Friday, February 17, 2017

Intra-Deobandi violence
18 July 2004:
Provincial president of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani MNA and three other JUI leaders escaped an assassination attempt when a powerful bomb exploded near their vehicle in the Gawal Haiderzai area of Qila Saifullah district on Sunday evening. 
29 Dec 2005:
A court in Pakistan has sentenced a top Taleban commander to life in prison for trying to kill a member of parliament.
Mullah Dadullah was convicted in absentia by the court in Quetta. He is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan.
He had been charged with trying to kill conservative Islamic politician Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani in 2004. Mr Sherani escaped unhurt.
Mr Sherani, who belongs to the hardline Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) party, was travelling along a road in his home constituency in Balochistan province when a remote-controlled bomb targeted his car on 18 November, 2004. 
15 Sep 2007: Hasan Jan, JUI leader, killed.
After the JUI-F’s successes in the 2008 general elections, many Taliban militants appeared to turn against the party. From 2008 forward, Pakistani Taliban groups began to execute suicide attacks against the JUI-F’s leadership. Dozens of JUI-F leaders, including former parliamentarians, have since been killed.[13]
Most recently, on January 25, 2012, Haji Gul Rahman Afridi, the former local chief of the JUI-F in the Landi Kotal area of Khyber Agency in FATA, was shot to death in the Shahi Bagh area of Peshawar by unidentified assailants.[14] Another JUI-F leader and former mayor, Haji Muhammad Azeem, was killed on January 3, 2012, in the Naverkhel area of Lakki Marwat District of KP.[15]
Maulana Merajuddin, a former member of parliament from South Waziristan Agency and head of the JUI-F in the FATA region, was shot dead in May 2010 in Tank District of KP.[16] Merajuddin was a key figure in the government’s talks with tribal elders and militants, and he helped to broker peace deals in South Waziristan Agency in 2005 and 2007. Maulana Salimullah, a leader of the JUI-F, was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Karak District of KP on May 29, 2010.[17]
Similarly, another former member of parliament from South Waziristan Agency, Maulana Noor Muhammad Wazir, was killed along with 30 other people in a suicide attack at a mosque in Wana in South Waziristan on August 24, 2010.[18] Muhammad was also an influential figure who had several times acted as a negotiator between the Pakistani Taliban and the government, but was opposed to the presence of Uzbek militants in the region, providing support to dislodge them.[19]
Haji Khan Afzal, the former district mayor of Hangu District in KP and a central leader of the JUI-F, was killed on September 18, 2009, when a bomb ripped through a mosque in Kach Bazaar Killay in Hangu. Afzal played an important role in freeing government employees and others kidnapped by the TTP during and after clashes with Pakistan’s security forces in the Doaba area of Kohat District in 2009.
Then, in 2012, the most egregious attacks on the JUI-F occurred. On March 30, militants attempted to assassinate JUI-F head Fazlur Rahman near Swabi District in KP. The following day in Charsadda District, militants again tried to assassinate Rahman. Both attempts failed.
2 March 2009:
Six persons were killed and 10 others injured in a suicide attack on a seminary in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province today.

Police officials and witnesses said the suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside the madrassa in Pishin city, some 650 km from the provincial capital of Quetta. Witnesses said the bomber was a teenager.

Six persons were killed by the blast. Doctors described the condition of one of the injured persons as serious.

Police cordoned off the area and launched a search for accomplices of the suicide bomber.

