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Occupying Pakistani Forces Would Continue To Face Violent Resistance In Balochistan

The anger and mistrust of the Baloch people towards Pakistani SFs are unlikely to subside.

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On May 19, 2020, six Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers were killed when unidentified militants targeted their vehicle using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Mach District of Balochistan on May 19, 2020. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

TOn May 8, 2020, five FC soldiers and one officer were killed when their vehicle was targeted with an IED at Kallag, near the Pakistan-Iran border, in the Tigran area of Kech District. In a tweet, the ISPR said the security personnel were returning from patrolling in Buleda – 14 kilometres from the Pakistan-Iran border – to “check possible routes used by terrorists in the mountainous terrain of Makran”. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility of the attack saying:

“The Pakistani military has advanced operations in Tigran and other areas of Turbat over the past several days, targeting Baloch civilians, including harassing women and children.”


The BLA statement accused the Army officer killed in the attack to be “directly involved in the formation and leading of so-called death squads of criminal gangs operated by the army” in the Kech region. The statement also accused the army officer of helping drug dealers and arming them to take on the rebels.

On February 20, 2020, five Security Force (SF) personnel were killed and three were injured after militants attacked a check post in the Turbat District of Balochistan. Three militants were also killed in the subsequent exchange of fire between the SF personnel and militants.

There was no claim of responsibility, but the attack took place in an area where Baloch separatists frequently target Pakistani security convoys and checkpoints.


On February 19, 2020, at least 16 Army personnel were killed in an attack by Balochistan Liberation Tigers (BLT) at an Army post in the Singsila area of the Dera Bugti district of Balochistan. BLT militants also seized all weapons and ammunition kept at the post and subsequently set the post on fire. This attack was the worst on SFs by a Baloch group.

The previous worst attack by a Baloch group targeting SFs was recorded on February 1, 2012, when at least 15 FC personnel were killed and 12 were injured in an attack on four FC check posts near the Margat Coalmines in Mach District.

Mirak Baloch, who introduced himself as the BLA spokesperson, claiming the attack declaring, “It is a reaction to the January 31, 2012, killings of granddaughter and great-grand-daughter of Nawab Akbar Bugti in Karachi.”

During the first five months and seven days of the current year, 2020, Balochistan has accounted for 41 SF fatalities. During the corresponding period of 2019 also, Balochistan recorded 41 fatalities in the SF category. Through 2019, there was a total of 54 SF fatalities.

According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), since March 6, 2000, when SATP started compiling data on the conflict in Pakistan, Balochistan has accounted for a total of 1,529 SF fatalities. A maximum of 178 fatalities was registered in 2012.


A North-South breakup of SF fatalities over the last 20 years indicate that SF fatalities in North Balochistan are consistently higher than South Balochistan. Since, March 6, 2000, out of the total of 1,529 SF fatalities in the Province, 1,134 were recorded in the North while 395 in the South.

In 2020, out of the 41 SF personnel killed in the Province so far (data till June 7, 2020), 26 were killed in North Balochistan, while 15 were killed in South Balochistan.

As has been noted on several occasions in the past, the North is afflicted by Islamist extremist groups such as the Tehreek-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). Baloch nationalist insurgent groups operate in the South. The major Baloch insurgent groups include the Baloch Republican Army (BRA), BLA, BLT and United Baloch Army (UBA).

Though SFs are significantly targeted by Islamist terrorist formations such as TTP and LeJ in North Balochistan, the principal focus of their attention is on Baloch insurgent groups and minority or sectarian groupings. Significantly, out of 1,392 terrorists killed in Balochistan since the formation of the TTP in December 2007, the group identity of 310 has been confirmed, so far. More than 63 per cent of these (197 in total) are from five Baloch insurgent groups – BLA (110), Baloch Liberation Front (BLF, 44), BRA (31), UBA (10) and Lashkar-e-Balochistan (2).

