajshahi three.

Significantly, a closer look into the moorings of JMJB leaders reveal a more disturbing aspect: first, they are primarily Jama'atul Mujahidin cadres metamorphosed into this new identity; and second, they have apparent and openly proclaimed links to the Taliban and the Al Qaeda. The 'Emir' of the group, Moulana Abdur Rahman began his political career by joining the Islami Chhatra Shibir and later its patron organisation, the Jamaat-e-Islami. In the early 1980s, he studied at Madina Islami University in Saudi Arabia and later worked at the Saudi Embassy in Dhaka for five years between 1985 and 1990. Thereafter, Rahman set up a mosque and a madrassa with financial help from two Islamic non-governmental organisations, the Rabeta-e-Islam and the Islami Oytijjho Sangstha. The Moulana has been quoted as stating that "our model includes many leaders and scholars of Islam. But we will take as much (ideology) from the Taliban as we need." The sweep of the organisation's strategy is revealed by the number of camps which have been established by it across the north-western districts of the country; at least 10 camps have been set up in Atrai and Raninagar in Naogaon district, Bagmara in Rajshahi district, and Naldanga and Singra in Natore district. There have been reports that JMJB's training of recruits includes recorded speeches of Osama bin Laden and video footage of warfare training at Al Qaeda's (now defunct) Farooque camp in Afghanistan. The JMJB cadres have also been accused of extorting protection money from traders, forcing men to wear beards and women to put on the burkha (veil), reminiscent of the Taliban's practices.

With increasing reports of excesses committed by the JMJB cadres, the Government, at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on law and order held at the Home Ministry on May 22, 2004, instructed the police to arrest Bangla Bhai. However, the local police denied that they had received any such orders. This apparent 'confusion' threw light on the sharp divide within the Government over the handling of the situation. Some senior ministers and ruling BNP policymakers strongly favoured Bangla Bhai's arrest on the grounds that there cannot be a private force parallel to the state's law-enforcement agencies to carry out an 'anti-extremist' drive. By contrast, local politicians in the affected districts have publicly supported the actions of the JMJB, as they find that the latter has created an effective resistance against Left Wing extremists.

The emergence of the JMJB is not an overnight phenomena, but is the result of a systematic strategy, compounded by the steady erosion of governance in the North-Western districts, the emergence of a large number of radical madrassas and extremist Islamist leaders and the apparent collusion between local politicians and Islamist groups. Apart from the JMJB, reports emanating from different parts of the country portray a disturbing trend. On May 21, 2004, a bomb blast at the Hazrat Shahjalal Shrine in Sylhet killed two people and injured the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Anwar Choudhury, who was the intended target. The bomb blast was the second in five months at the same site and the explosives used were similar to those used in the January 12, 2004, blast during the Urs, the annual religious congregation at the shrine. The prime suspect in the blast has been identified as Moulana M. Habibur Rahman, who runs the Jameya Madania Madrassa at Kazirpar in the Sylhet district, and is believed to have close ties with the Taliban. Al Qaeda links to Bangladeshi nationals have also cropped up in faraway Japan, where, on May 26, 2004, the Police arrested three Bangladeshis along with two other foreign nationals suspected of Al Qaeda activities.

The intricate patterns of collusion and dependency that are illustrated by the increasing activities of Islamist extremist groups like the JMJB in Bangladesh, with their systematic and rapid spread from one district to another, their assumption of the role of 'protector' in areas of widespread mis-governance, the explicit support of local politicians and police forces, as well as the linkages and claims of contact with the Al Qaeda-Taliban combine, are all matters of acute concern, and cannot easily be dismissed as just another 'local disturbance'.


Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
May 24-30, 2004

Security Force Personnel






     Jammu &




Total (INDIA)







 Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


Three Bangladeshi nationals arrested in Japan for suspected Al Qaeda links: The Japanese police have arrested at least three Bangladeshis along with two other foreign nationals recently for their alleged links to the Al Qaeda. Reports of May 27, 2004, indicated that they were suspected of having had frequent contacts with Lionel Dumont, a Frenchman linked by the United States to Al Qaeda. Reports further said that Dumont belonged to Al Qaeda's logistics arm and had been engaged in fund raising in the past to form a terrorist network. The Daily Star, May 27, 2004.

Seminary principal under scrutiny for links to Sylhet bomb blast: In the wake of the May 21-bomb blast at the Hazrat Shahjalal shrine in Sylhet, security agencies have reportedly put the Principal of the Jameya Madania Madrassa in Kazirpar, Mowlana M. Habibur Rahman, under scrutiny. Sources indicated that the Rahman is believed to have close ties with the Taliban militia and is reportedly trying to establish a Taliban-style rule in Bangladesh. Three persons were killed and at least 100 others, including the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Anwar Chowdhury, sustained injuries in the explosion. The Daily Star, May 26, 2004.


