(Also known as: Jhangvi Army, Lashkar-e-Jhangvie, Lashkar-e-Jhangwi, Lashkar-e-Jhanvi, Lashkar-i-Jangvi, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Lashkar-i-Jhangwi, Lashkar e Jhangvi, Lashkar Jangvi, Lashkar Jhangvi, Lashkare Jhangvi, Laskar e Jahangvi, Laskar-e-Jhangvi).
The following information is based on publicly available details about Lashkar-e Jhangvi. To the Australian Government’s knowledge, these details are accurate and reliable and have been corroborated by classified information.
Basis for listing a terrorist organisation
Division 102 of the Criminal Code provides that for an organisation to be listed as a terrorist organisation, the Attorney-General must be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation:
Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) is a Sunni Deobandi Islamist terrorist group based primarily in Pakistan's Punjab region. LeJ's goals are to establish an Islamist Sunni state in Pakistan based on Sharia law, by violent means if necessary; to have all Shias declared non-believers; and to eliminate followers of other faiths, especially Jews, Christians, and Hindus. Reflecting its hostility to Shias, LeJ also has targeted Iranian interests and Iranian nationals in Pakistan.
The group was formed in 1996 by Akram Lahori, Malik Ishaque, and Riaz Basra of the radical sectarian organisation Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), who accused the SSP's leadership of deviating from the ideals of its co-founder, Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi.
Pakistan has been plagued by sectarian violence for much of the past four decades and LeJ has established a reputation as the most violent Sunni extremist organisation in Pakistan, killing hundreds of Shias since its formation. LeJ has targeted Shia politicians, professionals, scholars and lobbyists. LeJ attacks have also targeted Christians, including attacks on Christian churches and schools.
Although sectarian attacks remain LeJ's primary focus, it has broadened this focus to target Western interests in Pakistan. In 2002, LeJ operatives participated in the abduction and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl. LeJ's main areas of operation are the Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan Provinces. LeJ also has been active in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), claiming responsibility for a double suicide bombing in the province's Kohat District in April 2010.
Reporting indicates two co-founders of LeJ, Akram Lahori and Malik Ishaque, exercised a leadership role and continues despite being imprisoned by Pakistani authorities. Operational command, however, has fallen to other members. The most recent figure known to exercise operational control was Qari Zafar, who reportedly was killed in a US drone strike in February 2010. Qari Zafar had been linked to al-Qa'ida as well as to attacks against former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, a Special Investigations Unit office in Lahore, the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and the US Consulate in Karachi.
Akram Lahori remains in prison, but Malik Ishaque, who was originally tried for the deaths of 12 members of a Shia family and had over 40 cases of murder pending against him, was released from prison on 14 July 2011 after serving 15 years. His current role is unclear.
LeJ is estimated to have around 300 active members and is a collection of loosely coordinated sub-units with semi-autonomous chiefs for each sub-unit. LeJ members traditionally have operated in small cells – usually ranging from five to eight personnel – that disperse after completing their missions in an attempt to avoid detection from Pakistani authorities.
Extremists often belong to multiple networks within Pakistan, with varying degrees of intermingling, especially at the lower levels. Therefore, there is probably overlap in personnel between LeJ and other extremist networks including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Jamiat-ul-Ansar (JuA)/Harakat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM).
LeJ activities have come under increased scrutiny by Pakistani authorities, resulting in the arrest of key leaders and hundreds of activists. However, the group remains a significant threat to Shia, Western, Pakistani Christian and Pakistani government targets.
A large percentage of LeJ's funding is likely to come from wealthy supporters in Karachi. Additional funding is derived from sources in Saudi Arabia, as well as from criminal activities, such as protection rackets and extortion from both Shia and Sunni banks and businesses. In June 2010, one LeJ militant was shot dead and three were arrested during a bid to escape after robbing a private bank in Karachi.
Directly or indirectly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts
LeJ operatives continue to be involved in sectarian attacks across Pakistan, including in the Punjab region, targeting members of the Shia community and other groups considered to be heretics. LeJ has also expanded its focus to target Western interests in Pakistan and has claimed responsibility for several assassinations in Baluchistan.
Although LeJ generally uses suicide bombings to kill large numbers of Shias, it has also used various weapons such as assault rifles, rockets, landmines and other small arms. Attacks claimed by, or attributed to, LeJ include:
Directly or indirectly assisting in the doing of terrorist acts
LeJ operatives continue to train and plan terrorist attacks against a variety of targets in Pakistan. LeJ has operated training camps in the past, but the current status of these camps is unclear.
Directly or indirectly assisting in the doing of terrorist acts
LeJ militants have been involved with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) operations targeting Pakistani authorities. In addition, LeJ maintains linkages with other Pakistani terrorist groups including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), JuA/HuM, Harakat ul Jihad Islami (HuJI) and JeM. LeJ also has a long-standing, close relationship with the Afghan Taliban.
Directly or indirectly fostering the doing of terrorist acts
LeJ utilizes varying types of online and print media to propagate its message and foster terrorist acts. LeJ spokesmen also claim responsibility for attacks and kidnappings through fax messages to Pakistani media outlets.
In view of the above information, ASIO assesses LeJ is directly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts. It is submitted that the acts attributable to LeJ are terrorist acts as they:
Other relevant information
Links to other terrorist groups or networks
As part of the Sunni militant community, LeJ has linkages with other Pakistani terrorist groups including LeT, JuA/HuM, HuJI and JeM.
LeJ also has strong linkages to TTP, which includes LeJ operatives participating in TTP attacks. In addition, LeJ has a close relationship with the Afghan Taliban, having fought with them against the Northern Alliance and participated in killings of Shias during the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Proscription by the UN and other countries
The LeJ is listed in the UN 1267 Committee’s consolidated list and as a proscribed terrorist organisation by the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Pakistan.