Islamabad: Taliban and a faction of the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) has intensified efforts to employ youth for militant operations in Northwest Pakistan, a secret US cable released by WikiLeaks has said. (Agencies)
The cable sent in March 2009 by Bryan Hunt, then the top diplomat in the US Consulate in Lahore, states that "growing extremist activity" in Faisalabad coincided with a number of visits to the city by activists of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and a "splinter group from the southern Punjab-based Jaish-e-Muhammad".
The cable is largely based on information provided by a Faisalabad-based Deobandi scholar whose named was removed from the cable by WikiLeaks and media outlets for security concerns.
The scholar met Hunt to discuss his concerns regarding the increased extremist activity in Faisalabad, Punjab province's second-largest city.
The scholar told Hunt there had been a "dramatic increase in propaganda activities from Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan" in Faisalabad. He said he believed this increase coincided with visits by Taliban and JeM activists.
The militant activists were "involved in recruiting for TTP militant operations in the (tribal areas) and NWFP through Madrassas in southern Punjab and hoped to replicate that success in Faisalabad," the cable said. Western diplomats have for long expressed concern about the activities of the Punjabi Taliban and other militant groups in southern Punjab but the US cable was one of the few instances of information of these groups spreading their operations to Faisalabad.
The scholar noted that Sipah-e-Sahaba leaders had "long-standing ties with JeM, as both were Deobandi organisations that had collaborated in the past in anti-Shia and anti-India activities."
He shared Hunt an Urdu-language sticker that was also being printed and distributed as a pamphlet and praised the implementation of Shariah law in the northwestern Swat valley.
The sticker "exhorted Muslims to pursue the same sort of Shariah law in Faisalabad."
It called on Muslims to cease business and social activities at the five daily calls to prayer, remove all sources of "vulgarity" like televisions, CD players and radios from their homes, seek dispute resolution through imams rather than courts, take Friday rather than Sunday as the weekly holiday, and strictly enforce 'purdah' for women.
Islamabad: Taliban and a faction of the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) has intensified efforts to employ youth for militant operations in Northwest Pakistan, a secret US cable released by WikiLeaks has said.