Moreover, a systematic campaign of extermination of ethnic Baloch people through enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in the South remains unabated. According to partial data compiled by SATP, of the 4,476 civilian fatalities recorded in Balochistan since March 6, 2000 (data till June 7, 2020), at least 1,399 have been attributable to one or another terrorist/insurgent outfit.

Of these, 436 civilian killings (263 in the South and 173 in the North) have been claimed by Baloch separatist formations, while Islamist and sectarian extremist formations – primarily Islamic State, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), TTP and Ahrar-ul-Hind (Liberators of India) – claimed responsibility for another 963 civilian killings, 880 in the North (mostly in and around Quetta) and 83 in the South. The remaining 3,077 civilian fatalities – 1,712 in the South and 1,365 in the North – remain ‘unattributed’.

It is widely believed that Security Agencies engage in “kill and dump” operations, particularly in the Southern region, targeting local Baloch dissidents, a reality that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has clearly recognized.

A large proportion of the ‘unattributed’ fatalities, particularly in the Southern region, are believed to be the result of enforced disappearances carried out by state agencies, or by their proxies, prominently including the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Aman Balochistan (TNAB, Movement for the Restoration of Peace, Balochistan). TNAB is a militia formation operating in the province of Balochistan, especially in Khuzdar, since 2012. The TNAB leader is Shafique Mengal, also known as Mullah Shafique. The group’s main target is Baloch nationalists.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Balochistan (HRCB), in a report released on May 8, 2020, disclosed that Balochistan witnessed a surge in military raids with 16 killed and 45 abducted in April, amid the COVID-19 lockdown.


As many as 73 people had been picked up by the Pakistani forces, including students, women, children, and infants, though 28 were later released. The whereabouts of the remaining 45 are unknown. Settlements were burned down in weeks-long military actions in the Kech, Panjgur, and Awaran Districts which left people homeless, including those returning from the state’s torture cells.

Pakistan’s establishment expectedly took action against HRCB for defying media censorship. On May 12, the Government imposed an indefinite ban on HRCB’s official website (also known as Hakkpaan). Over the past years, HRCB has been actively working in Balochistan to collect information about ongoing human rights abuses and to report them to the international media and organizations. Its website remains accessible outside Pakistan.

Subsequent to the blocking of its website in Pakistan, HRCB expressed the fear that Pakistani authorities might target their “volunteers and office-bearers who are living in the country.”  Their apprehension is not unfounded, as state agencies have had little compunction in targeting journalists and human rights workers in the past.

Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain, who was living in exile in Sweden and had been missing since March 2, 2020, from Uppsala, was found dead on April 23, 2020, in the Fyris River, outside Uppsala.

According to one of Hussain’s close friends, who is based in Sweden as well, Hussain was last seen boarding a train from Stockholm to Uppsala to collect keys to his new apartment and to leave his personal belongings there. Hussain, hailing from Balochistan, was working as a part-time professor in Uppsala, about 60 kilometres north of Stockholm. He was also the chief editor of Balochistan Times, an online magazine he had set up, in which he wrote about drug trafficking, forced disappearances and a long-running insurgency. Balochistan Times on May 2, wrote:

“His work often got him into trouble as the authorities did not like his reporting of Balochistan’s forbidden stories, the reason he had to leave and live in exile.”

Hussain left Pakistan in 2012 following a Police raid on his house and subsequent threats on his life. He first moved to Oman, then to UAE, then Uganda, before moving to Sweden in 2017.

Further, on May 2, 2020, two Baloch student activists Shahdad Baloch and Ehsan Baloch, both graduates from Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, were killed by SFs in Kalat District. Both the graduates were critical of the Pakistani establishment for the exploitation of the natural resources and gross human rights violations in Balochistan.

