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 Lashkar-e Jhangvi

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

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

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, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act, or
  2. advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

Details of the organisation

LeJ is a Sunni Islamist terrorist group which follows Deobandi traditions and has a reputation as the most violent Sunni extremist organisation in Pakistan. LeJ is primarily active in Pakistan's Punjab province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan province.

The group was formed in 1996 by Malik Ishaque, Akram Lahori (aka Mohammed Ajmal) and Riaz Basra, who were senior members of the radical sectarian organisation Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP)—now Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). These three individuals formed LeJ as they claimed SSP's leadership had deviated from the ideals of SSP's co-founder, Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi.

LeJ mostly targets Shia, including politicians, professionals, scholars and lobbyists. Although sectarian attacks remain LeJ's primary focus, it has in the past targeted Western interests in Pakistan. In 2002, LeJ operatives participated in the abduction and murder of US Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl. In 2008, LeJ were involved in the suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed over 50 people.

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.

Leadership and membership

In 2014, Malik Ishaq was acknowledged as the leader of LeJ. Of the other LeJ founding members, Riaz Basra was killed in 2002 and Akram Lahori probably remains a senior leader. 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.

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.

Terrorist activity of the organisation

LeJ is directly engaged in the doing of terrorist acts. LeJ mostly conducts suicide bombings but has also conducted non-suicide attacks using assault rifles, rockets, landmines and small arms. In 2013, two of the ten worst terrorist attacks (by number of casualties) were attributed to LeJ.

Significant attacks for which responsibility has been claimed by, or attributed to, LeJ (since LeJ proscription was last updated by Australia in March 2012) include:

  • January 2014: Over 20 Shia pilgrims were killed in a bomb attack targeting their bus. The attack took place in Balochistan and LeJ claimed responsibility.
  • 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 FATA. LeJ claimed responsibility.
  • 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. LeJ is believed responsible.
  • February 2013: Approximately 1000 kilograms of explosives were planted inside a water tanker which was detonated at a market frequented by Shia Muslims in Balochistan. The attack killed over 80 people and injured close to 200. LeJ claimed responsibility.
  • 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 and LeJ claimed responsibility.
  • January 2013: A bomb exploded under a Security Force vehicle in Quetta, killing 12 people. LeJ claimed responsibility.
  • July 2012: The Assistant Director of Local Government in the Pishin district of Balochistan 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.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above information, ASIO assesses LeJ continues to directly or indirectly engage in preparing, planning, assisting, or fostering the doing of acts involving threats to human life and serious damage to property. This assessment is corroborated by information provided by reliable and credible intelligence sources.

In the course of pursuing its objectives LeJ is known to have committed action:

  • that causes, or could cause, serious damage to property, the death of persons or endanger a person's life or create a serious risk to a person's safety;
  • are done with the intention of advancing LeJ's religious and ideological causes;
  • are done with the intention of coercing or influencing by intimidation the government of a foreign country; and
  • are done with the intention of intimidating sections of the public globally.

Other relevant information

Links to other terrorist groups or networks

LeJ has links to other terrorist groups and networks. LeJ militants are alleged to be involved with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) operations. 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.

Threat to Australian interests

LeJ has no known links to Australia.

LeJ does not represent a direct threat to Australian interests. However, 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.

Peace and mediation processes

LeJ is not engaged in any peace/mediation process.

Proscription by the UN and other 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, Canada, New Zealand and Pakistan.