Murderous Faith,UCPN-M: At the Season of Falling Flowers :: South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR),Vol. No. 9.18
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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 9, No. 18, November 8, 2010

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South Asia Terrorism Portal



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Murderous Faith
Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

Continuing their assault on religious places across Pakistan, Islamist terrorists killed at least 98 people, including 18 children, and injured another 87, in two separate attacks on November 5, 2010. In the first incident, a 16-year-old suicide bomber attacked a Friday congregation at the Sunni Wali Mohammad Mosque in the Darra Adamkhel area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP, formerly known as North West Frontier Province), immediately killing 65 people and injuring 70. The death toll increased to 95, after 27 of the injured died on November 6. The mosque is located about one kilometre from the main Security Forces’ (SFs) camp set up in a degree college.

In the second incident, at least three persons were killed and 17 were injured in a grenade attack on a Sunni mosque in Sulemankhel area of Badbher near Peshawar, the Provincial capital of KP. The assailants attacked the mosque with two grenades when isha (evening) prayers were being offered there. Earlier, on October 25, a bomb explosion at the eastern gate of the Baba Farid Shrine (a Sufi shrine) in Pakpattan District of Punjab killed at least six persons, including three women, and injured several others.

According to partial data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management, a total of 929 persons have been killed, and at least 1,930 have been injured in 61 such incidents since 2002. These include 37 major incidents, each accounting for three or more than three fatalities. While KP has recorded the maximum number (21) of such attacks, it is followed by Punjab (13), FATA (11), Sindh (11), Balochistan (4) and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (1).

Both fatalities and the number of incidents have witnessed an year by year rise since 2007, when Islamist terrorism gained momentum within Pakistan, in the aftermath of the Lal Masjid Operation. While 85 persons were killed in six such incidents in 2007, 2008 witnessed 100 killings in 12 incidents. In 2009, the number of fatalities spiked to 277 in 17 attacks at places of worship. 2010 has, so far (till November 7), already seen 278 fatalities in 10 incidents. Some of the most prominent attacks since 2002, involving 20 or more killings, include:

August 23, 2010: 26 persons, including a former member of the National Assembly (NA) were killed and 40 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Sunni mosque in Wana town of South Waziristan Agency in FATA.

May 28, 2010: At least 100 worshippers were killed and 92 others injured as seven assailants, including three suicide bombers, attacked Ahmadiyya places of worship in the Model Town and Garhi Shahu areas of Lahore in Punjab.

February 18, 2010: At least 30 persons, including a Lashkar-e-Islam 'commander', were killed and 110 others injured in a suicide attack near a Sunni mosque in Akakhel area of Tirah valley in the Khyber Agency of FATA.

December 4, 2009: 40 persons, including 17 children, besides serving and retired Army officers and personnel, were killed and over 86 injured, when a Friday congregation at the Parade Lanes (Sunni) mosque in Rawalpindi in Punjab was attacked by a group of terrorists.

June 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 49 worshippers, including 12 children, at a Sunni mosque in a remote village of the Upper Dir District of KP.

April 5, 2009: A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of an Imambargah (Shia place of worship) at Chakwal in Punjab province, killing 24 people, including three children, and injuring 140 others.

March 27, 2009: 83 persons, including 16 Security Force (SF) personnel, were killed and over 100 were injured in a suicide attack on a Sunni mosque at Peshawar-Torkham Highway in the Jamrud sub-division of Khyber Agency in FATA.

February 5, 2009: 32 persons were killed and 48 others wounded when a suspected suicide bomber blew himself amidst a crowd of Shia worshippers outside a mosque in Dera Ghazi Khan in the Punjab Province.

December 5, 2008: A car bomb explosion outside an Imambargah near the Qisakhwani Bazaar in Peshawar killed at least 34 persons and injured more than 150.

December 21, 2007: At least 50 persons were killed and 80 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the midst of worshippers offering Eid al-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice) prayers at the Markazi Jamia Masjid Sherpao, a Shia mosque, in Charsadda, 20-kilometres from Peshawar.