Some of the other prominent killings/disappearances of Baloch journalist/activists overt the past five years include:

  • February 2, 2019: Muhammad Ibrahim Arman Luni, a Baloch rights activist, died in hospital after reportedly being beaten by the Police in the Loralai District of Balochistan for his peaceful sit-in protest. Luni had repeatedly protested alleged targeted killings by the state and had criticized the state for marginalizing Pashtuns. He had also raised awareness for those affected by militancy and Army operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
  • July 30, 2018: A local journalist Jamil Ahmed, a sub-editor at a daily, Azadi, was shot at and critically injured in the Kirani road area on the outskirts of Quetta. Ahmed was going home after completing his shift late at night when armed men shot him several times in the Kirani road area.
  • January 12, 2017: Unidentified assailants shot dead a journalist, Muhammad Jan (37), in Kalat town in Balochistan. Muhammad Jan, who worked for local Urdu language daily newspaper, Qudrat, was shot dead while he was on his way home on a motorcycle.
  • April 24, 2015: Baloch activist and journalist Sabeen Mahmud was shot dead by unidentified assailants in the Phase-II area of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. Sabeen, accompanied by her mother, was just returning home after organizing a discussion on ‘Unsilencing Balochistan’ at ‘The Second Floor’ (T2F), a café that had been developed as a forum for open debates, of which she was Director. The panellists in the discussion included ‘Mama’ Abdul Qadeer Baloch, the President of VBMP, who had led a ‘long march’ to protest forcible disappearances in Balochistan; Baloch activists Farzana Baloch and Mir Muhammad Ali Talpur; and journalists Malik Siraj Akbar and Wusut Ullah Khan.

On May 25, 2020, amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the region and rest of the world, a Paris-based NGO, the Baloch Voice Association, organised a virtual conference “Prevent genocide in Balochistan and end eliminations with impunity”.

The speakers included prominent human rights activists from Balochistan and western analysts who accused the Pakistan Army of being responsible for enforced disappearances, torture and killing of intellectuals, students and political activists in the Province.

A similar concern was raised by Allah Nizar Baloch, the leader of BLF, on March 28, 2020. He asserted:

“We believe that the Pakistan Army would use the COVID-19 outbreak to expand its occupation and stranglehold over Balochistan while continuing its atrocities and genocide of the Baloch.”

Amid the swelling attacks on SF personnel in the Province, Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, visited Quetta on May 13, 2020, and tried to woo the Baloch people. He stated that Balochistan was the future of Pakistan and it was the Army’s duty to fully assist its government and the people towards a peaceful and prosperous future. Bajwa directed all commanders to reach out to the people in far-flung areas of Balochistan to help mitigate challenges faced by the masses due to COVID-19.

The grim reality, however, is that the anger and mistrust of the Baloch people towards Pakistani SFs, generated by a long history of atrocities, as well as against the administration as a result of persistent neglect, is unlikely to subside.

As long as the people of Balochistan continue to suffer at the hands of the SFs and an exploitative, iniquitous administration, the restive region will continue to see a targeted attack against the SFs.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

Tushar Ranjan Mohanty joined the Institute in August 2008. Currently, he is involved in research and documentation of Conflicts in Pakistan. He has also written on conflicts in North East India. He is pursuing M. Phil. from the Department of African Studies, Faculty of Social Science, Delhi University, New Delhi, on "Angola's Energy Potential: Prospect For India".

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INTERNATIONAL

Rohingya Slugfest At Bangladesh-Myanmar Border?

Bangladesh is currently hosting 1.1 million Rohingya refugees, who have fled from their native Rakhine State of Myanmar, in different batches.

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On October 6, 2020, four people were killed in clashes between two groups of Rohingyas over establishing supremacy at the Lombasia Camp in the Kutupalang area of Cox’s Bazar District. 20 persons were injured in those violent clashes.

On October 4, 2020, two Rohingyas were killed in a gunfight between two rival groups at a refugee camp in the Ukhia area of Cox’s Bazar District. The gunfight erupted between two groups of Rohingya criminals asserting dominance.

On October 2, 2020, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) discovered and neutralized a firearms-making factory at Madhurchhara, adjacent to the Kutupalang Rohingya Camp in Cox’s Bazar District. Two persons identified as Abu Majid and Robi Alam were arrested. RAB recovered two guns, two bullets and several pieces of equipment used for manufacturing firearms from a hut set up by the arrestees. According to RAB officials, the duo had been making and supplying firearms to Rohingya criminals for a long time.


