Islamabad, May 28: An assessment carried out by Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) has stated that sectarian groups in the country have grown ‘stronger than ever’ and pose a grave threat to state and society.
The IB report has warned that organisations such as Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Jundallah are more powerful than in the ’80s and ’90s when they wreaked havoc across the country through sectarian attacks, reports The Express Tribune.
“Even today they pose a challenge as big as Al-Qaeda and they are getting more powerful. Imagine where they will be in a couple of years,” an official said.
The report was prepared after monitoring the activities of SSP, LeJ and associated groups for several months.
The report also states that the SSP and LeJ have already extended their network outside their traditional strongholds in South Punjab, southern districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Pakhtun belt of Balochistan, including Quetta.
“Now they are everywhere…from interior Sindh to the base of the Himalayas,” added the official.
The SSP and LeJ were among several outfits that were banned by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2002, but their infrastructure and manpower remained untouched, states the paper.
“We went into hiding for some years but our system was very much there. That is why we are back now…with more force. Allah help us revive,” said an SSP activist.
Amir Rana, director of Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), which monitors the rise and fall of such organisations, said such militant outfits have been attracting more manpower after international players like Al Qaeda joined them in the aftermath of 9/11.(ANI)