May 27, 2005: At least 25 people, including a suspected suicide bomber, were killed and approximately 100 sustained injuries by a powerful explosion at the Bari Imam shrine of the Shia sect located in vicinity of the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad.

October 1, 2004: At least 31 people were killed and 75 sustained injuries in a suspected suicide bombing during the Friday prayers at a Shia mosque at Sialkot in Punjab.

May 31, 2004: At least 24 worshippers were killed and 34 sustained injuries when a high-intensity bomb exploded during the evening prayers at a Shia mosque situated on the MA Jinnah Road in Karachi in Sindh.

July 4, 2003: At least 53 persons were killed and 57 were injured as three armed terrorists, including a suspected suicide bomber, attacked the Friday prayers at a Shia mosque in Quetta, capital of Balochistan Province.

Most of these attacks have been sectarian in nature, and have been carried out by Sunni terrorist groups such as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) though their motivation varies. The suicide bombing in Darra Adamkhel, for instance, is believed to be the outcome of rivalry between two militant groups struggling for establishing their influence in the area. Darra Adamkhel is a major arms manufacturing hub. Security officials in Peshawar said they suspected that the Tariq Afridi Group led by the chief of the TTP in the Khyber Agency, Tariq Afridi, carried out the attack. Their target, the officials claimed, was the Government backed Momin Afridi group led by Momin Khan Afridi, which had raised a lashkar (army) and supported SF actions against militants loyal to Tariq Afridi. The TTP, however, denied having any hand in the attack and, instead, blamed ‘foreign agents’ fighting SFs in tribal areas.

On the other hand, claiming the May 28, 2010, attack at Lahore, the TTP Punjab Chapter had declared, "Congratulations to the whole nation on what the brave mujahedeen (holy warriors) did yesterday in Garhi Shahu and Model Town, Lahore. On the whole, we do like to encourage the nation for increasing such activities, like targeted killings of Qadianis, Shias, the political parties that support them, as well as law enforcement agencies, the Pakistan Army and other racist parties." TTP spokesman Muhammad Omar, on May 29, had also warned the Muttahida Qaumi Movement [MQM] of attacks, calling it a "terrorist wing of Qadianis and Jews" and adding, "They are responsible for destruction of the country and the nation. We are encouraging assassination attacks on everyone who is with the MQM."

Regrettably, amidst reports of expected military operation in the North Waziristan Agency, the wrath of the terrorists against civilians allegedly supporting Government Forces is bound to grow and, consequently, so will the attacks. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government, for instance, on November 5, warned that the terrorists could carry out ‘more sabotage activities’ in parts of the Province and FATA. Religious places, being soft targets, are most at risks.

The attacks on places of worship reflect the virulence of Islamist and sectarian terrorism in Pakistan, as well as the utter failure of the state to protect its populations, and particularly its vulnerable minorities.

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UCPN-M: At the Season of Falling Flowers
Anshuman Behera
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

While Nepal writhes through an interminable political crisis, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M), former armed rebels and now the main Opposition party, has also plunged into a deep internal dispute. The ongoing prime ministerial elections, which have so far witnessed 16 rounds, are the most significant provocation for the rising internal dissension, with some Maoist leaders demanding a change in the party’s prime ministerial candidate – currently party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda – while other continue to back him unconditionally.

Media reports in June 2010 disclosed that Vice Chairman (VC) Baburam Bhattarai was preparing grounds inside and outside the party to garner support for his candidature as PM. Standing Committee (SC) members Barsa Man Pun, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and Giriraj Mani Pokhrel had publicly spoke in Bhattarai’s favor, arguing that Prachanda had already been tested. However, the faction led by another VC, Mohan Baidhya and Post Bahadur Bogati, were trying to sabotage Bhattarai’s attempt.

