Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP)

EDITORIAL: Army and the Taliban takeover
June 29, 2008

President Pervez Musharraf’s meeting with COAS Gen Ashfaq Kayani on Friday hinted at how the government is positioning itself on the question of the threatened takeover of the NWFP by the Taliban. The presidential statement issued publicly said that “religious extremism and terrorist violence must be combated with full force and all resources available”. However, to this obviously unexceptionable statement, a statement from the COAS explained that “I will act on the decision of the government”. Gen Kayani did not admit that a go-ahead had been given to him by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, making him the “principal” with powers to decide action in the areas threatened by Taliban violence.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesman keeps saying the army is ready for action against the mounting threat in the NWFP, but it seems that the army is only “ready” for a specific order from the civilian government to proceed. But that doesn’t seem to be coming. Even as the warlords from outside Peshawar gradually take over the city through their armed warriors, the ANP government continues to hug the peace deals that already lie in tatters in Swat. And the killing of two persons closely related to the PPP leaders of Swat is sending an ominous political message to the coalition in Peshawar.

The ANP insists it is making headway with the killers, but has asked the frontier constabulary to guard its police from being annihilated by the warlords who increasingly rule the administered districts of the province. If it doesn’t take a clear line on what it is going to do about the killing of innocent people under its jurisdiction, it will start looking as ambiguous as the political parties in Balochistan, shunning violence but feeling soft towards Baloch separatism.

The federal government has turned its face away from the trouble in the Tribal Areas and the NWFP by approaching the United Nations for an inquiry into the death of the PPP leader Ms Benazir Bhutto “because another state is involved in the assassination”. Even the TV personality, the fiery Zaid Zaman, who lambastes the US and sees all kinds of American and Jewish conspiracies behind political events, was blunt in his assertion that Baitullah Mehsud had ordered her assassination.

The PPP must wake up to the Taliban threat to carve out a state with the help of Al Qaeda. The rudiments of such a state have already been put together in South Waziristan. The banned Pakistani jihadi organisations linked to Al Qaeda have already activated themselves. Sipah Sahaba, that was first revived mysteriously by the Musharraf establishment in Islamabad in the shape of a mammoth rally in May 2006, has now staged its second show of strength at a Karachi rally this week.

The Interior Ministry adviser Mr Rehman Malik has repeatedly put the nation on notice on the arrest of a large number of terrorists — most of them members of Lashkar-e Jhangvi — in Lahore and Rawalpindi with huge amounts of explosive material. But politicians clearly do not want to identify their interests in any anti-terrorism strategy. (The targeting of the PPP leaders in Rawalpindi and Swat weans the PPP and its rivals away from taking on the Taliban in the same measure.) They clutch at the wrong view that it is not “their war” and that therefore they can’t take part in the army’s “killing of their own people”.

Meanwhile, the all-Pakistan alliance of the Shia ulema went on record on Friday saying that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are killing nearly 30 Shias a day in the Kurram Agency. On the other hand, the Sipah Sahaba, mother organisation of Lashkar-e Jhangvi, is being allowed to revive itself in the country. At least one TV company doing a discussion programme on sectarianism in Pakistan has received threats from Sipah Sahaba to stop the airing of the discussion. Needless to say, the planned discussion has been dropped.

The most important first step in the direction of national security is the ownership of the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. This time the army has clearly decided not to be left holding the baby while its real political progenitors are reluctant to confess parentage. It is not going to go to war simply to lose further face among a people more emotionally attached to other “causes”, like the lawyers’ movement, Dr AQ Khan’s freedom, President’s impeachment, etc. So we are lumped with politicians who are afraid to admit the truth and are instead repeating the convenient lie that Pakistan’s gradual descent into anarchy is because of NATO-ISAF forces and President Karzai in Afghanistan. *

SECOND EDITORIAL: IPI transit fee settled?

India’s Petroleum Minister, Mr Murli Deora, talking of the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, has said in Islamabad that, “We have reached an agreement on the principles of charging transit fee. India remains fully committed to the project”. Has the price been fixed? No, only the “principles” for setting it are fixed. It is anybody’s guess how the experts of the two countries will fare when they sit down to arrive at a sum to be paid to Pakistan for ensuring India’s supply through the IPI pipeline and looking after it as it passes through Balochistan where the insurgents have developed a special expertise at blowing up gas pipelines cheaply.

There are bound to be more hiccups in the IPI deal, this time from Iran. Iran is not a reliable partner in gas supplies, as India learned to its cost in the case of its LNG supply contract with Tehran. Pakistan and India have often united to persuade Iran to be reasonable. In this united strategy Pakistan has been climbing down on its transit fee demands from India which is interested in keeping the costs down when it sells the gas to its already bankrupt state companies. Pakistan’s climb-down is realistic. It must focus more on the will to protect the IPI in Balochistan. That focus will come after our politicians decide to confront and defeat the violence being committed against the people. But such a will is yet to become manifest. *

Thousands turn up for Sipah-e-Sahaba gathering

By Fareed Farooqui
June 28, 2008

KARACHI: An estimated 8,000 men, mostly young ones, gathered at Qayumabad Thursday night for a ‘Jansaran-e-Muhammad Conference’ organized by the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) at B-Area Korangi Road in Qayumabad on Thursday night.

