The Pakistan port city of
Karachi is a hub of anti-India jihadist groups and criminals who often enjoy
the support of the Pakistani army, says a report released by the Brussels-based
think tank, International Crisis Group.
The report says terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, its parent organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Maulana Masood Azhar led Jaish-e-Mohammad and
anti-Shia group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have "umbilical links with Karachi's
large, well-resourced madrassas".
It says Pakistan's most dangerous groups actively
contest Karachi's turf and resources. These outfits operate madrassas and
charity fronts with no hindrance from Pakistani law enforcement authorities.
ICG's report titled "Pakistan: Stoking the
fire in Karachi", talks about how ethnic, political and sectarian
rivalries and a jihadist influx are turning the largest and wealthiest city of
Pakistan, into a pressure cooker. It says that during a crackdown on jihadists and criminal gangs, Pakistan Rangers have spared
many areas in Karachi and its outskirts of the city, known as the redoubts of
"good" jihadists like LeT-JuD and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
"There are pockets all along the Super
Highway of 'good Taliban'", ICG quoted a senior Sindh ruling PPP (Pakistan
People's Party) member.
Quoting elected representatives, senior officials,
journalists, civil society activists and sources from the ground, ICG report
states that while many jihadist masterminds had fled Karachi by September 2013,
anticipating the Rangers' operation, they may have now returned emboldened by
lack of action. On the role of these groups when India-Pakistan tensions are
running high, ICG quoted a retired senior provincial official of Pakistan, who
said, "Any time Pakistan-India or Kashmir tensions flare, these groups
mobilise in the heart of the city...You can't treat (LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed)
as your friends in one part of the country and your enemies elsewhere."
A police officer from Karachi, as quoted by ICG,
said, "We tend to look at law and order challenges in isolation; we can't.
We have to also look at (them) in the context of our foreign policy
choices". The report adds that "prominent pro-jihadist madrassas
continue to operate freely..." Arguing that alienation of unemployed
youths does not necessarily lead to jihadist recruitment, the report speaks of
well-funded jihadist organisations in Karachi proactively tapping young men who
have no other way to make a living. For many with few other prospects, jihad is
a job," the ICG says.