By Iftikhar Hussain Jazib
Al-Qaeda’s attacks on twin towers of World Trade Centre in New York on 11 September 2001 were the deadliest terrorist incident in the history. Around 3 thousand persons, mostly Americans and Europeans including some Muslims were killed in these Attacks. The War against terrorism started, and According to some estimates, about 3 million people have been killed in the world since 2001. The foremost challenge to the violent extremist ideology of Al-Qaeda was the heavy criticism of Islamic scholarship that Quran-o-Sunnat do not allow killings of non-combatant and civilians in the wars. The leadership of Al-Qaeda put a hard propaganda struggle to justify civilian killings in terrorist attacks perpetrated by its militants. The documents recovered from Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad revealed that he was occupied by efforts to reign in Al-Qaeda branches in Iraq and Syria to minimize civilian killings and sectarian violence in the terrorist attacks. Against this backdrop, Tehreek-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) is conducting deceptive propaganda to avoid condemnation of Ulema over civilian killings in the attacks. It had already martyred 84 thousand Muslims, civilians, children, women and elderly in the terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Pakistan.
Under the Islamic legal doctrine, terrorism have no place as a tactic of War for its murderous nature. Islam’s humanitarian aspects remains valid even in the legitimate Jihad, the Quran, chapter 2, verse 190: “Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight you, and do not transgress. Verily, Allah does not like the transgressors.” In this regard, Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Hazrat Abu Bakr Sadique (RA) have instructed a very strict code of conduct for a Muslim army. These principles emphasise that unarmed combatants and Non-combatants should not be attacked in the battle field. Moreover, the killing of innocent children, women, elderly, farmers and labourers should be avoided in the war. Furthermore, the animals, crops, trees and private property should not be destroyed in the war. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks violate all these norms setup by Quran-o-Sunnat and militant outfits have largely harmed the interests of Muslim masses. Therefore, terrorism and militant organisations have been condemned to rejection by the scholars of Islam in Pakistan.
As Ulema have become very vocal against terrorism in Pakistan, the chief of TTP, Noor Wali Mehsud is propagating that he does not want civilian killings in the attack. Moreover, TTP is using Islamic State Khorosan Province (ISKP) for deception in this regard. It is perpetrating heinous terrorist attacks on civilian targets through ISKP to avoid public backlash and criticism of Ulema for killings of innocent Muslims. ISKP launch suicide bombers on Ulema, mosques, religious gatherings and groups whereas, TTP only accept responsibility for terrorist attacks on security forces. Mostly, ISKP consists of former commanders and militants of TTP, while a few disgruntle elements of Afghan Taliban have also joined it. Therefore, human source, ideology, terrorist tactics and targets overlap so much that both banned outfits are identical with one and other.
For its deviated ideology and murderous rampage, TTP has been prone to internal power games and infighting due to tribal rivalries among its leaders. The factionalism further aggravated when rifts in Salafi/Jihadis divided Al-Qaeda, and DAISH was created to rival it. Slain Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and DAISH were emerged from the shambles of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria but their violence, atrocities and criminality have even humbled Al-Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist outfits. Dr Ayman Al-Zawahiri had disavowed his ties with Baghdadi because he had provoked internal fighting in Al-Qaeda in which thousands of Salafi/Jihadis were killed in Iraq and Syria. In this situation, TTP/ISKP division is a financial strategy to generate additional funds. The wealthy Arab militants were a major attraction for the leadership of TTP they affiliated with Al-Qaeda to attain funds and Jihadi grandiosity. For the same motives, some of its commanders and many militants joined ranks with DAISH and created ISKP to gain funds from illegal trade of Oil in Iraq.
TTP and ISKP threaten peace in Pakistan alike and they are conducting mass deception in the name of Islamic ideology, jihad, Caliphate, Quran and Shariah. They radicalise youth and force teenagers for “Haram” acts like suicide attacks, on the other hand, a single terrorist leader like Noor Wali Mehsud could not gather courage to blow himself up with a suicide west. Ironically these militants also kill their companions over petty issues and their propaganda campaign is also marked by contradictions. Noor Wali identifies himself with top leadership of Afghan Taliban for his glorification, on the other hand, ISKP abhors Afghan Taliban and it condemns them in propaganda campaigns. Quite strangely, it has soft approach towards TTP, strengthening this perception that they are collaborating on some level. Moreover, TTP has a Pashtun tribal construct, therefore, militants from other ethnicities and Central Asian states and Arab world are kept in ISKP for upper hand of Mehsud tribe in turf wars. In this regard, the most worrisome aspect for Pakistan is the presence of Indians in ISKP.
TTP and ISKP were found retracting the claims they made for some suicide attacks on mosques and religious gatherings recently, exposing the nexus among militants. Moreover, another previously unknown group Tehreek-e-Jihad-Pakistan is making attack claims, while sources in security forces wonder how a new group could demonstrate access to militant resources and a reach to secure installations in Pakistan. Therefore, this militant group is also a TTP’s ploy to manage backlash over civilian casualties in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
TTP’s deceptive claims and propaganda to escape the responsibility of civilian killings are actually the feelings of guilt among militants over murders of innocent Muslims, children, women and elderly in the suicide attacks. Indeed, the Quran uphold the sanctity of human life in an extra ordinary way, chapter 5, verse 32: “Whoever kills a person not in retaliation for a person killed, nor as a punishment for spreading disorder on the earth, is as if he has killed the whole of humankind, and whoever saves the life of a person is as if he has saved the life of the whole of humankind. Certainly, Our messengers have come to them with clear signs. Then, after all that, many of them are there to commit excesses on the earth.”
M.Phil international Relations from Quaid-e-Azam University, the writer is a freelance contributor on the issues of violent extremism and militancy. He could be approached on X @radiant_j_007
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.