Officials said they believed the provincial chief of the Jamaat Ulema-e-Islam, Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani, was the target of the attack.
19 April 2010:
At least 23 people, including a deputy superintendent of police and leaders and activists of Jamaat-i-Islami, were killed and 42 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a protest demonstration of the party in the city's historical Qissa Khwani Bazaar on Monday evening.  
On June 16 the Taliban in Hangu assassinated JI leader Fida Saadi, a provincial executive council member (News, June 17). Soon afterwards they killed JI leader Haji Mohammad Khan and kidnapped his son in Darra Adamkhel on June 23 (Dawn, June 24).
30 March 2011:
Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman had a narrow escape in a suicide attack which killed 10 people near here on Wednesday.
Another 20 people were also injured in the attack which took place on the Motorway near the Swabi interchange in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. 
31 March 2011:
A bomb blast targeting the convoy of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) party killed at least 12 people and wounded several others in the northwestern Pakistani town of Charsadda on Thursday, police said.
Today’s bombing was the second attack against the politician and his supporters in as many days.
31 Jan 2012:
Hussain is leading electioneering in the tribal areas for the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, or JUI. The country's most popular religious party, the JUI is a former ally of the Pakistani Taliban that broke with the group when it launched an insurgency in 2007. The Taliban subsequently started suicide attacks against the party's leadership, killing several prominent cleric-politicians, and only just missing its chief, Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman.
The JUI has held political rallies across the tribal areas over the last two weeks, including one at Mir Ali in North Waziristan, a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban insurgents.
The mountainous Dattakhel area neighboring Mir Ali is also a haven for fugitive Al Qaeda leaders and has been a focal point of US drone strikes since 2009.
Hussain said the Taliban distributed pamphlets in the area warning residents not to attend the rally in Mir Ali and threatened him personally. Photographs of JUI cleric-politicians in the company of women in fancy clothes — taken at a wedding — were also distributed in an attempt to defame them among their conservative base, he added.
Nonetheless, the JUI rally attracted an estimated 15,000 tribesmen, local journalists said.
19 Nov 2012:
Qazi Husain Ahmad, the former JI chief, escaped unhurt from the attack.
Khan, who is a government administrator in Mohmand, says the bomber was wearing a burqa and had explosives strapped to her body.
The suicide bomber detonated her explosives after a vehicle with the former JI chief had passed, a government official said. 
10 Jan 2013: 

At least 22 people were killed and 47 injured in a blast in the Mingora city of Swat district on Thursday, confirmed officials at Saidu Sharif Hospital.
The explosion took place at the main Tableeghi Markaz (preaching centre) located on the Takht Band Road.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesperson and police termed the blast as a gas cylinder explosion.
According to eyewitnesses, people were getting ready for their preaching session when a gas cylinder in the kitchen of the Markaz exploded. Additional eyewitness say it may have been a suicide blast.
“After the explosion, people started running frantically while some ran to the spot of the explosion to rush the injured to the hospital,” a person told The Express Tribune.
Police initially said the blast was caused by an exploding gas cylinder but later police chief Akhtar Hayat confirmed it was a bomb. 
April 27, 2013:
Attacks on election candidates and their offices continued in Balochistan on Friday with a bomb-and-rocket attack on the rally of a candidate of JUI-F and grenade attacks on the election office and house of a candidate of a nationalist party. 
7 May 2013:

A powerful explosion ripped through an election meeting of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) in central Kurram tribal region on Monday, killing at least 19 people and injuring over 75 others.

But foreign news agencies said 25 people had been killed in the bombing claimed by the Taliban.
18 August 2013:
Former senator and JUI-F leader Dr Ismail Buledi escaped an attack in Kech district of Balochistan on Saturday. However, his nephew was injured in the attack. According to sources, unidentified armed men attacked JUI-F leader’s vehicle in Shapuk area of Kech. Resultantly, his nephew sustained injuries, however, he himself remained unhurt in the attack.
16 Jan 2014:
The January 16 blast at a mosque in Peshawar, the capital of the insurgency-plagued Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, shocked many as it killed eight members of a pacifist missionary movement that practices a branch of puritanical Sunni Islam also followed by the Taliban. The Deobandi school advocates strict religious observance and attracts a large following across South Asia.

Jamaat-e Tabligh said that the blast at the mosque, which doubles as their preaching center, was caused by a gas cylinder. But Peshawar police investigators said it was a time bomb concealed inside a tin canister usually used to store cooking oil.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the country's largest insurgent faction, was quick to distance itself from the bombing and called it a conspiracy of the country's spy agencies. The group, however, has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and adjoining tribal areas recently.

Mushtaq Yousufzai, a Peshawar-based journalist, says that one theory circulating in the region concludes that the bombing in the mosque was accidental. "The plotters were probably carrying the bomb to attack another target," he told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal. "They were staying at the evangelical mosque because it is considered a safe hideout."

But he says that many credible observers view the bombing as a warning to the pacifist missionary group. "This was a message to the Jamaat-e Tabligh to back the Taliban's violent campaign in the region."

The discovery of a remote controlled bomb in another Jamaat-e Tabligh mosque in Nowshera, a sprawling garrison city 40 kilometers east of Peshawar, lends credence to this theory. The bombs were defused an hour after the January 16 blast in Peshawar.

