NEW DELHI, Feb. 17: The Pakistan port city of Karachi is a hub of anti-India jihadist groups and criminals who often enjoy the support of the Pakistani army, says a report released by the Brussels-based think tank, International Crisis Group.
The report says terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, its parent organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Maulana Masood Azhar led Jaish-e-Mohammad and anti-Shia group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have "umbilical links with Karachi's large, well-resourced madrassas".
It says Pakistan's most dangerous groups actively contest Karachi's turf and resources. These outfits operate madrassas and charity fronts with no hindrance from Pakistani law enforcement authorities.
ICG's report titled "Pakistan: Stoking the fire in Karachi", talks about how ethnic, political and sectarian rivalries and a jihadist influx are turning the largest and wealthiest city of Pakistan, into a pressure cooker. It says that during a crackdown on jihadists and criminal gangs, Pakistan Rangers have spared many areas in Karachi and its outskirts of the city, known as the redoubts of "good" jihadists like LeT-JuD and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
"There are pockets all along the Super Highway of 'good Taliban'", ICG quoted a senior Sindh ruling PPP (Pakistan People's Party) member.
Quoting elected representatives, senior officials, journalists, civil society activists and sources from the ground, ICG report states that while many jihadist masterminds had fled Karachi by September 2013, anticipating the Rangers' operation, they may have now returned emboldened by lack of action. On the role of these groups when India-Pakistan tensions are running high, ICG quoted a retired senior provincial official of Pakistan, who said, "Any time Pakistan-India or Kashmir tensions flare, these groups mobilise in the heart of the city...You can't treat (LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed) as your friends in one part of the country and your enemies elsewhere."
A police officer from Karachi, as quoted by ICG, said, "We tend to look at law and order challenges in isolation; we can't. We have to also look at (them) in the context of our foreign policy choices". The report adds that "prominent pro-jihadist madrassas continue to operate freely..." Arguing that alienation of unemployed youths does not necessarily lead to jihadist recruitment, the report speaks of well-funded jihadist organisations in Karachi proactively tapping young men who have no other way to make a living. For many with few other prospects, jihad is a job," the ICG says.(TOI)
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