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Details emerge on Ahrar-ul-Hind's emir



In a Reuters article on the Pakistani military's threat to launch an operation against the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in North Waziristan*, some interesting details emerge on Maulana Umar Qasmi, the leader of Ahrar-ul-Hind:

According to intelligence officers, Qasmi hails from Jhang, a southern Punjab city that is home to the eponymous Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an anti-Shi'ite sectarian group which supplied foot-soldiers for al Qaeda in Pakistan.

Soon after high school, they said, Qasmi moved to nearby Bahawalpur, close to the Indian border, where he is said to have enrolled in a seminary run by Maulana Masood Azhar, the head of Jaish.

And in subsequent years he became dangerously well-networked as he moved between southern Punjab and the tribal lands in the northwest, notably in the Mohmand region, where a Pakistani Taliban faction executed 23 soldiers last month - an incident that raised criticism of Sharif for pursuing peace talks.

Officials also believe Qasmi is close to Jundullah, the group behind a suicide bombing that killed at least 78 Christians at a church in Peshawar last September.

And they reckon he could muster 1,200 fighters drawn from various Punjabi-based groups for deadly operations against Pakistani cities.

Given that the group said at its founding that Ahrar-ul-Hind is based in "the urban areas of Pakistan," it was extremely likely that its emir would be from one of the multitude of Pakistani military- and government-backed jihadist groups. Umar Qasmi comes from Jaish-e-Mohammed, but could have just as easily been a leader in Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or Lashkar-e-Taiba, or Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, or Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, or Hizbul Mujahideen, or ....


* For my skepticism on the claim that the Pakistani military will eliminate jihadist groups in North Waziristan once and for all, see Threat Matrix report, Pakistan to launch another Potemkin offensive in North Waziristan, from 2012, which details similar claims over the years. I've heard this promised so many times that I'll believe it when I see it.



READER COMMENTS: "Details emerge on Ahrar-ul-Hind's emir"

Posted by Birbal Dhar at March 7, 2014 6:04 PM ET:

I find it amusing that the terrorism that Pakistan is receiving these days with their army being blown up or massacred, comes from the terrorism that the Pakistani ISI supports against India and Afghanistan through their agents, who have now become Pakistan's nightmare. Let that nightmare continue haunting Pakistan's army and it's political leadership.

Posted by AGA MAJID at March 9, 2014 7:08 PM ET:

Indian Intelligence RAW is actively involved in acts of sabotage in Pakistan via Indian nexus in Afghanistan.CIA is also part of this operation GET PAKISTAN. India's RAW is Pakistan focused.Its agent Sarabjit Singh was caught red-handed planting bombs.He became a hero in India and darling of Indian Media. Indians ,even after 65 years have not accepted Pakistan and nurture a dream of annexing it. But, little realizing that Pakistan is a Nuclear Nation with Ballistic Missile Capability of destroying India within second.This is a nightmare scenario all Indians should think about. In Missile and small nuclear war head technology Pakistan is several years ahead of India. India's missiles lack accuracy and reliability as evidence by continuous failures to launch or destruction in air. Pakistan wants to live in peace with all its neighbors, but, continued stealth belligerence of India Pakistanis have come to realize that they will have to face an Armageddon showdown with India, the exporter of terrorism into Pakistan and occupied Kashmir.

Posted by Luca at March 10, 2014 5:57 AM ET:

@Birbal Dhar, the problem is that being amused now is not going to stop Pak based terror networks from coming round to bite us, either you in India or us in the West (or, sadly, both). Unfortunately we all have a stake in the survival of Pakistan, and it would seem we are on the loosing team...

Posted by Birbal Dhar at March 12, 2014 4:32 PM ET:

@AGA MAJID I think you've been smoking too much of the heroin that has been imported from Afghanistan to Pakistan. The Pakistan's ISI have created islamic terrorists, who have become Frankenstein monsters destroying your army and its intelligence wing with suicide bombers and explosions. Keep being deluded with your RAW theory, because everybody knows in the world, Pakistan is a terrorist state that has caused terrorism in their own country, not India. Also India could destroy Pakistan like a flash in a pan, it's size and the number of nuclear weapons would obliterate Pakistan. But no intelligent person is going to start a nuclear war. Next time Aga, make sure you take your medication in time, otherwise you will be blaming America for every time you have constipation or piles.