This post is the follow up toTerrorism and Pakistan, part 1.
Picking up from part 1, we are looking for the individuals in the post-Bhutto phone conversation between Baitullah Mehsud and one of his operatives Maulvi Sahib. To understand that this is not the *name* of someone but a title, we need to understand what that title means. The Hindu Business Line featured an article on 14 April 2006 by Rasheeda Baghat talking about the problems in the Bihar province in India, and that comes up with this definition, which is a social one:
In what ways should Muslims change?And then from MSN Encarta dictionary on maulvi:
First, pursue modern education. Be progressive and retrieve the masses from the clutches of the mullahs and maulvis... because these people, in the name of religion want to keep people illiterate to retain their hold on the masses. They are exploiting the masses. Unless we develop a modern outlook skewed towards scientific education, there is no future for us. And we have to come into the mainstream. This doesn't mean we have to forget our religion or culture.
But then as you said it is the mullahs who encourage and trigger all this?
Yes, but the mullah is only a tendency... an attitude of mind. A friend of mine in Delhi gave a good definition of a maulvi... jo apni duniya aur aapki akhiriyat ke liye fikarmand ho, wohi maulvi hei. (A maulvi is one who is worried about his present existence, and yours after death.)
Unfortunately, we are living in times when anybody can grow a beard, wear a pagdi and become a mufti! But the media is also exploiting these weaknesses and presenting the Muslim community in a very bad light... terrorism, triple talaq and polygamy. But do you know that the 1961 Census — after which figures on polygamy were not published — stated that polygamy among Muslims is 4.7 per 1000, among Hindus it is 4.8 per 1,000, Buddhists over 14, Jains over 6, and Adivasis over 16? Even then Muslims are whipped all the time on the polygamy issue.
Islamic scholar: a respected Muslim teacher or highly educated man, especially somebody with special knowledge of Islamic law.We are familiar with the Mullah, who is a public figure and a cleric, and the Maulvi is a Mullah with education in Islamic law, often a private figure. The honorific title can also gain much wider acceptance by a Mullah who becomes closely involved with large numbers of people who become followers.
Then to MSN Encarta on sahib:
South Asia Indian form of address for men: a respectful form of address for men, formerly widely used to address white men during the colonial period. The term is also used as a title, placed after the man's name.Thus Maulvi Sahib is a title that is descriptive of a Cleric and one that is respected by the speaker. So when trying to figure out who this is in respect to Baitullah Mehsud, we will keep an eye out for a Cleric, particularly one involved in Sharia law.
The actual names given by Maulvi Sahib are much less likely to show up, as they are or were most certainly operatives, and if they were directly involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, then those should become apparent. Thus the names, just so we can keep an eye out for them:
2) Bilal from Badar
Like many terrorist organizations and organized crime syndicates, individuals also have aliases, so that the listed names may be operational or other names given to them. 'Bilal from Badar', is of interest as there is the al-Badar (al-Badr) terrorist organization (Source: Terror Knowledge Base), which started off from Hizb-e-Islami which is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's organization which is linked to the Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI), and is normally involved with activities in Jammu and Kashmir. When al-Badr broke off from Hizb-e-Islami, the ISI continued to fund it, so Bhutto's warning given before her death implicating the head of the ISI, Ejaz Shah, is well taken.
From this we also have a few organizations that would be implicated in the plot, as well as higher level individuals in each, as the indication of an al-Badr operative points at high level involvement by the ISI. From that the beginning list of organizations and individuals is taking shape:
1) Baitullah Mehsud - Sipah-e-Sahaba/Pakistan (SSP) (Source: TKB and SATP) [now Millat-e-Islamia/Pakistan via the SIPS name table] and its main factional group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Source: SATP). Baitullah Mehsud does not *lead* either of these organizations, instead being a leader of a Lashkar (from TKB: Lashkar: Literally “battalion” in Urdu, the term is often part of the name of many South Asian terrorist groups) of 30,000 to 35,000 Mehsud tribesmen and other terrorist followers. Thus he is a military leader of import, with a sizeable following of Pashtuns. He is also cited as being commander of the Tehrik-e-Taliban (Source: SATP, SAIR Report 31 DEC 2007) or Taliban Movement Pakistan (Source: e-Ariana).