Available data shows that at least 178 cases have been filed against the Rohingyas between January and July 2020, in which 442 Rohingyas have been arrested. 263 cases were registered through 2019 and 649 Rohingyas were arrested. In 2018, the numbers stood at 208 cases and 414 arrests.

The crimes these displaced people are involved in include possession of illegal arms and drugs, robbery, abduction, smuggling, murder, and human trafficking.

Media reports indicate that extremist groups are trying to take over these camps. Deutsche Welle, a German news agency, reported on February 13, 2020, that 40 Rohingyas in a Cox’s Bazar camp were trained by the Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in January 2020. The JMB trained these Rohingyas with help from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, from where USD 117,000 was received by JMB for this purpose. The report also revealed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was among those behind the training.

Siegfried O. Wolf, an analyst at the South Asia Democratic Forum, a Belgian-based group based in Brussels, later confirmed the possible involvement of ISI. He said the ISI’s main goal was to destabilize some countries in the region, with Afghanistan and India at the top of their list.


Reports also indicate that the Myanmar-based Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) has made deep inroads in these camps. The International Crisis Group (ICG) report “Building a Better Future for Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh” released on April 25, 2019, claimed ARSA militants and gangs mostly controlled the camps and often committed violence against the residents.

Separately, the Deutsche Welle on September 24, 2019, reported that a man claiming to be an ARSA cadre told Deutsche Welle that some 3,500 fighters were sheltering in the refugee camps in Bangladesh and that groups of several hundred fighters secretly crossed to neighbouring Myanmar for military training.

There are apprehensions that these terrorist groups may take advantage of the rising tension between the host community and the refugees, which has reportedly reached an alarming level. Overcrowding in refugee camps has led to encroachment of forests and decreasing opportunities for the host community.

Bangladesh is currently hosting 1.1 million Rohingya refugees, who have fled from their native Rakhine State of Myanmar, in different batches.

The first batch of Rohingyas came in 1977 when an estimated 300,000 Rohingya fled persecution by the Myanmarese Army in the Rakhine region. More recently, an estimated 730,000 Rohingyas came to Bangladesh in 2017. The exodus followed massive clearance operation by Myanmar’s State Forces subsequent to ARSA’s attacks against Police posts in the northern Rakhine State. According to Ontario International Development Agency, nearly 24,000 Rohingya were killed, more than 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down while 113,000 others were vandalised by Myanmar’s state forces.

According to the UN Report of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar released on September 12, 2018, the “clearance operations” constituted a human rights catastrophe. Mass killings were perpetrated in Min Gyi (Tula Toli), Maung Nu, Chut Pyin and Gudar Pyin, and in villages in the Koe Tan Kauk village tract. In some cases, hundreds of people died.


The Rohingya crisis is no longer just a humanitarian calamity but has transformed into a potential threat to Bangladesh’s internal stability. On November 11, 2019, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, addressing the three-day ‘Dhaka Global Dialogue-2019’ in Dhaka city, observed:

“In terms of regional security, I would like to say that more than 1.1 million Rohingya citizens of Myanmar fled to Bangladesh in the face of persecution and they are a threat to the security not only for Bangladesh but also for the region. I urge the world community to take appropriate action realising the gravity of the threat. It will not be possible to ensure development and prosperity of any country without having peace and safety.”

On September 12, 2020, raising fears that if the Rohingya problem is not solved quickly, it may lead to radicalism and terrorism, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Momen noted, “Our fear is that, if this problem is not solved quickly, it may lead to pockets of radicalism and since terrorists have no borders, no faith, there’s a high possibility of creation of uncertainty in the region which may frustrate our hope for a peaceful, secure and stable region.”

Not surprisingly, Bangladesh has, for long, been trying to repatriate these Rohingyas. According to a bilateral instrument signed by Bangladesh and Myanmar on November 23, 2017, the repatriation of the Rohingya was supposed to begin from January 22, 2018, and to be complete by January 22, 2020. But, not a single Rohingya has yet been repatriated.