The group was first targeted last year when a bomb ripped through the group's mosque in Swat. Twenty-two worshippers were killed and more than 50 injured in the Mingora attack. The city is the center of the northwestern Swat Valley, which was a stronghold of current TTP leader Maulana Fazlullah before a large military offensive dislodged him in 2009.

27 Oct 2014:
Maulana Samiul Haq, leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S), condemned the assassination attempt on Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Quetta on Thursday.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman escaped an attempt on his life when a bomb went off near his rally in Quetta. Initial reports claimed one person died and 22 others were injured in  the attack. 
Hafiz Gul Bahadur, Waliur Rehman Meshud and his successor Sajna, and several other militant leaders in the FATA region were affiliated with the JUI-F and its student wing Jamiat Talaba-e-Islam.
But in the last few years, key leaders and activists of JUI-F have been targeted and killed in KP and FATA by Taliban militants, including Maulana Mairajuddin, a former MNA from Mehsud area of South Waziristan, Maulana Noor Muhammad Wazir, a former MNA from Wana area of South Waziristan, Haji Khan Afzal, former district mayor of Hangu, and Maulana Mohsin Shah from Lakki Marwat.
Some observers link the recent attack on Fazlur Rehman with sectarianism in Balochistan. “We are against sectarianism and violent means of Jihad, and believe in democratic means,” said a party leader in Quetta. “Our former Balochistan party head Maulana Khan Muhammad Sherani had formed the Ittehad-e-Millat-e-Islamia Mahaz (IMIM), an alliance of six groups belonging to different sects, in Quetta, and openly condemned the banned sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) for killing hundreds of Shia Hazaras in Quetta.” Sherani, who is considered a strong critic of Taliban and sectarian groups and has resisted them in the Pashtun areas of Balochistan, escaped an assassination attempt in November 2004. He had blamed a group of Afghan Taliban led by Mullah Dadullah (who was later killed by US forces in Afghanistan) for the attack.
Since the formation of IMIM, the LeJ had been threatening JUI-F leaders in Balochistan, calling them ‘Iranian agents’ and ‘secular leaders’. The JUI-F had decided not to join the Difa-e-Pakistan Council – an alliance of religious parties, Jihadi groups and retired military leaders, led by Jamaatud Dawa – which was formed after a NATO airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011.A JUI-F leader said that party did not want to be seen by foreign observers as being tied to banned militant organizations. 
29 Nov 2014: 
Senior JUI-F leader Khalid Mehmood Soomro was shot dead in Sukkur on Saturday.
....Apart from the attacks on Soomro and party chief Fazl, JUI-F leaders have been attacked, some of them fatally, during the past few years. In September this year, senior JUI-F activist Maulana Sajidullah was shot dead in Karachi's Pirabad area.
Meanwhile, in 2012, JUI-F leader and former nazim Haji Mohammad Azeem Khan was killed when gunmen attacked his pickup in Lakki Marwat.
In 2010, JUI-F leader Mir Metha Khan Jattak, who was associated with the Nasirabad district branch of his party was killed in an attack in Tambo tehsil.
30 Nov 2014:
Dr Soomro actively participated in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy in 1983 which landed him in Sukkur jail and he remained behind bars for nine months.
Dr Soomro was in the forefront of a protest when a military court set up at the Sir Shahnawaz Library was trying his spiritual guide Maulana Abdul Karim of Bair Sharif near Qambar town for a fatwa he had issued against Gen Ziaul Haq.
Dr Soomro came in the limelight when he contested polls against former prime minister Benazir Bhutto for NA-207. He fought for the same seat against Faryal Talpur also.
He remained member of the Senate from 2006 to 2012 where he always spoke for the rights of Sindh. He was very vocal against the division of Sindh.
This was the seventh murderous attack on Dr Soomro which proved fatal. He leaves a widow, six sons and three daughters.
15 May 2015:
QUETTA: Opposition leader in Balochistan Assembly Abdul Wasay escaped unhurt in a bomb attack on his convoy in Pishin late Friday.
According to Levies sources, the bombing caused damage to the vehicles in motorcade of Maulana Abdul Wasay– a leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F).