2) Gulbuddin Hekmatyar - via implication - "Gulbuddin Hikmatyar is the founder of the Hizb-I Islami Party and the splinter group Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin (HIG)" (Source: TKB). The actual relationship is that the Hizb-i-Islami Party is the political party of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, which serves as a 'front' and representational organization for this terrorist organization. As noted he was originally backed by the ISI starting with Bhutto's father in 1979 [mid-to-late 1970's before the Zia coup]. The al-Badr organization also operated under him during the Afghan war against the USSR (Source: SATP), even though al-Badr was a pre-existing organization. There are also indications that al-Badr works in association with al Qaeda and Taliban.
Now, looking at the e-Ariana source, above, we can see the use of Maulvi in association with Baitullah Mehsud's organization, the report is dated 29 DEC 2007, after the assassination:
'The government is trying to defame the tribesmen,' Maulvi Omar, a spokesman for the militants, told the BBC's Urdu Service by telephone from an undisclosed location.This does not, in particular, tie Maulvi Omar to the event in question without further sourcing, but shows how a 'Maulvi' is used in colloquial terms.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is an umbrella organization of several Islamic militant groups in the country's ungoverned tribal areas, where thousands of al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters sough refuge after US invaded Afghanistan in 2001. Its leader Mehsud is also believed to have close ties with al-Qaeda.
Further along we see the intensely tribal nature of Pakistan:
But Omar claimed Benazir Bhutto's murder was a political matter.It is interesting that the very same ISI cited by the Maulvi is *also* behind the organizations that Mehsud has been with. Also note that there are variants in spelling of names as seen by this Khabrein.info article of 29 DEC 2007 on the exact same press release:
'There is a very strong possibility that the (country's) intelligence agencies were behind the attack,' he said, adding that the murder seemed to be the continuation of the same political feud between the Bhutto family and the military through which her father and two brothers were killed.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir's father, was ousted as prime minister in 1977 by military dictator Zia ul Haq and later hanged. His sons Shahnawaz Bhutto and Murtza Bhutto both also died under mysterious circumstances in the following years. Bhutto supporters blamed the country's intelligence agencies for their deaths.
Islamabad, Dec 29: Baitullah Mehsud, the Al Qaeda-linked Pakistani militant who has been named as a key suspect in the killing of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has denied any involvement in the assassination, his spokespersons said Saturday.Which also gives us the source of the previously released transcript.
"I strongly deny it. Tribal people have their own customs. We don't strike women," BBC quoted Mehsud's spokesperson Maulvi Umer as saying from unknown location. Umer is the spokesperson of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistan chapter of the Taliban which was formed recently.
"This is absolutely wrong to say that Taliban or any member of the Taliban were involved in murder of Benazir Bhutto," Umer said.
Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema had on Friday said that authorities had intercepted a conversation between Mehsud and an unknown cleric exchanging greetings on the assassination.
Tehrik-e-Taliban did not spring out of thin air, however, and came from an existing organization Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat- e-Mohammadi (TNSM, Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws) (Source: Jamestown Foundation article 30 NOV 2006) that was started by Sufi Mohammad (now in prison) and currently run by his son-in-law Maulana Fazalullah, who has his own radio station for propaganda. It is unlikely that either of these are 'Maulvi', for all the fact they run an organization trying to get Sharia law put in place. It is very interesting the parsing of the denial as the TTP is a recently formed up organization out of both the Taliban and TNSM, neither of which has shown any problem with killing women.
Some of the background from TNSM comes from SATP:
FormationOur friends the Saudis at work again. So, let me get this straight... according to Maulvi Omar/Umer the TTP is part of an organization that is anti-democratic, deems those in support of democracy as 'worthy of death', and has alliances with similar organizations that have had no compunction in executing and killing women, like the Taliban and al Qaeda. A quick check at the listing of JeV attacks (via TKB), that Mehsud is *also* a member of, reveals a number of highly indiscriminant attacks against those going to religious shrines, in funerals and just rounding folks up to kill them. Of course a WaPo story of a 2004 attack (via NucNews) has this view of who is and is not permissible to kill from one of the SSP's (Source: TKB) founders:
The Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) was founded in 1992 with the objective of a militant enforcement of Sharia (Islamic law).
Ideology and Objectives
The TNSM is a militant Wahabi outfit whose primary objective is the imposition of Sharia in Pakistan.
Ideologically, it is dedicated to transform Pakistan into a Taliban style state. In an August 1998-speech in Peshawar, Maulana Sufi Mohammed, its leader who is currently imprisoned in Pakistan, reportedly declared that those opposing the imposition of Sharia in Pakistan were wajib-ul-qatl (worthy of death).
