Ex-anti-India groups now turn against Pak: Report

Last Updated: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 23:22

New York: Militant groups like JeM and
LeT that were originally set up by the Pakistani military to
wage a proxy war against India have "slipped" from their
control and are now allied with Taliban and al-Qaeda to
overthrow the Pakistan government, a media report has said.

Pakistani Interior Minister, Rahman Malik, has
admitted that extremist groups are entrenched in the southern
portion of the nation`s most populous province.

"They, Lashkar-e-Janghvi, the Sipah-e-Sahaba
Pakistan and Jaish-e-Mohammad, are allies of the Taliban and
al-Qaeda," Malik said.

Ninety-five people were killed in two Lahore mosques
belonging to the minority Ahmedi sect last week when militants
attacked them.

Groups that were originally set up in Pakistan
by the military to fight against India, especially in the
southern part of Punjab, are now no longer in control of the
military and have linked up with a militant groups including
the Taliban, which are trying to overthrow the state.

"The province is a major recruiting area for
the army, and many of the militant groups there were created
by the state decades ago and have been fostered since as arms
of Pakistan`s enduring anti-India strategy," the New York
Times, said.

"To a large degree, they have slipped from the
control of their handlers in the military and intelligence
services, according to Western diplomats and Pakistani
security experts," it added.

The groups mentioned by Malik are now being
broadly described as the Punjabi Taliban and also includes
Laskar-e-Taiba, which was behind the Mumbai Massacre and other
terror attacks in India.

"Like the others listed by Mr.Malik, Lashkar-e-Taiba
has been banned by the state, but continues to operate under a
different name and apparently with the blessing of the
military," NYT said.

The Times also pointed out that the remarks by
Malik "were exceptional because few Pakistani politicians have
acknowledged so explicitly the deep roots of militancy in
Pakistan."

"They also highlighted the seeming impotence
of the civilian government to root out the militant groups
even in Punjab Province," the Times added, noting that
admission indicated that "decades of state policy to nurture
extremism had come home to roost in the very heart of the
country."

Since the attempted car bomb attack on Times
Square by Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, the US has been
particularly riled up about the extremist stronghold in
Pakistan and is seeking ways to dismantle it.

Shahzad, 30, who attempted his terror plot on
May 1, is believed to have got the backing from the
Pakistani-Taliban and drew inspiration from extremist elements
in the country.

The new crop of extremist builds a penchant for jihad
that is spread in a network of extremist Madrasas and mosques.

"We`re dealing with a problem that is so deeply
burrowed into the bosom of the society," said a senior Western
official told NYT.

"And we`re dealing with a government that is unhappy
within itself."

But at the same time, the Pakistan government
does not have the capacity to carry out operations against the
militants in Punjab and the military, which is battling the
Taliban on the border areas, is not ready to open a new front.

"The Pakistani military, which still holds most
power, has shown little interest in taking on extremist groups
in Punjab," the Times said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 23:22

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