Pakistan released HUJI chief, unable to keep him behind bars

Last week our sources confirmed a report that Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the leader of the Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI, or the Movement of Islamic Holy War), was released from Pakistani custody in early December 2010 (you can read the report and all the information about Akhtar’s connections to al Qaeda and Pakistan’s military and intelligence service here.) The Associated Press has confirmed Akhtar is now free, and even quoted Punjab province’s law minister (who ironically is a known Lahskar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan sympathizer):

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, the top judicial official in Akhtar’s native Punjab province, told The Associated Press he was released from four months of house arrest in early December because authorities finished questioning him in connection with the October 2007 attempted assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and found no grounds to charge him. Bhutto was killed in December the same year.

If Pakistan can’t find an excuse to keep the likes of Akhtar behind bars (not that he was ever arrested, according to my sources), does it deserve the hundreds of millions the US continues to pile on to try to get the country to turn a corner?

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Brent says:

    Bill, your absolutely correct. I’m thankful that we have patriots like you who stand up to Pakistan and call a bluff when you see it. The Obama administration, Admiral Mullen, and most of the US press are all drinking the cool-aide and belive Pakistan is making progress. It wouldn’t be easy, but we could resolve the entire situation in Afghanistan with a tougher and more aggressive policy toward Pakistan. Instead we reward Pakistan with military and various other forms of aide for releasing enemies of the US. I hope that one day our leaders and citizens will wake up and see Pakistan is murdering US troops. When will this ever stop, when will we stop being fooled? The Taliban are ISI puppets, Bin Laden is responsible for the death of 3,000+ Americans, and our leadership is ok with the fact he is being sheltered by the ISI. I’m thankful you know who the real enemy is.

  • Charu says:

    It is time that the world waged a full throttled war against Pakistan’s Punjabis. They are the modern equivalent of the 20th century warmongering Prussian Junkers and Imperial Japanese who caused needless amounts of death and suffering in the past century. While they do not have the might or the skill to conquer and enslave nations like their historical predecessors, they do possess WMDs that will certainly result in mass deaths comparable to that from WWI and WWII combined; and it is a matter of when and not if they will use nukes to kill millions of human beings.

  • Villiger says:

    Are the Americans such lousy deal-makers that they deliver billion upon billion without clarity on the contractor’s obligations? And the process is repeated again and again without corrective action?
    There are some things in life i don’t get. This is one of them.
    Btw, Bill, i’m not sure that pile on has the right connotation. If anyone is piling it up, its the generals and the politicians in power. (Am waiting for wikileaks to get hold of Kayani’s/Pasha’s Swiss/Dubai bank statements.) The rest is more like being shoveled in to a bottomless pit. If the ‘common man’ in Pakistan were seeing some benefit from it, why would they singularly dislike the US so much?
    Or is America’s PR so bad?
    Bottom line is one can see the Chinese grinning from the sideline, while America moves towards breaking its bank! This Long War is not nearly so smart as it is long, prolonged. And the longer it is, the surer the fall. Are we really waiting for Pakistan to change, to turn a corner?

  • Jim says:

    I would like to see more discussion of the larger geopolitical aspects of “The Long War”. Specifically, is anyone exploring China’s role in this situation? China’s stated strategy of involving the US and its allies in regional brush wars as a means of distracting them and sapping their resources cannot be underestimated.
    For example, what influence is China placing on Pakistan to “keep the fire burning”? China has been a long-time covert supporter of Pakistan’s and Iran’s nuclear ambitions and a supplier of weaponry. Iran, for sure, is being influenced by China’s ecomonic, political and military support.
    Let’s “zoom out” and look at the broader picture. Wish the US government would, too, and be more vocal about it.

  • Jimmy says:

    Here some myths about Pakistan’s moderate Muslims coming to the aid of the world is busted. Infact, it says we have NO friends inside Pakistan and the entire country needs to be placed solidly in the ENEMY camp:
    Excellent analysis! China has vetoed all efforts to put sanctions on Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad in the United Nations. It fervently acted against the Nuclear deal between the US and India (that will benefit both nations) and is ready to give nuclear and missile technologies to Pakistan, Iran and N.Korea. Need I say more who is the real BOSS of the terrorists?

  • Villiger says:

    You’ve both summarised it quite well. This is why the US needs to look at ways of compressing the time on the AfPak War, the Pak component of which hasn’t even begun.
    Because China’s economy is continuing to gallop. All the while their military spend is in productive assets which will assure them future returns and, in security assets especially in the Asian region which intend to position themselves with a veto power over much of Asian security arrangements.
    At the same time the US continues to spend 100-billion-dollars-plus a year in AfPak, much of which is non-productive from rent to PakMil to gas at $100+ a gallon, or whatever silly amount it works out at.
    That is why i believe there is an urgency to exploit Pak’s key vulnerability in Balochistan and secure this strategic space.
    At the same time, a major diplomatic push is required to secure Pak’s nuclear arsenal on the basis that this is war-time and the existential civil war that Pak is already in. On the back of that an international consensus needs to be built that will also isolate China if that is where they want to stand. US/NATO/other ISAF members, India, Japan, Korea and Russia are an obvious starting point.
    Conversely, without a fundamentally new strategy,the US risks ISAF members slowly leaving the theatre.