The outfit while rejecting democracy has termed it as ‘un-Islamic’. In an interview, Maulana Sufi Mohammed said, "We want enforcement of the Islamic judicial system in totality: judicial, political, economic, jihad, fi sabilillah, education and health. In my opinion the life of the faithful will automatically be moulded according to the Islamic system when the judicial system is enforced."
TNSM rejects all political and religio-political parties as, according to it, they follow the western style of democracy.
TNSM openly condones the use of force in what they see as a Jihad.
In October 2002, Azam Tariq, the leader of a banned Sunni extremist group, was even allowed to run for parliament, "despite more than 20 charges of terrorism registered against him in various courts," the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based research organization that monitors global conflicts, noted in a report in January. Tariq, who won a seat from Punjab province, had previously said it was permissible to kill Shiites because they were not true Muslims. Tariq was assassinated in October 2003 in an apparent retaliatory killing by Shiite militants.Why does this idea of 'not killing women' sound like it is not holding much water?
Back to chasing down Maulvi Omar! This from MSN News of India, 23 OCT 2007:
According to a report in the Pushto daily Wahdat, 25 commanders from six groups gathered Monday morning in the tribal area and decided to form the Tehrik-e-Taliban, or Taliban movement, to fight against the presence of US forces in Afghanistan and areas bordering Pakistan.One 'Omar Khalid' being appointed the head of the Tehrik-e-Taliban, which is, perhaps, a good an indication as any as to who Maulvi Omar is.
Spokesperson for the new group, Abu Noman, said a 16-member council had been formed to guide future activities. Omar Khalid was appointed chief of the group while Maulana Gull Muhammad was deputy chief, he said.
An Omar Khalid also shows up before the stand-up of the TTP in the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) episode in Pakistan on 30 JUL 2007, as seen at the BBC:
A local journalist, Mukaram Khan Atif, who visited the shrine on Sunday, told the BBC's Urdu service that heavily armed militants wearing masks had taken up positions in the surrounding areas and were frisking everyone who entered the mosque or the shrine.This excerpt looks at the term 'sahib' as used locally, normally after the first name of an individual. Omar Khalid would then lead individuals to take over another shrine to turn it into another 'Red Mosque' on 30 JUL 2007, UPI via Moldova.org:
He said the militants' leader, who introduced himself as Omar Khalid, told him that a seminary for boys, named after Haji Sahib Turangzai, and another for girls, named Jamia Hafsa Umme Hassan, would soon be built on the premises.
The assistant political agent of Mohmand Agency, Syed Ahmad Jan, told the BBC Urdu service on Monday that Haji Sahib Turangzai's heirs had asked local elders to try to persuade the militants to leave the shrine.
Islamic militants, in an incident similar to one that caused a conflict at the Red Mosque in Islamabad, have taken over a mosque in Pakistan's tribal area.Bill Roggio at Long War Journal would look at the connection between this Omar Khalid and the standing up of what would become the TTP on 28 AUG 2007:
The BBC reported Monday about 70 pro-Taliban militants occupied the Haji Sahib Turangzai shrine in Pakistan's Northwest Province, near the border with Afghanistan, after driving out the shrine officials.
The site was renamed the Red Mosque after the complex in Islamabad that the Pakistani army took earlier this month from Islamic militants after a major assault in which dozens died.
The militants also said they were establishing a seminary similar to the one in the Islamabad mosque.
A local journalist told the BBC that heavily armed militants, wearing masks, searched all those entering the mosque in the Northwest Province.
The journalist said Omar Khalid, the leader of the militants, told him his men vowed to set up similar mosques and seminaries across the country.
Haji Sahib Turangzai, after whom the mosque was named, was a reformist in the 19th century.
The Mohmand Taliban at the New Red Mosque is led by Omar Khalid, who claims to have 3,000 armed and trained fighters under his command. After seizing the mosque, he denied links with the Taliban and al Qaeda even as he pledged allegiance Red Mosque leader Ghazi Abdur Rashid. "If [the Taliban] come to us, we will welcome them," said Khalid. "We will continue Ghazi Abdur Rashid’s mission even if it means sacrificing our lives." Khalid also threatened to "use suicide bombers in self defence" if the new Red Mosque was raided. He seeks to “Islamize” the local tribes and plans establishing a "vice and virtue force."At this point with the connection made with the TTP just a couple of months later and this article linking Omar Khalid to the Red Mosque, we can say that this is, with a high degree of certainty, the same individual. Apparently the Taliban didn't need to 'come to him' as he was already working with them.