27 Nov 2015: 
SUKKUR: The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl organised rallies in several towns of the interior of Sindh on Friday against a bomb attack on its central leader Akram Khan Durrani, who is the federal minister for housing, in Bannu. Mr Durrani escaped unhurt in the attack on his convoy but the blast left two persons dead and another three wounded. 
24 July 2016:
Suspected militants killed Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader Mufti Ehtisham-ul-Haq and his son in Balochistan’s troubled Kech district on Sunday.
Levies sources said armed assailants opened fire at the former district chief of JUI-F and killed him on the spot along with his son. “Assailant drove away on their motorcycle after the attack,” security sources said. 
12 May 2017:
At least 10 people were killed and 35 others injured, including Deputy Senate Chairman Maulana Ghafoor Hyderi, as his convoy came under attack in Mastung district of Balochistan on Friday.
The Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader’s convoy was passing by a mosque shortly after Friday prayers when he was targetted.
DPO Mastung Ghazanfar Ali said initial probe suggested it was a suicide attack. “A suspect suicide bomber hit Ghafoor Haideri’s car,” he said.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Plight of Palestinians in Iraq
9 May 2003: "About 1,000 Palestinians have already been driven from their homes in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, the UNHCR said in a statement." 
2003: One [Palestinian] family’s daughter was kidnapped by the Badr Corps (a Shia militia linked to the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, formerly the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the exile party established in Iran). She was gang raped and murdered on film, which was then delivered to them as a warning.
5 Mar 2006: “Over the past week, we’ve received reports that up to 10 Palestinians have been killed in Baghdad and several have been kidnapped,” UNHCR spokesman in Geneva, Ron Redmond, said.

9 Sep 2006: Many of the Iraqi Palestinian families interviewed by Human Rights Watch in 2003 said that threats, harassment, and violence during rent disputes were the primary reasons for their departure from Baghdad or their internal displacement within Baghdad. Expulsions of Palestinian refugees from their homes began almost as soon as the U.S.-led invasion began. In many cases, armed Shi`a landlords expelled their Palestinian tenants, while in other cases, armed Iraqis attempted to expel Palestinians from government-subsidized homes in order to seize the homes for themselves. 
5 Oct 2006: A new leaflet obtained by Human Rights Watch and bearing the name of the Al-Bayt Revenge Brigade – Rapid Response Units states that “there is no place for Palestinians in the Iraq of Ali, Hassan, and Hussain.”

26 Nov 2006: The civil war convulsing the country has raised worries about the fate of the approximately 20,000 Palestinians in Iraq, who are targeted by kidnappers and Shiite Muslim death squads because of what many Iraqis see as the group's favored status under former President Saddam Hussein.  Community leaders say more than 60 Palestinians have been killed since early last year, and thousands have left the country. Many of the Palestinians who have stayed behind, mainly in Baghdad, have been chased from their homes and taken refuge in a largely Palestinian neighborhood here called Baladiyat.  "We are living in a state of fear," said Lena Shaheen, 27, who fled the mainly Shiite Dora neighborhood with her family in September after gunmen announced through loudspeakers that Palestinian residents had 72 hours to get out.