The internal differences among the leaders, and directly between Prachanda and Bhattarai, came into the open when Baburam Bhattarai separately addressed cadres of the UCPN-M at Biratnagar on October 31, 2010, declaring, "I was ready to be Prime Minister if the people wanted him to find a solution to the problems confronting the country." He, however, conceded that the purpose of the meeting was not to promote ‘groupism’ inside the party, but that, "There is nothing unusual in meeting cadres of an open party like the UCPN-M. It will be too hasty to start counting the number of the cadres present in the meeting at the moment."

Agitated by this, Prachanda and another VC, Kiran Baidhya, demanded that Bhattarai clear his stance within the party. Bhattarai responded by clarifying that, "The meeting was aimed not only to clarify his political stance and documents but also to meet and discuss with the party cadres." However, in one meeting at Kathmandu, on October 5, Bhattarai had claimed that the party would never split and urged the public not to believe rumors.

The differences among Maoist leaders had emerged when, in March 2010, the UCPN-M was planning to topple the Government headed by Madhav Kumar Nepal of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML). In the Standing Committee (SC) meeting of the UCPN-M on March 15, 2010, the party split into two groups – one, headed by Prachanda, supporting the no-confidence motion against the Madhav Kumar Nepal Government and the other, headed by Bhattarai and Baidhya, opposing the move. At the same meeting, however, it was decided that the party would opt for a signature campaign on filing the no-confidence motion. Bhattarai, however, refused to sign and urged the party to secure the support of other parties before filing the motion. On March 17, 2010, Prachanda declared at a meeting in the Nepalgunj District, "We have not decided yet whether we would register the no-confidence motion". On the same day, Bhattarai chose to emphasize "a national unity Government", arguing, "We are for the Constitution, not the Government."

The Maoists then declared a programme of nationwide protests against the Government, to commence from May 1, 2010. However, some 208 cadres and combatants of the party, including 44 commanders from the cantonments of Kailali, Surkhet and Rolpa Districts, defected to the Sanghiye Rashtriya Loktantrik Manch on April 28, 2010, insisting that the protests would lead to anarchy and provoke violence. This development deepened the internal crisis within the UCPN-M even further. Nevertheless, the subsequent nationwide protests by the Maoists succeeded in pressurizing the CPN-UML to write to the PM on May 5, to resign from his post. Subsequently, Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned on June 30, 2010. However, some 75 national level Maoist leaders tendered their resignation in the Dhanusha District on August 6, 2010, demonstrating their disappointment over what they said was a ‘one-sided decision’ by ‘party headquarters’.

Further instances reelecting differences and discontentment within the UCPN-M include:

January 4, 2010: Prachanda made a statement accusing India of proposing Baburam Bhattarai as the next PM.

January 6, 2010: SC meeting reiterated that Prachanda would continue to lead the party.

May 11, 2010: An SC meeting decided to keep options open on an alternative to Prachanda’s candidature..

June 6, 2010: Prachanda claimed that the Nepali Congress (NC) demanded his leadership in the new Government.

On June 15, 2010, the party was polarized during a politburo members’ meeting to discuss party’s future strategy, formation of a national Unity Government and the alternative to Prachanda’s leadership. During the meeting, Prachanda stated that hopes of a Maoist-led national Unity Government were failing, hinting that the party might sit in the Opposition. Bhattarai, however, expressed his reservations on the ‘Prachanda document’, arguing that a Maoist-led Government remained possible, and a simultaneous struggle from the streets and Parliament should be initiated to achieve the goal. He stressed, further, that "the party should be open to find Prachanda’s alternative". Here, Mohan Baidhya had opposed Bhattarai, declaring that the party was not open to a search for an alternative to Prachanda’s leadership.

The differences of opinion on party leadership resurfaced during the first round of PM elections, held on July 21, 2010. Significantly, Prachanda had filed his nomination despite the headquarters’ - a seven member committee – indifference to the nomination process. According to media reports, an unnamed politburo member close to Prachanda had stated, "Bhattarai’s opposition is irrelevant and absurd. The party will interrogate Bhattarai." On the other hand, the Bhattarai faction believed that the party could have formed a Government under its leadership if Bhattarai had filed candidacy.