Here we have a leader that: supports the take-over of religious Mosques and shrines, supports radical madrassas, creates new madrassas when he takes a place over, is associated with the TTB and two radical clerics, and tends to have a loose association with the truth behind his activities. With that I do believe it is fair to peg this is 'Maulvi Omar' as at least a hard supporter of Islamic law, with a high degree of possibility that it comes from scholarship. At least he *supports* such scholarship, such as it is.
On 15 DEC 2007 from the Dawn newspaper of Pakistan site we see Mehsud's involvement with the TTP:
TANK/WANA, Dec 14: Local Taliban from tribal areas and some districts of the NWFP on Friday decided to set up a centralised organisation for a joint war against US and Nato forces in Afghanistan and appointed Baitullah Mehsud as their Central Amir, a spokesman for the militant commander told Dawn.Thus the TTP organization that has Baittulah Mehsud as one of its supporting members also has a Maulvi Omar in it, and an Omar Khalid that would be elected to head up the group a few days later. The support of Lal Masjid is not only verbal as given by this report from Global News Blog on 06 SEP 2007:
The militants have named their movement as Tehrik Taliban-i-Pakistan and said the aim of the movement was to enforce Sharia in their respective areas.
The decision was taken at a meeting of 40 Taliban leaders, held in an undisclosed place in South Waziristan Agency.
“The sole objective of the Shura meeting was to unite the Taliban against Nato forces in Afghanistan and to wage a ‘defensive jihad’ against Pakistani forces here,” Baitullah’s spokesman Maulvi Omar said.He claimed that Pakistani forces were bombing seminaries and killing people and the Taliban wanted to avenge the forces’ action.
They demanded release of Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz and other Taliban jailed across the country.In another development, Baitullah Mehsud on Friday withdrew his threat to subvert the polls and allowed candidates to run their election campaigns in the South Waziristan.
2. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan ( IMU) led by Yuri Yuldeshev now co-ordinates the training of volunteers from different jihadi terrorist organisations of Pakistan as well as from other countries of the world. Till last year, its training infrastructure was located in South Waziristan, but after clashes with some sections of the local tribals, it has shifted its infrastructure to North Waziristan. It enjoys the support of the Mehsud sub-tribe of the Pashtuns led by Baitullah Mehsud and of the former students of the two madrasas run by the Lal Masjid of Islamabad. Reliable police and tribal sources in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan say that many, if not most, of the acts of suicide terrorism and attacks on the Pakistani Armed Forces since the Pakistan Army’s commando action in the Lal Masjid between July 10 and 13, 2007, including the killing of three Chinese nationals in Peshawar, were carried out by angry tribals motivated and trained by the IMU. The IMU consists of Uzbeks recruited from Uzbekistan as well as Afghanistan and has a small number of Chechens, Uighurs and Tajiks in its ranks. Till now, the IMU’s acts of terrorism have been confined to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. It has not come to notice for any jihadi activities in other countries.Not only are the Mehsud's involved with Lal Masjid, but they have taken up the banner of outlaw by the IJU: Baitullah Mehsud and his followers no longer feel themselves constrained by any Nation and consider all Nations as their enemy with only Islam as an acceptable end-state of mankind. In doing this the IJU, Mehsud, Lal Masjid and any that join them are beyond all law and declare themselves to be the law as they see it.
3. A second Uzbek group operating from North Waziristan, which calls itself the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) or the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG), came into being in Pakistani territory post 9/11 as a result of a split in the IMU following the US military strikes in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It describes Osama bin Laden, Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Neo Taliban, and Maulana Samiul Haq, the Amir of a faction of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam Pakistan, as its mentors. It focusses on training volunteers from the Western countries as well as from Uzbekistan.
9. In an interview on May 31, 2007, Ebu Yahya Muhammed Fatih, who describes himself as the Commander of the Islamic Jihad Union, stated as follows:
* “After the fall of the Afganistan Islamic Administration,we who shared the same opinions came together and decided to organize groups which will conduct jihad operations against the infidel constitution of cruel Karimov in Uzbekistan. The sole aim of all the emigrant-mujahedeen brothers was to find war-like solutions against the infidel constitution of cruel Karimov. For this aim our Union was established in 2002.