2 Jan 2007: After 18 members of her family were brutally murdered by Shi'ite militiamen in Baghdad, Nadia Othman, a 36-year-old Palestinian mother of three, finally managed to escape to Jordan together with hundreds of Palestinian families that had been living in Iraq for decades. In 2006, more than 600 Palestinians were killed in the Iraqi capital in what Palestinian leaders and political activists are describing as a "systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing." Thousands of Palestinian families have been forced to flee Iraq since the downfall of Saddam Hussein, but many still have no place to go to. Iraq's Arab neighbors, Syria and Jordan, have imposed stringent restrictions on the entry of the refugees, leaving many of them stranded along the border in harsh and inhuman conditions. Until three years ago, the number of Palestinians living in Iraq was estimated at 30,000. Under Saddam, Palestinians enjoyed many privileges that only a few Iraqis were entitled to: free accommodation, free health services and free education. Today, Nadia said, "There are less than 10,000 Palestinians living in Iraq and most of them are afraid to walk out of their homes. My sister, who stayed behind, told me this week that she hasn't left her apartment in the Baladiyat suburb of Baghdad for the past three weeks for fear of being killed by Shi'ite militiamen. I'm very concerned for the safety of my mother and five brothers who have still not been able to escape from Iraq." Nadia's decision to leave her home came shortly after one of her brothers, Muhammad Rashid, was killed by Shi'ite gunmen as he was on his way to the school where he worked as an Arabic language teacher. "The murderers stopped him in the street, asked for his ID documents, and when they saw that he was a Palestinian refugee, they immediately fired three bullets at his head," she said. "
21 Jan 2007: Palestinians living in Iraq have been warned that they will be killed by Shia militias unless they leave the country immediately.
Iraqi police say the immigrants, who are mostly Sunni Muslims, are the target of a backlash by hardline Shias, including members of the Mehdi Army led by the Shia preacher Moqtada al-Sadr.
More than 600 Palestinians are believed to have died at the hands of Shia militias since the war began in 2003, including at least 300 from the Baladiat area of Baghdad. Many were tortured with electric drills before they died.
Now the Shia militias are stepping up their campaign to drive out Iraq's 20,000 remaining Palestinians – half the estimated 40,000 living in the country at the start of the war, all of whom were welcomed by Saddam Hussein and provided with housing, money and free education.
Hundreds of Iraqis were forced to leave their homes to make way for the migrants, many of whom joined the ruling Ba'ath party.
Sheik Mahmoud El Hassani, a spokesman for the Mehdi Army, said the Palestinians had brought their suffering on themselves. He said Shias believed they were in league with Sunni extremists and al-Qaeda.
"We are sure that all the Palestinians in Iraq are involved in killing the Shia people and they have to pay the price now," he said. "They lived off our blood under Saddam. We were hungry with no food and they were comfortable with full bellies. They should leave now, or they will have to pay."
Kareem Zakia, 61, said his son, Yeha Ahmed, was kidnapped and killed in the Karada area of Baghdad two weeks ago. "The kidnappers called me and told me that they had taken my son because he came from Palestine and all the Palestinians support the Sunni terrorists. I found my son's body the next day with many holes in his belly made by a drill."
He ordered his two other sons to leave with his wife and two daughters, but neighbouring Jordan refused to allow them to cross the border – as it has with many Palestinians trying to flee Iraq.

8 July 2009: ATLANTA — The State Department confirmed today that as many as 1,350 Iraqi Palestinians – once the well-treated guests of Saddam Hussein and now at outs with much of Iraqi society – will be resettled in the US, mostly in southern California, starting this fall.  It will be the largest-ever resettlement of Palestinian refugees into the US – and welcome news to the Palestinians who fled to Iraq after 1948 but who have had a tough time since Mr. Hussein was deposed in 2003. Targeted by Iraqi Shiites, the mostly-Sunni Palestinians have spent recent years in one of the region's roughest refugee camps, Al Waleed, near Iraq's border with Syria. 
24 May 2016:  A Palestinian resident of Iraq who vanished near a local municipal building has been found dead in a police morgue on Wednesday.
Iraqi security sources revealed that the kidnapping of the Palestinian resident was likely to have been carried out by affiliates of Hizballah in Iraq. The attack took place outside the main local government building in east Baghdad's Baladiyet district.
At least 234 Palestinians were killed between 2003-2008 in Iraq at the hands of Iranian-backed militias. Most of the victims were killed in Baghdad.
20 Dec 2017:
Iraq strips Palestinian refugees of rights such as tax exemption, opportunities to work in government departments, and access to education and health care services. 
The Arabi21 news website revealed Dec. 20 that Iraqi President Fuad Masum had approved Law No. 76 of 2017, which stripped Palestinian refugees living in Iraq of their rights and classified them as foreigners. The law came into effect after being published in the Iraqi Gazette.
The new law replaced Law No. 202 of 2001, issued by former President Saddam Hussein, forcing the Iraqi state to treat Palestinians as equals to Iraqis, with all privileges and citizenship rights, such as tax exemption, opportunities to work in government departments, and access to education and health care services.
Until the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, roughly 43,000 Palestinians resided in Iraq since they arrived as refugees in 1948; their numbers decreased as they were targeted, killed and hundreds were arrested by US forces. Thousands suffered from organized killings, expulsion and displacement at the hands of armed Shiite militias. There are no precise figures on the number of Palestinians residing in Iraq today, yet some estimate less than 4,000 remain, some of whom live among Iraqis while others reside in refugee camps.
Issam Adwan, the head of Hamas’ Division of Refugee Affairs, told Al-Monitor, “The new law falls in line with the repressive circumstances suffered by the Palestinians in Iraq, because some Iraqi government parties have always accused them of supporting Saddam. In addition, they are marginalized because of their sect; those parties are against Sunni Muslims, especially since Iraq is known for its Shiite majority.”