So far, two repatriation attempts, on November 15, 2018, and August 22, 2019, did not materialize due to Myanmar’s failure to create the necessary conditions for the return of its own people.

Indeed, urging the global community to play a more ‘effective role’ in finding a solution for the Rohingya problem, Prime Minister Hasina, in a pre-recorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 26, 2020, stated:

“More than three years have elapsed. Regrettably, not a single Rohingya could be repatriated. The problem was created by Myanmar, and its solution must be found in Myanmar. I request the international community to play a more effective role for a solution to the crisis.”

Meanwhile, there are reports of rising tension at the International Border between Bangladesh and Myanmar, directly linked to the Rohingya issue. Bangladeshi has deployed Army troops in Cox’s Bazar District in southeastern Bangladesh along Myanmar’s border. Similarly, Myanmar’s military has recently beefed up security along the border, citing increased activities by ARSA and the Arakan Army.

The Rohingya crisis has created challenges for Bangladesh as the tension between the host communities and the Rohingyas increases. Moreover, the issue has created tensions between Bangladesh and Myanmar as well. While support from numerous humanitarian actors has so far kept the refugees alive, these tensions may soon translate into explicit conflict.


Unless the crisis is resolved, the ‘Rohingya problem’ may morph into an issue of global security at large, and a crisis for Bangladesh in particular.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

S. Binodkumar Singh

Dr S. Binodkumar is a Research Associate at the Institute for Conflict Management. He has done his PhD on "Indo-Bangladesh Relations: Their Impact on the Security of the North East" from the Department of Defence and National Security Studies at Punjab University, Chandigarh.

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Maldives’ DDC Struggling With Prosecutions

The capacities and capabilities of the Maldivian Security Forces need a boost.

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On August 8, 2020, Maldives’ Disappearances and Death Commission (DDC) announced that it is going to hire a foreign expert to assist it in completing its investigations by September 2020.

Earlier, on December 8, 2019, the President of DDC, Uz. Husnu Al Suood, resigned from the Presidential Commission after his nomination to the Supreme Court as a Judge.

A December 12, 2019, report mentions President’s spokesperson Ibrahim Hood saying that President’s Office was working on a replacement for Uz. Husnu Al Suood. However, no further updates are available.


Another member, Adam Ibrahim, also resigned, citing ‘personal reasons’.  DDC has just three members left, Misbah Abbas, Ahmed Nashid and Fareesha Abdulla.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had announced the establishment of the DDC on November 18, 2018. The Commission commenced its work officially on November 21, 2018, with a two-year deadline to investigate 27 cases of Disappearances and Death. On September 1, 2019, DDC revealed that, of the 27 cases being investigated, only 4 or 5 were ‘currently pending’. Three of these were ‘interlinked’ cases, involving al Qaeda. These included:

Recovery of the dead body of Dr Afrasheem Ali bearing multiple stab wounds. The body was discovered in the stairwell of his home in Male in the early hours of October 1, 2012.
Status: Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office has ordered the DDC to resubmit the charges against the accused.


The disappearance of Journalist Ahmed Rilwan: Ahmed Rilwan (28), a journalist with now discontinued Maldives Independent, was last seen on August 8, 2014.
Status: The case has yet to reach trial phase. The DDC on December 3, 2019, said that the case was forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s Office, to press charges against Mohamed Mazeed and Smith Mohamed, suspected of masterminding Rilwan’s enforced disappearance. Subsequently, the Prosecutor General’s Office had rejected the case over procedural issues, and no charges were pressed against any suspects.

The killing of Blogger Yameen Rasheed: A local affiliate of al Qaeda killed blogger Yameen Rasheed, who had received repeated death threats for his ‘anti-Islamic views’, on April 23, 2017.
Status: PG office in January 2020, citing inadequate investigations, rejected the charges against the suspects. Further, the Prosecutor General sent the case back to DDC for further investigation, following which the commission stated they would resubmit the charges. DDC could not find any fresh leads in the case.