* “Our Union’s aim is, under the flag of justice and Islam Dominancy, to save our Müslim brothers who have been suffering from the cruelty of pre-Soviet period and Uzbekistan, and to take them out of the swamp of cruelty an infidelity, as well as to help other Müslim brothers all around the world as per God and his Prophet’s orders.
* “Members of our Union are not members of a specific tribe or a nation. As there is no nationalism and tribalism in Islam, our Union is formed of the believers from all over the world and multi-national emigrants travelling to praise the religion.
“Today we proceed according to our targeted goals with all our means. Muslim youth in the republics of former Soviet Union who found the path of Allah and are ready to fight for their religion have been trained in various fields in the training facilities of the Union. One of the armed forces of the Union is active in Afghanistan. Besides, we have been in contact and also been working on our common targets together with Caucasian mujahedeens. We have also been working together on plans and aims against the infidel regime of Uzbekistan which is one of our major targets.”
In chasing down who 'Maulvi Sahib' is, we find out that not only is he most likely Omar Khalid, associated with Lal Masjid and TTP, along with Baitullah Mehsud, we have also found their membership in the IMU/IJU which no describes a large number of jihadists as purely outlaws by their own declaration of being of no Nation and respecting no Nation until Islam is global. In finding the proximate actors in Benazir Bhutto's death we also see the larger cause behind it, beyond any support from the ISI: Transnational Islamic Terrorism. Even with ISI involvement, this is larger than the ISI, Pakistan, Afghanistan or any single Nation these individuals operate in, which includes: UK, Germany, Georgia, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran, and China, amongst many.
That said there are some indicators and individuals linking Ejaz Shah of the ISI to the previous attack on Benazir Bhutto. This from Thaindia News 14 NOV 2007:
Benazir, herself, had fingered some of those she suspected, as previously reported. At The Insider Brief on 21 OCT 2007 Shaan Akbar gives a reason why Ejaz Shah could be behind the assassination attempt that had happened then:In the letter, according to The News, she named Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Director General, Intelligence Bureau, Ejaz Shah, former director National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Waseem Afzal and former ISI chief Gen. (Rtd) Hameed Gul as conspirators.
Last Thursday, two explosions went off a minute apart shortly after midnight near Karsaz close to the vehicle Bhutto was travelling in.
According to witnesses, the bomber tried to enter the inner security cordon of the PPP workers around Bhutto, but was stopped. He then set off the explosion.
The second blast originated from a golden-coloured Pajero parked on the road, witnesses added.
Earlier, Intelligence reports had warned of threats of suicide attacks against Bhutto by militants linked to al Qaeda, the Taliban and Baitullah Mehsud. (ANI)
A retired army brigadier, Ejaz Shah is head of Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) which falls under the purview of the Interior Ministry. He is also known to be a close friend of Musharraf’s who engineered the electoral rise of the Chaudhry cousins who now head up Pakistan’s king’s party, the PML(Q). By taking a swipe at Shah, Bhutto may be looking to weaken the Chaudhries by taking aim at their chief sponsor.Yes, not only the ISI but *politics* and personal power.
There is a flip side though. Ejaz Shah may have very well felt threatened by the return of Bhutto as it endangered the Chaudhries’ role in power and thereby his influence in government. Recently, one top official told me, “Ejaz Shah is more sincere to the Chaudhries than he is to Musharraf.” For some time now, there have been some very negative undercurrents flowing in the establishment against the unsavory Ejaz Shah.