With Prachanda failing to secure the majority necessary to form the Government, the Bhattarai faction has secured the space to prove its point. On August 4, 2010, in a meeting of office bearers’, Bhattarai floated the idea of a ‘new course’ to end the electoral process and amend parliamentary regulations. Unsurprisingly, the idea was turned down by the Prachanda faction on the grounds that, "CPN-UML wants us to withdraw to pave the way for a consensus Government, but it is irrelevant at this point." In this meeting, two points of view crystallized. The Prachanda faction reasoned that, due to the NC’s opposition, a consensus Government was impossible even if the ‘new course’ was adopted. The Bhattarai faction, on the other hand, reiterated the position that a Unity Government was possible with Bhattarai as candidate: "NC, CPN-UML and foreign forces have said they do not trust chairman Prachanda due to his performance when he was PM. They would support Bhattarai."

Meanwhile, the Central Committee (CC) meeting of the UCPN-M kicked off on August 25, 2010, with significant dissatisfaction being voiced on Prachanda’s report, which emphasized the need to intensify the struggle in the streets, Parliament and Government, to push the ‘peace process’ to a ‘logical conclusion’, draft a people-oriented Constitution and safeguard national independence. The critique insisted that the Prachanda document did not define any clear roadmap to secure these objectives. Prachanda was criticized by Party Headquarters for his working style mainly his monopoly in decision making. "Dahal is taking important decisions without consulting anyone in the party", a CC Member disclosed on condition of anonymity. Here again, Bhattarai and Mohan Baidhya presented two separate reports on the future strategy of the party. In his report, Baidhya stressed the need to focus on the people’s struggle and safeguarding national independence. Bhattarai emphasized that the ongoing peace process needed to be concluded in the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and that the party had to focus on drafting the new Constitution to bring about socio-economic transformation in the country.

At a time when the party leadership is under fire for being ‘revisionist’ and polarized into two (principal) blocs, Baidhya’s ideas have been endorsed by SC members such as Krishna Bahdur Mahara and Dev Gurung and politburo member Pampha Bhusal, suggesting the emergence of a third bloc within the UCPN-M.

Meanwhile, a group of politburo members including Pampha Bhusal, Hitman Shakya, Agni Sapkota and Haibol Gajurel, has voiced the demand for a "centralized leadership based on ideology".

The divisions in the communist movement in Nepal in general, and the Maoist movement in particular, are nothing new. The UCPN-M has already been divided into several factions after the abolition of the monarchy on April 24, 2006. The Madheshi Janatantrik Forum (MJF), Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha- Jwala Singh faction (JTMM-J), JTMM-G and the Matrika Yadav-led Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, all, defected from the parent UCPN-M. With disagreements among Maoist leaders deepening at a time when the country is straining for political stability, the war within the UCPN-M may well bring the most fractious elements within the party to the fore, leading to a power struggle that may well push the country towards another disaster.


Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
November 1-7, 2010



Security Force Personnel





Left-wing Extremism




Jammu and Kashmir




Left-wing Extremism










West Bengal


Total (INDIA)








Khyber Pakhtunkhwa



Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


MHA finalizes surrender policy for PoK returnees: As part of its outreach in Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has finalized the surrender policy for those who have crossed over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and now want to return even though the initiative will not offer an unqualified general amnesty. Times of India, November 6, 2010.

Union Government may take over control of tribal areas: The Union Government is exploring ways for taking over the administration in tribal-dominated regions, with Attorney General G. E. Vahanvati holding that Governors have the power to act independently of the State Governments in the matter. Times of India, November 6, 2010.