The Al Qaeda is a major threat to the Maldives. On September 19, 2019, the Maldives Government made public the details of 17 terror organisations placed under its Anti-Terrorism Act on the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security. Five of these were related al Qaeda: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

Meanwhile, since the formation of the DDC on November 18, 2018, another five terrorism cases have taken place in the country (data till August 30, 2020), though these have not resulted in any fatalities. These include:

  • April 15, 2020, arson attack at Mahibadhoo Harbour: On April 15, 2020, five government speedboats were damaged in an arson attack at Mahibadhoo Harbour on Ariatholhu Dhekunuburi. According to reports, the attack was a retaliation against Government investigations into extremism and drug trafficking.
  • March 22, 2020, Police boat attack: Unidentified attackers set ablaze a Police boat docked at the Harbour of Gan Island in Laamu Atoll on March 22, 2020.
  • March 21, 2020, arson attack: An arson incident occurred at Villa number 47 in Cheval Blanc Randheli, a luxury hotel located in Noonu Atoll.
  • February 4, 2020, stabbing incidents: Extremists, suspected to be inspired by the Islamic State, stabbed and injured three foreign nationals – two Chinese and one Australian – near Hulhumale Red Bull Park Futsal Ground in the Hulhumale city of Kaffu Atoll on February 4, 2020.
  • Attack on Turkish national: Extremists stabbed a Turkish national in Hulhumale city in December 2019.

Though all these cases are still under investigation, it is suspected that the Islamic State is behind each of them. Indeed, IS has claimed two of these incidents (April 15) and (March 21).


Though none of the cases reported since November 18, 2018, the date of establishment of the DDC, are under the purview of the DDC, other agencies investigating the cases have also failed to prosecute a single person in these cases, with the exception of the March 22, 2020, arson incident.

On August 2, 2020, the Office of the Prosecutor General filed an additional terror charge against terror accused Moosa Inaas, for setting ablaze a Police surveillance speedboat on March 22. The speedboat was docked in the harbour of Thundi District of Gan in Laamu Atoll.

The Prosecutor General’s office disclosed that it has filed the charge of carrying out an act of terrorism under Article 6 (b) of the Counter-Terrorism Act, with reference to Article 6 (a) (i) of the Counter-Terrorism Act. Earlier, on July 29, 2020, the Prosecutor General’s Office had charged Moosa Inaas and Abdul Latheef Ibrahim for “possession of material implying support for a terrorist organization” under Article 6 (b) of the Counter-Terrorism Act.

The State continued failure to successfully prosecute those involved in violent acts could strengthen the resolve of terrorist and extremist formations. It will also help such elements to claim that the case filed against them were the vendetta of a secular’ government against the ‘faithful’.

In the meantime, there is a strong possibility of more arson attacks by the extremists, as evident from available online content. On July 30, 2020, the Australia-based scholar of Maldives, Azim Zahir, tweeted that the Maldivian IS group had released a video encouraging arson attacks.

Further, the SITE Intelligence Group, an organisation that monitors online activities of extremist groups, disclosed that the original 4-minute video version “Incite the Believers” was released in both English and Arabic by the IS-linked Al-Hayat Media Center on July 26, 2020. The SITE Intelligence group added further that the video asked supporters to use arson as a method to attack enemies across Africa, North and South America and Europe.

The outbreak of Novel Corona Virus-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to massive financial losses for the State; the full extent of this is yet to be fully assessed. According to data published by the Ministry of Economic Development, Government of Maldives, and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), the best-case scenario for the island nation would be negative economic growth of -11.5 per cent, but at worst could go down to -29.7 per cent.