As part of the round-up at CounterTerrorism Blog on 19 OCT 2007, we see how the party of Hekmaytar reacts to the attempted assassination:
In the October 20 London Times, Bhutto states: "The cowardly people who planned the attacks on me are not Muslims. No Muslim can attack a woman, no Muslim can attack innocent people." AP reports on October 20 that Mahmoud Al Hasan, a leader of Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen, a militant group aligned to Pakistan's Islamic religious Jamaat-e-Islami party, says: "Benazir Bhutto was totally talking like an infidel. What should be the reaction of jihadis? They should definitely kill her. She is an enemy of Islam. She is an enemy of jihadis. She is an enemy of the country." As reported in the last news roundup, Taliban spokesman Haji Umer told BBC Pashto that "[t]he Taliban will definitely target Benazir Bhutto if she supports the United States and the so-called war on terror."One does get the feeling that Benazir had more than a few enemies, but also remember the close links between Hekmaytar and the ISI. Even stranger is the career of Ejaz Shah, as seen at Global News Blog on 19 OCT 2007:
5. Brig. Ejaz Shah has been strongly criticised by Mrs. Benazir and her supporters for the security failure and they have demanded his removal and arrest. When he was in the ISI, he used to be the handling officer of Osama bin Laden and Mulla Omar, the Amir of the Taliban. After Musharraf seized power in October, 1999, he had him posted as the Home Secretary of Punjab. It was to him that Omar Sheikh, who orchestrated the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist, surrendered because Omar Sheikh knew him before and was confident that Ejaz Shah would see that he was not tortured.Yes, a man trusted enough by the kidnappers of Daniel Pearl, of which Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has confessed to executing, felt comfortable enough with Ejaz Shat to give up to him. In the annex to the article, B. Raman gives a deeper review of Ejaz Shah:
6. After the murder of Pearl, there were many allegations regarding Shah’s role. Musharraf tried to protect him by sending him as the Ambassador to Australia or Indonesia. Both the countries reportedly refused to accept him. Musharraf then made him the DG of the IB. As the DG of the IB, he has seen to it that the death sentence against Omar Sheikh for his role in the Pearl case was not executed. The courts have been repeatedly postponing hearings on the appeal filed by Omar Sheikh against the death sentence.
7. Ejaz Shah played an active role in the campaign to discredit Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Caudhury of the Pakistan Supreme Court after he started calling for the files of a large number of missing persons, who were taken into custody by the police and the intelligence agencies. Reliable sources in Pakistan reported that Gen. Pervez Kiani, who was the DG of the ISI at the time of the suspension of the Chief Justice, was against the suspension, but Musharraf suspended him on the advice of Ejaz Shah and Maj-Gen. Nadim Taj, who was at that time the head of the Directorate-General of Military Intelligence. Maj. Gen. Taj has since been promoted as Lt. Gen. and has succeeded Kiyani as the DG of the ISI.
8. While the ISI under Kiyani refused to file any affidavit against the suspended Chief Justice before the court when it was hearing the petition of the Chief Justice against his suspension, the IB and the DGMI filed affidavits giving details of all the information which their organisations had indicating the alleged unsuitability of the Chief Justice to head the Supreme Court.
9. Despite the political embarrassment caused by the case, which ended in a fiasco, Ejaz Shah continues to enjoy the total confidence of Musharraf.
Before joining as home secretary, Punjab, he worked in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and was once Omar Sheikh’s principal handling officer, as well as one of bin Laden’s and Mullah Omar’s. When the Lahore and Karachi police started searching for Omar Sheikh after the kidnapping of Pearl, he surrendered to Ejaz Shah as he was afraid that the Karachi police might torture him.Remember, this would be the man in charge of Benazir Bhutto's safety.
Ejaz Shah immediately informed General Mohammad Aziz Khan, presently chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, who was No 2 in the ISI until October 1998, and the two carefully debriefed Omar Sheikh as to what he should tell the police during his interrogation. He was kept in their informal custody for a week and, thereafter, handed over to the police, who were told to announce that they had arrested him while searching for him, without mentioning that he had voluntarily surrendered to Shah.
Aziz and Shah did not want Omar Sheikh to admit to the Karachi police any role in the explosion outside the Legislative Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir in October, 2001, in the attack on the Indian parliament in December, 2001, and about his having told Lieutenant-General Ehsanul Haq, the present director general of the ISI, who was Corps Commander in Peshawar before October, 2001, about the plans of al-Qaeda to carry out terrorist strikes in the US.
However, Omar Sheikh disregarded their advice and told the Karachi police about these events. The News, a prestigious daily, came to know of some of his confessions to the Karachi police. The editor of the paper rejected a request from the ISI not to publish the story. Musharraf thereupon forced the owner to sack the editor, who went into exile in the US fearing a threat to his life from the ISI.
Thereafter, Musharraf selected Shah for posting as High Commissioner to Australia, which reportedly refused to give its agreement to his appointment. It is now learnt that Musharraf has instructed his Foreign Office that he should be sent as ambassador to Indonesia. It remains to be seen whether Jakarta agrees.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, as seen from his Wikipedia entry, is a terrorist used to hijackings, kidnappings and supporting al Qaeda. In particular he is cited for having sent $100,000 to Muhammed Atta from the UAE. Omar Sheikh is also a member of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) one of the many Kashmir separatist terror groups that resides in Pakistan (Source: SATP). JeM's external contacts are seen from SATP:
The outfit is closely linked, through the Binoria Madrassah in Karachi, with the former Taliban regime of Afghanistan and its protégé, Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda. JeM chief, Masood Azhar was released by Indian authorities in Kandahar and has reportedly met Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan on various occasions.Yes the very same LeJ as Baitullah Meshud.
