Factional split in a major Pakistani terror outfit

And now a fight over the spoils

The Jamaat-ud-dawa (JD) was the parent organisation of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the most virulent jihadi terrorist outfits. After Musharraf’s cosmetic crackdown on the jihadi outfits in December 2001, the erstwhile Markaz-dawa-wal-Irshad renamed itself to Jamaat-ud-dawa and ‘separated’ itself from the Laskhar-e-Taiba’s terrorist operations. While the JD was in charge of headquarters functions like fund-raising, the Laskhar operatives actually carried out operations like the attack on India’s parliament. This cozy charade allowed both Musharraf to claim that he had clamped down on terrorist organisations in Pakistan and JD’s chief Hafiz Saeed to make speeches and pass the hat around in the name of Jihad.

Like the ISI’s other creations (the Pakistan Muslim League and the All Parties Hurriyat Conference), the JD is now undergoing corporate restructuring. The latest split brings a new group to the alphabet soup of Pakistani jihadi outfits – Khairun Naas (KN) has broken away from the JD taking with it a majority of the leadership as well as the entire Lashkar-e-Taiba. The reasons cited for the split are numerous; nepotism, control over assets, funds and young second wives – everything save ideology or the ’cause’ for which they are in business. There is also obvious speculation that the split was engineered by Pakistan’s the ubiquitous ISI so as to weaken the JD prior to its eventual proscription. A bloody battle over the spoils is about to begin, and in addition to the organisation he heads, Hafiz Saeed may end up losing his own head before this show is over. There are likely to be more rounds yet in the cascading series of splits and breakaways.

The breakaway faction, which has taken the name Khairun Naas (KN), consists largely of members of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT). Some of them have taken an oath to kill Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the head of the JD, sources told Daily Times.

Both sides are now plotting how to take control of party assets, such as the Markaz-e-Taiba in Muridke, Markaz Qadsia in Lahore and other valuable properties.

The leaders of the breakaway faction have accused Hafiz Saeed of nepotism, diverting the party from its original objective and the unfair distribution of funds. The Khairun Naas was also unhappy at Saeed’s second marriage to a fallen comrade’s widow. [Daily Times]