A lethal combination of economic meltdown and poverty-led marginalisation could lead to heightened radicalisation, greatly destabilising the island nation. Lieutenant Colonel Amanulla A. Rasheed in his article ‘Global Trends of Crime and Terror Nexus during COVID-19 Pandemic: Building Community Resilience to Prevent Violent Extremism’ published in National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Newsletter Volume 37: April 2020 observes:

“…crime and terror would transform, changing its ways and means to exploit the situation and target the vulnerable communities in order to create chaos and misconceptions amongst the public and hate towards the State Governments. Extremist sympathizers are covertly playing their role in spreading the Jihadist beliefs in the vulnerable communities, which is part of terror tactics, and yet the spread of violent extremism has been managed…”


There is a need for greater synergy between various security agencies both at the level of intelligence sharing and investigation so that cases that are registered can be brought to their natural conclusion.

The capacities and capabilities of the Maldivian Security Forces need a boost, in order to effectively meet increasing challenges of terrorist groups and radical elements.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

Giriraj Bhattacharjee

Giriraj Bhattacharjee is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi.

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Ahmadi Muslims And The Islamic Pakistan

Ahmadis, like other religious minorities in Pakistan, continue to face violence and discrimination.

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On August 13, 2020, a 61-year-old Ahmadi man, Meraj Ahmed, was shot dead near his medical store in the Dabgari Gardens area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

On July 29, 2020, Tahir Naseem, a US citizen and an Ahmadi, accused of blasphemy, was shot dead inside a District Court in Peshawar, in the presence of security and the presiding judge. Though he was killed as an Ahmadi, Saleem ud Din, spokesman of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan, later claimed, “He was born Ahmadi but left the community many years ago. Therefore, to avoid any misinformation, I would like to clarify that the deceased was not part of Jamaat Ahmadiyya.”

Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan is an organisation that, among other things, watches over the religious, economic and political interests of Ahmadis in Pakistan.


On July 15, 2020, graves of members of the Ahmadi community were desecrated in Tirigiri village of Gujranwala District in Punjab Province, as Quranic verses were written on these graves. Pakistani law prohibits Ahmadis from calling themselves or “posing as” Muslims.

On July 1, 2020, local clerics allegedly vandalised graves of members of the Ahmadi community in the Nawa Kot area of Sheikhupura District in Punjab Province. Saleem ud Din, the spokesman of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan, condemning the attack, Tweeted:

“How long the state apparatus will act as enabler in the hands of extremists? How long our dead will be persecuted in their graves? How long the state & others will turn a blind eye to this?”


On February 29, 2020, three graves belonging to Ahmadis were allegedly desecrated by the Police in the Khushab District of Punjab Province.

According to partial data collated by South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), these were the five reported incidents in 2020 in which the Ahmadi community was targeted (data till August 23, 2020). Two of these incidents resulted in one fatality each.

Since March 6, 2000, at least 128 Ahmadis have been killed and 113 injured in 28 incidents of killing.

The worst-ever attack targeting the Ahmadis took place on May 28, 2010. 94 people were killed when two Ahmadi mosques were targeted in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab, in attacks that included grenades, small arms fire and two suicide bombers. 27 people were killed at the Baitul Nur Mosque in Lahore’s Model Town area and 67 people died at the Darul Zikr Mosque in the suburb of Garhi Shahu. The Punjabi Taliban, a local affiliate of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), had claimed responsibility.

Britain’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in its Report titled, “Suffocating the Faithful: The Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and the Rise of International Extremism”, published in July 2020, stated that between 1984 and July 2020, at least 269 Ahmadi Muslims have been killed on grounds of faith. The report also explains the abuse that Ahmadis experience in educational institutions:

“Young Ahmadi Muslims face a constant risk of being denied access to education and those who secure a place are routinely targeted and stigmatised through physical and emotional abuse at the hands of teachers and fellow pupils.”


Indeed, apart from death and desecration, the Ahmadi community faces constant oppression and discrimination in eligibility to hold government positions, in contesting elections, in their businesses, and in the destruction of their homes and places of worship. Ahmadi Muslims are prevented by law from publishing and possessing their core religious texts, crucially including the Holy Quran.

As reported on January 10, 2020, the Punjab Assembly’s Special Committee decided to ban the Ahmadi newspaper, Al-Fazl. This, in a state and a country where dozens of terrorist organisations openly publish multiple magazines.