LTTE is still active, says Additional Solicitor-General A.S. Chandhikok: The Centre on November 1 maintained that there is enough material on record for extending the ban on the militant outfit Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for another two years from May 14, 2010 under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Additional Solicitor-General A.S. Chandhikok made this submission before Justice Vikramajit Sen of the Delhi High Court, who constitutes the one-man tribunal hearing arguments on the validity of the notification extending the ban. The Hindu, November 2, 2010.

Progress by Pakistan in tackling terror not quick as we like, says US President Barack Obama: US President Barack Obama on November 7 said the progress by Pakistan in fighting terrorism is not quick as "we would like" and asserted that they were working with Islamabad to eradicate extremism which is a "cancer". Noting that there are going to be some elements in Pakistan that are affiliated with Taliban, al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), he said they are "irreconcilable" and there needs to be a military response to those who perpetrate violence like they did in Mumbai ]26/11] and New York [9/11] in a "significant, ongoing" way. He, however, stressed that a stable Pakistan and peaceful Pakistan would be in India's interest. Times of India, November 8, 2010.


101 civilians and eight militants among 111 persons killed during the week in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Three militants were killed in an encounter with Security Forcers (SFs) in Jawaki area of Frontier Region of Kohat District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on November 6.

Militant attacks on two mosques, one at Juma congregation in Darra Adamkhel and the other at Isha (evening) prayers in Badbher near Peshawar, left at least 68 persons dead and another 87 injured on November 5. The death toll in the suicide attack on mosque in Darra Adam Khel reached 95 on November 6, as 27 injured persons succumbed to injuries. Dawn; Daily Times; The News, November 2-8, 2010.

70 militants and five civilians among 75 persons killed during the week in FATA: 12 suspected militants were killed in two US drone attacks within an hour in the Dandi Sedgai and Dattakhel areas of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on November 7. Separately, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) publicly executed three tribesmen at an open area on a road near a gas station in Miranshah of NWA after accusing them of spying for the US.

10 militants were killed and five others injured when helicopter gunships pounded their hideouts in Andar Mella, Malokhel and Saidkhel villages of Orakzai Agency on November 6.

Another 10 militants were killed and seven others injured when helicopter gunships pounded militant hideouts in Dabori area of Orakzai Agency on November 4.

Three US drones fired missiles into militant hideouts in different areas of NWA on November 3, killing 13 militants and injuring several others.

At least 17 suspected militants were killed and 10 others injured when helicopters attacked the Dwezai area in Mohmand Agency on November 2.

On November 1, at least 12 suspected militants were killed while nine others were injured during shelling by the SFs gunship helicopters in Gowak, Haindara and Atam Ankhel areas of Orakzai Agency. Also, six suspected militants were killed and 10 others injured when US drones fired two missiles on their hideout in Haider Khel village in Mir Ali tehsil (revenue unit) of NWA. Dawn; Daily Times; The News, November 2-8, 2010.

Al Qaeda vows to take revenge on the US: Al Qaeda, in a message released on November 4, vowed revenge on the United States for awarding an 86-year jail sentence to a Pakistani woman, Aafia Siddiqui, on September 23. Siddiqui was convicted of attacking her American interrogators in Ghazni Province of Afghanistan on July 17, 2008. Daily Times, November 6, 2010.

US impose sanctions on Pakistan-based militant outfits: The United States on November 4 imposed sanctions on two Pakistan-based militant outfits and a key militant leader for November 26, 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks (also known as 26/11). The Treasury Department said it targeted the financial and support networks of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). It also designated Azam Cheema, one of LeT’s leading ‘commanders’ who was involved in 26/11 and 2006 Mumbai attacks. Daily Times, November 5, 2010.

No NATO aircraft violated Pakistan’s airspace, says United States embassy: Clarifying about the news reports claiming that a NATO aircraft "violated" Pakistan’s airspace in the Burqi and Kharlaci areas of Khurram Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas on November 2, the United States Embassy in Islamabad on November 3 said that the accusation is entirely false. Daily Times, November 4, 2010.

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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