ULFA demands release of missing cadres: The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), on May 29, 2004, demanded the release of its missing cadres during the Bhutan military operations in December 2003 in exchange of the release of the Assam State Minister G.C. Langthasa's son whom it had earlier abducted. In a statement, the ULFA 'foreign secretary', Sashadhar Choudhury, said that the outfit would release Nirmalendu if the Government provides the whereabouts and also releases the seven cadres, including 'lieutenant' Bening Rabha, Robin Neog and Ashanta Baghphukan, who till now are untraceable. The outfit further said that the ban on the Assam-Bhutan trade would continue till the cadres are released. Sentinel Assam, May 31, 2004.


Pro-Taliban cleric Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai shot dead in Karachi: The pro-Taliban Sunni cleric and chief of the Binoria mosque in Karachi, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, was killed and his son, nephew and driver were wounded, when armed men ambushed their vehicle in front of the mosque on May 30, 2004. The assassination, suspected to be a sectarian attack, reportedly triggered mob violence in several localities of Karachi, including Jamshed Quarters, Soldier Bazaar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Sohrab Goth, Quaidabad and North Karachi. Provincial security adviser Aftab Sheikh said, "It was a targeted killing and according to our information about 10 to 12 people were involved." Mufti Nizamuddin is the third head of the Binoria mosque to have been assassinated. Earlier, Mufti Habibullah was shot dead in 1998 and Allama Yusuf Ludhianvi in year 2000. Daily Times; Nation; May 31, 2004.

Junior Army and Air Force officers involved in assassination attempt, says President Musharraf: President Pervez Musharraf disclosed on May 26, 2004, that junior personnel within the Pakistan Army and Air Force were involved in the assassination attempts on him in December 2003 and that most of them are presently under detention. "Well, there are some people in uniform, junior level ... Air Force and Army ... but they are very small," Musharraf said during the Geo TV's talk show "Follow up with Fahd" at his Army House residence in Rawalpindi. Musharraf said these personnel would be tried in a military court and the proceedings, he added, would be open. The President, while acknowledging for the first time that armed forces' personnel were involved in the attacks, said they were motivated by greed. "Some of them are not even for religious motivation, some of them are for money," he stated. Indicating that the two assassination attempts were very well planned, he added, "Because it was a complex operation... people had to get explosives. Where do they get their explosives - they were all coming from the tribal areas, hundreds of kilograms of explosives." However, he said, the mastermind of these attacks, a Pakistani, was still at large. Jang, May 27, 2004.

Two persons killed and 33 injured in twin car bomb explosions near US Consulate in Karachi: Two persons were killed and at least 33 others, mostly police and media personnel, were wounded when two car bombs exploded in succession near the Pakistan-American Cultural Centre (PACC) and the residence of the US Consul-General in Karachi on May 26, 2004. Both the cars were reportedly parked along the Fatima Jinnah Road and the bombs exploded at an interval of about 30 minutes. Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Tariq Jamil later said, "The PACC is affiliated to the US consulate and it was definitely the target." However, an unnamed US State Department official told AFP in Washington that the target was a privately run English language school and not the nearby residence of the US Consul General. The official, citing information received in Washington from US and Pakistani authorities in Karachi and Islamabad, said the car bombs were aimed at the PACC which is not affiliated with the United States Government. "We have no connection with this facility… There are no Americans on its staff and there were no Americans injured," added the official. Dawn, May 27, 2004.

US-educated Pakistani woman on FBI list of Al Qaeda suspects: A Pakistani woman with a doctorate in neurological science is reportedly among the seven "dangerous" Al Qaeda suspects identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as planners of new terrorist attacks on the United States. Like the other suspects, the 32-year old Aafia Siddiqui, once an award-winning Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student, has the ability to "undertake planning, facilitation and attack against the United States whether it be within the United States itself or overseas," FBI director Robert Mueller told a news conference in Washington. She is the only woman among the seven named on May 26, 2004, and whose photographs were posted on the FBI website. Mueller claimed that she was an "operative and facilitator" of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network. Aafia is believed to have left Boston in January 2003 and the FBI suspects she is in Pakistan. New India Press, May 27, 2004.

Search for Osama bin Laden should be centred in Karachi and Quetta, says Afghan diplomat: Said Tayeb Jawad, Afghan Ambassador to the United States, reportedly said in Washington on May 25, 2004, that the search for Osama bin Laden should be centred in Karachi or Quetta as the chances of his being found in an isolated area were negligible. He was replying to questions after delivering his concluding address to a conference on Afghanistan organised by the Middle East Institute. Jawad claimed that Laden was not being "harboured" in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal belt. He opined that it was logical to look for Laden in the same areas from where leading Al Qaeda operatives had been earlier arrested. Daily Times, May 27, 2004.


Jammu and Kashmir: Comparative violence, January to April

Jammu and Kashmir: Comparative violence
Source: Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that brings you regular data, assessments and news briefs on terrorism, insurgencies and sub-conventional warfare, on counter-terrorism responses and policies, as well as on related economic, political, and social issues, in the South Asian region.

SAIR is a project of the Institute for Conflict Management and the South Asia Terrorism Portal.


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