The oppression and suppression faced by Ahmadis are at the behest of the Pakistani establishment. Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Religious and Inter-faith Harmony Affairs, declared in May 2020 that any form of “soft-heartedness” toward the Ahmadis was both un-Islamic and un-patriotic:

“Whoever shows sympathy or compassion towards [Ahmadis] is neither loyal to Islam nor the state of Pakistan.”

Unsurprisingly, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), constituted in May 2020 has no member from the Ahmadi community. Initially, it was suggested that Ahmadis should get a representation in the Commission, but, as reported on May 18, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected that idea after it sparked severe criticism from orthodox Sunnis who consider the Ahmadi belief an insult to Islam.

Moreover, under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), fundamental religious rights are denied to Ahmadis in Pakistan. Ordinance XX prohibits Ahmadis from self-declaration as a Muslim, to make azaan (prayer call), from paying zakat (alms), from observing fast during Ramzaan, and from making a pilgrimage to Mecca. PPC 298 C , thus states:

Person of Qadiani group, etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith:-

Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name), who directly or indirectly, poses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

The Ahmadi community, accepted as a minority sect of Islam at the time of the country’s independence in 1947, became the first minority group to be targeted for sectarian violence when anti-Ahmadi riots broke out in 1953 in Lahore, leading to the first imposition of Martial Law in the country’s history, limited to Lahore. 2,000 Ahmadis were killed in violent protests.

Later, in 1974, under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Administration, the Parliament brought the Second Amendment to the 1973 Constitution and declared the Ahmadis non-Muslims.

Unlike all other Muslims in the country, Ahmadis were prohibited from calling their place of worship a mosque and saying the common Islamic greeting of Assalamo Alaikum (Peace be upon you ) or reading the Kalima (the testimony of faith).


Further, in 1985, the then President Zia ul Haq pushed through the Eighth Amendment to the 1973 Constitution in Parliament, which was accompanied by a series of laws effectively creating a separate electorate system for non-Muslims, including Ahmadi Muslims.

Moreover, according to the Amendment, they cannot hold government office without publicly denouncing Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadi community.

The status of the Ahmadis has become precarious. Several reports have highlighted the pathetic conditions of the sect, including the International Human Rights Committee report, Ahmadis in Pakistan Face an Existential Threat, published in 2017, which demonstrates that Ahmadis in Pakistan are violently targeted, intimidated, harassed and persecuted at all levels of society. It also testifies to the grave injustices that are meted out to minority religious groups such as Ahmadi Muslims.

Likewise, South Asia Democratic Forum’s report, Persecution against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan: A multi-dimensional perspective, published on May 10, 2019, underlined the multifaceted and multidimensional persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan in all spheres of public and private life.

More recently, the US States Commission on International Religious Freedom in its Annual Report 2020, released in April 2020, explaining the situation of Ahmadi community of Pakistan, noted:

“Ahmadi Muslims, with their faith essentially criminalized, continued to face severe persecution from authorities as well as societal harassment due to their beliefs, with both the authorities and mobs targeting their houses of worship.”

In February 2020, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, declaring that minorities are equal citizens of his country, had issued a warning that anyone targeting the non-Muslim population of Pakistan would be strictly dealt with.

Regrettably, Khan has failed to back words with convincing action, as evident in the failure to include an Ahmadi representative in the NCM, and also to ensure effective legal action in any of the continuous stream of cases of atrocity and discrimination targeting Ahmadis.

Ahmadis, like other religious minorities in Pakistan, continue to face violence and discrimination, targeted by acts of vandalism and violence, forced to declare themselves as “non-Muslims” and prohibited by law from professing or practising their faith.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

Dr. Sanchita Bhattacharya

Dr Sanchita is a Research Fellow at Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi. Assistant Editor: Faultlines Area of Interest: Political Islam in South Asia, Pakistan, Terrorism Education: PhD from JNU, Delhi M.A. in International Relations from Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

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