Lashkar –e-Taiba

Lashkar–e-Taiba is looked upon as if it is the largest and most active of the Islamic terrorist groups in south Asia. It targets Indian interests in the disputed region of Kashmir in which the majority of its inhabitants are Muslims. The fundamentalist group formed in the year 1991 in the Kunar province of Afghanistan in order for it to be an armed wing of a fundamentalist Islamic group affiliated with the Ahl al-Ḥadīth group of Pakistan called (Markaz ad-Daʿwah wal-Irshād). The leader of Lashkar–e-Taiba was Ḥāfiẓ Muḥammad Saʿīd a former professor of engineering in Punjab University.

Pakistan banned this group in the year 2001 and the government did not seek to disband the group after having banned it, but rather imposed restrictions on their leadership and sought from its members to lessen their activities. In the middle of the year 2002 the group renamed itself “Jamāʿah ad-Daʿwah”.

Markaz ad-Daʿwah wal-Irshād claims that it re-organized itself into two independent wings:

1- The first specializes in Islamic daʿwah and is headed by Professor Ḥāfiẓ Muḥammad Saʿīd.

2- As for the second, then it specializes in carrying out the armed attacks in Kashmir under the leadership of the Kashmiri scholar Mawlānā ʿAbdul-Wāḥid Kashmīrī.

The banning became official after Pakistan began the peace process with India in the year 2004 while the group was already included in an American list of terrorist organizations.

Jamāʿah (ad-Daʿwah) as a front for militant groups:

Jamāʿah ad-Daʿwah is an Islamic charitable foundation headed by Ḥāfiẓ Muḥammad Saʿīd that some have alleged has funded some of the operations of Lashkar–e-Taiba like the United nations who said at the end of 2008 that it was a front for militant groups.

And Jamāʿah ad-Daʿwah also engages in fundraising from Pakistani expatriates in the gulf countries, the United Kingdom, non-governmental organizations, Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen who would cover-up their terrorist activities under the guise of charitable activities.

Saʿīd was put under house arrest in Lahore in the beginning of December 2008 after a committee from the United Nations Security Council added his name and the name of his Islamic charitable organization that he headed to the list of individuals and organizations that are affiliated with al-Qaidah or Taliban.

The agenda of the group:

The summarized agenda of Lashkar–e-Taiba is found in its small booklet titled “Why do we fight?” wherein the agenda is to pursue a return to Islamic governance over all of the territories in southern Asia, Russia, and even China.

Moreover, the foundation is based upon a variation of fundamentalist teachings espoused by the original group Jamāʿah ad-Daʿwah just as it strives towards the formation of a union that unites every nation with a Muslim majority around Pakistan.

Its terrorist activities:

Lashkar–e-Taiba is considered responsible for the attacks that occurred in December, the first of which occurred in 2001 against the Indian Parliament which led to the killing of ten people. It is likewise thought that the group was behind the simultaneous attacks which targeted many civilians in Mumbai in India in 2008 in which 163 people were killed.

The group has claimed that it has assisted Taliban militias and the organization of al-Qaidah under Usāmah ibn Lādin in November and December of the year 2002 while they were fighting the coalition-backed soldiers from the United States.

And certainly, other symbols of terrorism were removed from the camps of Lashkar–e-Taiba like the leader of the group that carried out the London bombing that ended the lives of fifty-three people as well as the group that was accused of bombing a bus in London in 2004.

References:

Ash-Sharq al-Awsaṭ newspaper June 17th 2009-2010, December 29th 2008, November 9th 2008, November 12th 2010-2012, January 2nd 2009, December 12th 2008, and December 13th 2008.