Taliban 'to despatch' ultras to India

Taliban 'to despatch' ultras to India

Once Pak becomes an Islamic state, we will go to the borders, says Hakimullah Mehsud

Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud

"We want an Islamic state. If we get that, then we will go to the borders and help fight the Indians," Hakimullah said in footage aired by Britain's Sky News channel.

The channel said it recently acquired the footage of Hakimullah, who claimed responsibility for several attacks across Pakistan over the past week, including a terrorist assault on the Army's General Headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi over the weekend.

"We are fighting the (Pakistani) military, police and militia because they are following American orders. If they stop following their orders, we will stop fighting them," said Hakimullah, in what was seen as desperate last minute efforts to stop Pakistan army's offensive into his group's stronghold of Waziristan.

Hakimullah was named the new chief of the Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan after his predecessor Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone attack in Waziristan in August.

Hakimullah recently met several reporters from the Mehsud clan to dispel reports that he had died in fighting with a rival militant faction.
Sky News also reported that the Pakistani Taliban had bolstered their finances through the sale and manufacture of drugs like heroin. The Taliban were also extorting protection money from businesses in Afghanistan, it reported.

Militant groups in Pakistan
Thursday’s attacks on police in Lahore underscored the risk militants pose to Punjab, Pakistan’s most economically important province and the country’s traditional seat of power. Here are facts about some of the major militant groups in Punjab.

* Sunni Muslim Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) is a notorious al Qaeda-linked group with roots in Punjab. It has strong ties with the Pakistani Taliban groups operating in the tribal areas on the Afghan border.

Senior Lej leader, Qari Muhammad Zafar, carries a $5 million reward from the US on his head for suspected involvement in a bomb attack on the US consulate in the southern city of Karachi.

LeJ emerged as a sectarian group in the 1990s targeting Shi’ite Muslims but later graduated to more audacious attacks, such as the truck bombing of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel last year in which 55 people were killed as well as an assault on the Sri Lankan cricket team.  On October 11 Pakistani commandos stormed an office building in Rawalpindi and rescued 39 people held hostage by Islamist militants. The military identified the attack ringleader as Aqeel, alias Dr Usman, a militant who was arrested. Security officials said he was believed to be an LeJ member.

Sipah-E-Sahaba Pakistan 
* SSP is pro-Taliban anti-Shi’ite militant group based in central Punjab.  The group was banned in 2002, but officials say its members were suspected of involvement in attacks in the province in recent months, including the burning to death of seven Christians on suspicions of blasphemy.

* Jaish-e-Mohammad is a major militant group with links to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It was banned in Pakistan in 2002 after it was blamed for an attack on Indian parliament in December 2001.

The group was founded by Maulana Azhar Masood shortly after his release from an Indian jail in exchange for 155 passengers of an Indian airliner hijacked to Kandahar in December 1999. The group was suspected of involvement in the murder of US  journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. Rashid Rauf, a British militant, was a Jaish member.

* LeT or the army of Taiba. Taiba is the old name of the Muslim holy city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. The group was founded in 1990 to fight Indian rule in Kashmir. It was involved in the Mumbai attacks in November last year and the 2001 Indian Parliament attack.