The conference was organized by the SSP, which has been named the Ahle Sunnat wa Aljamaat Pakistan (ASWJP), and Seerat-e-Mustafa Committee. It started after Isha prayers and ended before Fajr. A rally started from Qayumabad and ended at the main Korangi road before the participants sat down. The arrangements for the conference were made on the main road and all the link roads and main streets were blocked off with tents. There was frisking at the three main entrances and SSP activists were seen on the rooftops. SSP workers with weapons were also seen at different spots. The stage was built with three trucks at the centre of the road and two police mobiles were seen to the side.

The conference was started with the recitation of the Holy Quran by Qari Kahlil Ahmed, followed by poetry praising the Companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) by Masub Farooque of Rawalpindi.

The SSP/ ASWJP central vice president Maulana Masoodur Rehman Usmani condemned the government for not announcing Youm-e-Siddique-e-Akbar (RA) a national holiday.

“It is obligatory to announce ‘Quaid-e-Azam day’ as the national day because he strived for the independence of Pakistan but ‘Youm-e-Siddique-e-Akbar’ is not being observed even though Muslims received Islam and Islamic preaching from Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (RA),” urged Usmani. Pakistani Muslims ask the government if it accepts the greatness of Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (RA)? And if so, then why is the day’s importance being ignored, he questioned.

Usmani also demanded holidays for Hazrat Umar (RA), Hazrat Usman (RA), Hazrat Ali (RA) and Hazrat Maviya (R.A). “The Sahaba (RA) (the Companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)) were the ‘Janisaran-e-Holy Prophet (PBUH) and we are the Janisaran-e-Sahaba (RA). The world saw that nobody could stop the Companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) from right path and we will not be stopped from the right path too,” said the SSP Sindh VP Maulana Aurangzaib Farooqui.

SSP central leader Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Nadeem, SSP patron for Sindh Maulana Allah Wasaya, secretary information for Sindh Qari Shafiqur Rehman, Mian Ilyas Rasheed, Aleemur Rehman, Maulan Tariq Masood also spoke.

SSP chief Maulana Ahmed Ludhyanvi did not attend. Maulana Nadeem told Daily Times that he had to come from Faisalabad to Karachi but could not reach the airport and missed his flight.

Protests held: The SSP-ASWJP also held a protest demonstration while observing Youm-e-Shahadat (the day of martyrdom) of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) after Jumma prayers at Jaama Masjid Siddique-e-Akbar at Nagan Chowrangi in North Karachi Friday.

Addressing the big congregation, the central information secretary of the SSP and ASWJP, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Nadeem, said that Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (RA) was a great personality.

“If the Sunni people showed such unity and observed Youm-e-Siddique-e-Akbar (RA) like this, the government would accept our demand one day,” said Maulana Aurangzaib Farooqui.

The leader of the SSP and ASWJP, Engineer Ilyas Zubair, said that a majority of the Ahle Sunnat people wanted the day a national holiday. “Therefore, it is the obligation of the government to accept the demand and announce the 22nd of Jamadi-us-Saani a national holiday. This is the right demand of the SSP and ASWJP because all Muslims, including the people belonging to the Deobandi, Barehlvi and Ahle Hadith demand this collectively.” The protest was also addressed by Maulana Ahsanullah Farooqui, Qari Shafiq ur Rehman, Mufti Zeeshan, Maulana Ikhlaque Maviya.

The SSP/ASWJP asked the local administration and the Sindh government for permission to hold a ‘Siddique-e-Akbar rally’ from Lasbela Chowk to Numaish Chowrangi. Sources said, however, that the NOC was not given for a rally due to security reasons. The SSP/ASWJP then decided to hold it at Nagan Chowrangi.

Banned SSP gets new name, gets back to work

* Urges Sunnis to close businesses on 27th to mark Hazrat Abu Bakar (RA)’s martyrdom

By Fareed Farooqui
June 25, 2008

KARACHI: The banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) has once again rolled up its sleeves and started getting active across Pakistan, and especially in Karachi, but with a new name Ahle Sunnat wa Aljamaat Pakistan (ASWJP) which roughly translates into The Sunni Party.

It has started by requesting Sunni people to voluntarily shut down their businesses and offices on Youm-e-Shahdat (the day of martyrdom) of Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (RA) on the 22nd of Jumadi-Uthani, June 27. Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (RA) was one of the closest companions of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). He was also the first Caliph in Madina when the first Islamic government was established.

The central information secretary of the SSP and ASWJP, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Nadeem, told Daily Times on Tuesday that they had started work in the name of the ASWJP because of the ban on the SSP. “The case against the ban is in court,” he added.

The ASWJP has planned programs across the country, including Karachi city, on Youm-e-Siddique-e-Akbar (RA). Instructions have been given its activists.

Maulana Nadeem said that Sunni people should put up signs at their workplaces saying, ‘The shop/office is closed on 22 Jumadi-Uthani (June 27) on Youm-e-Siddique-e-Akbar (RA)’. The party has started distributing handbills among people and letters to business communities and traders. They have, Maulana Nadeem added, assured us that the shops and offices would be closed on June 27.

A central ‘Siddique-e-Akbar Conference’ would be organized on June 26 after Isha prayers at Qayumabad by the SSP and ASWJP where the chief of the ASWJP, Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, and others would address the audience.

A ‘Siddique-e-Akbar (RA) rally’ would be organized on June 27 after Jumma prayers from Lasbela to Numaish Chowrangi. The SSP was banned in 2002 by the government and most of its leaders were arrested. The leaders were released in 2003-04 and started limited work under ASWJP. It organized a rally in April 2008 in Karachi after surfacing after six years.


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