By Tufail Ahmad
Contrary to the popular perception and notwithstanding the Pakistani government’s ban, the militant religious group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) runs a vibrant organization at the grassroots level in Pakistani towns, recruiting members, propagating its activities and holding regular organizational elections to elect its local leaders. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) – the military of SSP – too is active and runs a vibrant media campaign on the internet, using U.S.-based social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Archive.org and Scribd, a document-sharing website. Even a cursory review of its media campaign on the internet and in print media reveals that the LeJ/SSP duo is using various U.S.-based websites and webcasting tools to incite violence against Shi’ite Muslims, and in doing so it is also engendering Antisemitism to promote its ideological agenda.
The LeJ has figured in several recent attacks in Pakistan. On February 28, 2012, Islamic militants dressed in Pakistani military fatigues stopped a bus in Pakistan’s northern district of Kohistan, forced all the passengers off, and examined their Pakistani government-issued Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) to verify their faith by their surnames. Passengers whose names indicated that they were Sunni Muslims were let off, while 19 Shi’ite Muslims headed for their homes in Gilgit Baltistan and were shot dead by the militants. The LeJ, a terrorist group feared for its long-standing campaign of violence against Shi’ite Muslims, was blamed for the attack. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik ordered a probe, stating that the LeJ and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been “involved in similar crimes [against Shi’ite Muslims] in the past.”Responsibility for the attack was claimed by a militant who identified himself as a spokesman of Jundallah, a Sunni militant group which is indistinguishable from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, both in terms of its ideological orientation against Shi’ite Muslims and in terms of the two groups’ cross-pollination. ….
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