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 Lashkar-e Jhangvi

(Also known as: Army of Jhangvi, Jhangvi Army, Lashkar Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Almi, Lashkar I Jhangvi, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi.)

Listed 11 April 2003, re-listed 11 April 2005, 31 March 2007, 14 March 2009, 9 March 2012, 3 March 2015 and 3 March 2018.

The following information is based on publicly available details about Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ). 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:

  1. is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, or assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act; or
  2. advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

For the purposes of listing a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code, the doing of a terrorist act includes the doing of a specific terrorist act, the doing of more than one terrorist act and the doing of a terrorist act, even if a terrorist act does not occur.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

Objectives

LeJ's objectives 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 kill Shia, Jews, Christians and other minorities.

LeJ has undertaken the following to advance its ideology and achieve its objectives:

Directly or indirectly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts

LeJ directly engages in terrorist attacks in Pakistan, including assassinations, attacks using remote detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and suicide IED attacks. Attacks claimed by, or reasonably attributable to, LeJ include:

  • 23 June 2017: at least 67 people were killed and more than 200 people were wounded in an attack against a Bazaar in Parachinar city. LeJ were reported to have claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • 21 January 2017: at least 22 people were killed and 90 injured in an attack against a vegetable market in Parachinar city. An LeJ spokesman confirmed it conducted the attack.
  • 13 November 2016: 52 people were killed and over 100 injured in an attack against a Sufi Shrine in Baluchistan Province; LeJ were reported to have claimed joint responsibility for the attack with proscribed terrorist group Islamic State (IS).
  • 24 October 2016: At least 62 Pakistani security force personnel were killed and 164 injured in an attack against a police training college near Quetta. A LeJ spokesman confirmed it conducted the attack in concert with IS militants.
  • 9 August 2016: 70 people were killed at a demonstration in Quetta; LeJ were reported to have claimed joint responsibility with IS for the attack.
  • January 2014: Over 20 Shia pilgrims were killed in a bomb attack targeting their bus in Baluchistan. LeJ were reported to have claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • January 2014: A 15-year-old boy, Aitzaz Hasan, was killed when he attempted to stop a suicide bomber from entering his school in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). LeJ were reported to have claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • June 2013: 14 female students in Quetta were killed and 22 injured when a bomb was detonated on a bus. Later that day, gunmen attacked the hospital treating survivors, killing a further 11 people.  An LeJ spokesman confirmed it conducted the attacks.
  • February 2013: Approximately 1000 kilograms of explosives were planted inside a water tanker which was detonated at a market frequented by Shia Muslims in Baluchistan. The attack killed over 80 people and injured close to 200. LeJ were reported to have claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • January 2013: Suicide bombers detonated at a snooker hall in Quetta killing over 100 people and injuring close to 200. Globally, this was the third worst terrorist incident of 2013 in terms of casualty numbers. Victims were predominantly Shia Muslim.  An LeJ spokesman confirmed it conducted the attack.
  • January 2013: A bomb exploded under a Security Force vehicle in Quetta, killing 12 people. LeJ were reported to have claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • July 2012: The Assistant Director of Local Government in the Pishin district of Baluchistan province was killed along with his assistant and driver when LeJ militants opened fire on their vehicle.

April 2012: In five separate attacks, 23 ethnic Hazara Shia Muslim civilians were shot dead by LeJ militants in Quetta.

Details of the organisation

Leadership

LeJ was founded in 1996 by Riaz Basra, Malik Ishaq and Akram Lahori—former members of Sunni Islamist group Sipah-e-Sahaba which they claimed was deviating from the principles set out by its founder Maulana Jhangvi, who was killed by Shite militants in 1990. Pakistani authorities killed Basra in 2002 and Ishaq and Lahori in 2015. Basra was succeeded as LeJ leader by Asif Chotu, who was killed by Pakistani authorities in January 2017. The current leader is Yousaf Mansoor Khurasani.

Membership

LeJ membership is estimated to be in the low hundreds and members typically operate in small cells—usually ranging from five to eight personnel. LeJ activities have come under increased scrutiny by Pakistani authorities, resulting in the arrest of key leaders and hundreds of activists. However, the group is resilient and remains a significant threat to Shia and other minorities in Pakistan.

Recruitment and funding

Most of LeJ's funding is derived from wealthy donors in Pakistan and across the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. Additional funding is attained through criminal activities, such as protection rackets and extortion.

Links to other terrorist organisations

LeJ has links to other terrorist groups and networks. LeJ militants are alleged to be involved in operations conducted by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and proscribed terrorist group IS. Although LeJ follows the Deobandi school of thought, rather than the Salafist ideology of IS, they are both strongly anti-Shia and anti-Sufi. However, LeJ's alliance with IS is informal—it has not pledged allegiance to IS. LeJ also has a long-standing relationship with the Afghan Taliban and is known for its close ties with al-Qa‘ida. Further, LeJ 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 in Pakistan.

Links to Australia

There are no known direct links between LeJ and Australia.

Threats to Australian interests

No Australian citizens have been killed or injured in LeJ attacks, nor has LeJ specifically mentioned Australia or Australian interests as a target. However, LeJ's ideology is anti-Western and it would consider Westerners—including Australians—to be legitimate targets for attack. Further, given the sometimes indiscriminate nature of LeJ attacks and its disregard for loss of life, Australians could be caught up in attacks directed at others in Pakistan.

Listed by the United Nations or like-minded countries

LeJ is proscribed by the UN and other countries; it 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 and Canada.

Engagement in peace or mediation processes

LeJ is not involved in any peace or mediation processes.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses that LeJ continues to be directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of terrorist acts.

In the course of pursuing its objectives, LeJ is known to have committed or threatened actions that:

  1. cause, or could cause, death, serious harm to persons, serious damage to property, endanger life (other than the life of the person taking the action), or create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public;
  2. are intended to have those effects;
  3. are done with the intention of advancing LeJ's political, religious or ideological causes;
  4. are done with the intention of intimidating the government of one or more foreign countries; and are done with the intention of intimidating the public or sections of the public.