Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Pakistan’s Best And Brightest Young Minds Are Joining ISIS

Pakistan’s Best And Brightest Young Minds Are Joining ISIS


Pakistan, an ostensible U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism, is suffering a major brain drain of youth pledging themselves to Islamic State.
ISIS as a terrorist group has utilized a markedly different strategy in Pakistan compared to others, according to a report by Samira Shackle of the United Kingdom’s The Times. Instead of recruiting from the vulnerable poorer populations, the terrorist group is actively attracting Pakistan’s young intelligentsia.
“The aim is, we are going for a third world war. We have to secure our Muslim countries for World War Three,” said Babar Zaman Khan, an graduate student at the University of Karachi, to The Times.
Khan runs the university’s Islamic Students’ Movement of Pakistan (ISMP), which has ties to ISIS.
“We have a link to Daesh [ISIS], to some leaders of Daesh out of the country, through one of our members,” said Khan.
Officially, the Pakistani government has banned the ISMP, but that does not appear to have affected its support.
Khan claimed that not only does the group have “thousands of fans” across Karachi, it also has six chapters in the U.K. and others in the Netherlands and Denmark.
The University of Karachi is a well-known hotbed of Islamic extremism. An al-Qaida-linked organization known as “Izhaab” or “Ashab” was investigated by Pakistani authorities in 2014 after it was found to be distributing radical material on campus. Some students have taken their activities to the next level, such as a Haafiz Nasir (AKA Yasir) who was one of four well-educated terrorists arrested in connection with several terrorist attacks in Pakistan in 2015.
It is not only students who engage in radical activities at the university, it seems that the faculty also take part. One such example is Dr. Ubaid Ahmed Khan, an Islamic studies lecturer arrested in March for allegedly attempting to create an ISIS cell with fellow professors Abdul Rasheed and Naseer Ahmed Akhtar. Khan had previously been interrogated by police regarding the murder of his department’s former dean, Mohammed Shakil Auj, who was considered a liberal reformer. Khan is still currently listed as a professor on the university’s webpage.

Some of the more radical students at the university are fairly open about their support for ISIS, though they claim that does not necessarily make them terrorists.
“You need to differentiate between terrorism and radicalism,” Kashif Warsi, a student at the university, told The Times. “We are not terrorists but when we assess ourselves we are supporting terrorism in terms of funding. It’s the ‘social corporate responsibility’ side. It’s not about Daesh, it’s about supporting Muslims.”

Despite Warsi’s claim, Karachi has often fallen victim to its own radical terrorist elements. The city has seen dozens of terrorism-related attacks in 2016 alone. ISIS support runs deep in the city, regardless of the attacks. Such support is more than merely vocal, in some cases it is very active, such as when a ring of female ISIS supporters raising cash to send to fighters abroad was broken up by authorities December of last year.
Pakistan’s problems with terrorism do not start and end in Karachi, radicalism is spread throughout much of the country. Support for radicalism has become institutionalized, even at the government level. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial government allotted nearly $3 million in funding to an Islamic school known as the “University of Jihad.” The school boasts an infamous alumni of terrorists that includes several heads of the Taliban, the founder of the Haqqani network and the head of al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).
The U.S. has provided Pakistan an average of $2 billion a year since 2001, much of which was provided to help the government mitigate the country’s terrorist element. Given that Pakistan’s current military budgets hover around $7 billion, the U.S. assistance is crucial to the government, yet clearly ineffective as far as U.S. policy objectives are concerned.

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