Lashkar terror multiplies, co-founder forms new group

WION New Delhi, India Mar 12, 2018, 12.08 PM(IST) Written By: Padma Rao Sundarji

File photo of LeT chief Hafiz Saeed. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Bifurcating and multiplying into multiple terror outfits – all with the same goal, that of murder – is nothing new in Pakistan

Pakistan's own protege terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba has split, rattled by infighting. US-designated terrorist and co-founder of Lashkar, Maulana Amir Hamza has formed the Jaish-e-Manqafa. WION is in the process of verifying reports on the split that, so far, are unconfirmed. Still, bifurcating and multiplying into multiple terror outfits – all with the same goal, that of murder – is nothing new in Pakistan. So just who is Hamza, the new-old terrorist on the block? Senior foreign editor Padma Rao takes a look.

It’s called binary fission, the process by which single-celled organisms like amoebae multiply several times over and proliferate unhindered. With unrestricted help, support and arms from Pakistan's government and army, Pakistan terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba have made binary fission a fine art over decades. Take a look at the multiple faces of one single murderous group.
 
It all began in 1985 with the Jamaat-ud-Dawa founded by hate-spewing preacher, Maulana Amir Hamza. That soon merged with another charity front, the Markaz-ud-Dawa in 1996. Four years later and with a generous funding from al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden, the Lashkar-e-Taiba was born. It continues to receive weapons training camps, arms and ammunition from the Pakistan army and full encouragement to repeat terror acts like the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. The Lashkar taps suicide bombing talent early –  through its children's magazine called "Little Mujahid".  

When the entire global community - except Islamabad’s best friend China and some other rogue states - began to ban Lashkar,  it simply bifurcated again. This time, it formed new trusts – the Tehreek e Tahafuz Qibla Awwal, the Al-Anfal trust and the Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool. But of course, it still set aside about USD five million for terror strikes. The United States tried banning all of them again so – the Lashkar simply decided to lend itself some respectability by forming the Milli Muslim League, a so-called political party. But the Trump administration went a step further and ordered Islamabad to turn the taps on funding for terror groups.

And that’s what has now split the Lashkar. Infighting broke out within the LeT over sharing the reduced funding and – voila – the amoeba has bifurcated again. While Hafiz Saeed will continue as Lashkar’s chief, Maulana Amir Mirza of the so-called charitable wing, Jamaat-ud-Dawa will now inaugurate another terror group called the Jaish-e-Manqafa.