  • ramgun says:

    I see that this thread has become a China baiting session.
    Folks, get real. Do not blame others for your own mistakes and shortcomings. Did China ask you to come to Asia and interfere in Iraq and Afghanistan? Is China forcing you to spend Billions on Pakistan in aid? Can you even remotely demonstrate China’s involvement or support to terrorists?
    Unlike the US which has bungled most of its international involvements since WW II, China’s deals are welcomed by most nations. Just look at the support they have among African nations.
    If you are intent on deepening your own grave, why blame China for it? Sounds like envy / sour grapes to me. There is nothing patriotic about identifying new ‘enemies’ and committing more war crimes to try and fight them

  • Charu says:

    @ramgun, I was in agreement with you until the bit about US bungling most of its involvement post-WWII and China’s supposed worldwide support. Yes, Vietnam was “bungled” for the same reason that Afghanistan today is being “bungled”; our inability to interdict supply chains from China/Pakistan. However, the world has also been relatively peaceful and stable for the past 65 years. Could you imagine a world where the Soviets or the Chinese communists dominate instead of pax americana?
    China’s “support’ in parts of Africa and elsewhere (North Korea and Pakistan for example) is only due to its complete lack of morality in its dealings. While the US has bedded with corrupt dictators and tyrannous regimes for short-sighted expediency, democracy manages to place a limit to Kissinger-styled politiks (which is ultimately self-defeating in any case) and it has a way of reaching out for the greater good of humanity. It isn’t perfect, but it is sure better than living under a one-party totalitarian system, be it Chinese “Marxism” or Mullah-ism.
    China fully deserves to be “baited” and held up to scrutiny, if only to redirect enough of the free world from their current complacency. The US may not be able to sustain global peace and stability and humanity’s steady progress out of ignorance on its own, but it sure will find a lot more willing partners in the free world than China ever could. The choices, I believe, are stark and clear in this clash of civilizations.

  • steve m. says:

    Ramgun: While I understand being defensive of your country, don’t be naive about it. Exactly, look at those countries that enjoy China’s support, especially in the UN security council! In fact, almost every country that is a threat to the free world, especially America, enjoys China’s support. The US has been number 1 for a while now, and China really wants to wear that number now.

  • Villiger says:

    ramgun, i agree with the others i’m afraid your remarks are completely off the Great Wall. I’m not sure if you as an Indian are a US-hater or a Chinese-lover, or both. In either case, thankfully you stand apart from India’s official positions.
    I’d say you are the US-baiter here. As for India, she recognises her China challenge as does the US, her China challenge. And at some level there is congruence, as there is with the large majority of the ‘free’ world.
    Enlighten yourself here about some specifics before you return with sweeping, naive statements
    Btw China is very much an experiment-in-process, having still to transcend to being a democracy.

  • Ravi says:

    At We rely on Bill Roggio for hard news on Afghanistan/Pakistan and find it simpler to link to his updates rather than produce our own, as he is better informed and focused on a US audience.
    Re the South Asia Analysis Group to which Jim gave a link: this is the first article I’ve seen that shows a real understanding of Pakistan and Islamic fundamentalism. It is a direct rebuttal not only of careless US assumptions about Pakistan, but also of the emotional thinking of the Indian liberal elite (mind you, they have lost much ground on this subject in recent years).
    I am not an American, but living as I do in Washington, I feel compelled to point out the US Government’s position on Pakistan. It is that a slice of bread is better than nothing (forget half the loaf). Privately most American military, political, diplomatic, and intelligence personnel will agree that nothing can be done about Pakistan. But Washington cannot face the prospect that since its fundamental assumptions about the Afghan war are wrong, it goes on pretending Pakistan is a partner, whereas Bill Roggio has repeatedly shown, ten times a month, that it is not. If you admit Pakistan is the source of the infection, you also admit US policy in Afghanistan is futile. Washington is not honest enough to admit that, and continues to throw $100+billion/year at the war. No one can win a war in which enemy bases are completely untouched and your so-called ally is actually organizing, training, funding – and leading – the insurgents.
    So for the sake of a little cooperation, and the use of Pakistan for the LOC, the US is prepared to look the other way or everything else. This, to a non-American, is a very strange policy.

  • Peacemaker says:

    Q (by Bill): Does Pakistan deserve the hundreds of millions the US continues to pile on to try to get the country to turn a corner?
    A: No, it does not, but the alternatives are worse: A Pakistan WITHOUT any commitments to democratic values, and NOT dependent on the goodwill of the democratic world.
    Just imagine the alternatives …

  • Villiger says:

    Ravi, after Iraq the US was criticised very heavily, both internally and externally for being too hasty in marching in.
    What do you think is the probability here that the US is boiling the Pakistani frog rather more slowly, exhausting all its options by cajoling, bribing, coaxing, prodding, strategic-dialoging and so on, all the while with Obama keeping an eye on his re-election?
    Thereafter exercising next-level options in Wazoo, Balochistan and the Durand Line?
    In other words where do YOU think all this is REALLY going?

  • klaus dahl says:

    Research the facts. American industrialist backed the Bolshevik Revolution from the beginning.
    U.S. went from from fighting the Nazi Germany to world wide war against our “allies” the Soviets in about 18 months, continuing Eisenhower’s “military industrial complex”.
    U.S. has continually sponsored it’s “enemies”.
    Nothing has changed. American industry has sponsored the expansion of China because it is “profitable”. Ask Henry Kissinger.
    Pakistan is just tool to bring India into the game. Ravi sees it clearly enough. Nothing is clear until you see the “profitability” to the elite few.
    “War is a racket”
    Maj Gen Smedly Butler, USMC

  • Villiger says:

    Klaus, interesting comment.
    Re ‘Pakistan is just tool to bring India into the game. Ravi sees it clearly enough. Nothing is clear until you see the “profitability” to the elite few. ‘ Can you elaborate on this a little further please?


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