The JeM is also reported to have links with Sunni terrorist outfits operating in Pakistan such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP)and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).
Finally there is the tribal aspect to Ejaz Shah, this found at cyrilalmeida.com, 20 OCT 2007:
Hamid Mir explains why Benazir blames the director general of the Intelligence Bureau:Yes, tribal, regional, political, and organized crime involvement, too.
Asif Ali Zardari told this scribe that Ejaz Shah had old links with Islamic radicals. He claimed that Shah was the person who managed the surrender of Omer Sheikh in 2002, a suspect in the killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl.
Asif Ali Zardari is sure that people like Ejaz Shah have encouraged Islamic radicals to attack Benazir Bhutto. In fact, Ejaz Shah was the home secretary of the Punjab in 2002. He belongs to Nankana Sahib area of the Punjab. Mother of Omer Sheikh was also from Nankana Sahib. When the security agencies raided the house of Omerís grandparents in Nankana Sahib, Ejaz Shah contacted the uncle of the alleged terrorist who was a sessions judge at that time. The uncle convinced his nephew through Ejaz Shah to surrender and that was how Omer Sheikh was arrested.
Some PPP sources have said that Ejaz Shah was the person who created PML-Q in the Punjab. He was also a key figure in breaking more than 20 members of the National Assembly from the PPP after the 2002 election. That is why the PPP leadership has problems with him. People like Abida Hussain, who left the PML-Q and joined the PPP due to the disliking of Ejaz Shah, are also trying to poison Benazir Bhuttoís mind against Ejaz Shah.
Shah is considered a trusted confidant of General Pervez Musharraf but he is also very close to the Chaudhries of Gujrat.
Mir also speculates about Benazir’s motive in doing so:
One source claimed that it was Ejaz Shah who was the head of anti-narcotics force in 1998, when the-then Nawaz Sharif regime tried to involve Asif Ali Zardari in a narcotics case through him. But he refused and later the Nawaz regime booked Zardari in the same fake case through the Punjab police. It is also viewed by some government circles that the head of a civilian intelligence agency is a soft target for the PPP and the real target is the boss of Ejaz Shah, who is no doubt General Pervez Musharraf.
Finally there is the al Qaeda side, and the best individual there is connected to LeJ: Matiur Rehman. He is the man with the terror database in Pakistan for al Qaeda and the one individual easily able to marshal individuals across multiple terror outfits. With al Qaeda taking credit for the assassination of Bhutto, he is the most obvious choice to help put any disparate group together to do the job. As reported in the SATP entry for LeJ on 01 OCT 2006:
LeJ, the outlawed Sunni group, has reportedly started a recruitment drive and is forming new cells at the district and provincial levels. Matiur Rehman, who is believed to have links with the al Qaeda and is one of the prime suspects in the London airline plot, murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, the multiple assassination plots on President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, and the attack on the US Consulate in Karachi in March 2006 has been tasked with reorganising Lashkar cells. Abdullah Faryad, the LeJ chief at Ditta Khel in the Punjab province, is helping him.Yes, the 'Bojinka II' plot and Daniel Pearl kidnapping are both things that he helped to organize, and those skills are put to use on the local scale in recruitment and creating new cells for LeJ in Pakistan.
This helps to outline the main ways the assassination plot to kill Bhutto could be organized:
1) Independent work of Mehsud/LeJ/TTP/IMU along with possible help from al Qaeda and/or Taliban.
2) Ejaz Shah based plot, most likely using any of the above organizations in (1).
3) al Qaeda plot starting in LeJ, via Rehman, and then utilizing Mehsud and others to do final logistics and operations.
4) Gulbuddin Hekmaytar, going through his associated organizations and/or those in (1).
Final identification of the attacker(s) should help to sort this out, especially if the al-Badr organization is involved. Still, three individuals were mentioned in the intercepted message (of which that could be a plant by Ejaz Shah), so there is a 1 in 3 possibility that a definite 'fingering' of this may be put off. Some positive IDs will help, as will sources for the weapons and explosives used.