Al Qaeda, founded by Osama bin Laden (above), is one of the banned militant organisations. File photo

A list of extremist and militant groups and affiliated welfare organisations that have been banned by the government for their involvement in terrorist activities.

Al Qaeda Founded in 1988 by Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda is a fundamentalist Sunni movement with an international network. Their characteristic techniques include suicide attacks and simultaneous bombings. Members of this militant group have attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, the most notable being the September 11 attacks on World Trade Center in New York, USA, in 2001. This attack led to the launch of US War on Terrorism. As of 2009, the group is believed to have between 200 and 300 members who have undergone training in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and Sudan. The objective of the organisation includes the end of foreign influence in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate. The UN Security Council, NATO, EU and countries including Australia, India, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Turkey and Switzerland have labeled Al Qaeda as a terrorist organization. 

Sipah-e-Muhammad Sipah-e-Muhammad (Army of Muhammad) is a Shia militant organisation involved in sectarian terrorist activities in Pakistan, primarily in the Punjab province. It was founded by Mureed Abbas Yazdani in 1993 to train its young cadre to physically counter the Sunni militancy group Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. They aim to protect the Shia community from Sunni fundamentalist and terrorist outfits. In December 1990, the organisation's connection with the Shia regime in Iran led to the assassination of Iran's Counsel General, Sadeq Ganji, in Lahore by suspected Sunni terrorists. Currently Sipah-e-Muhammad is being led by Ghulam Raza Naqvi, who is in prison facing charges of his alleged involvement in 30 murder cases and dacoity. The group has an estimated cadre of 30,000.

Tehrik Nifaz-i-Fiqah Jafaria Also known as Tehrik-e-Islami, Tehrik-Nifaz-i-Fiqah Jafaria is a Shia political party formed in 1979 following the Islamic revolution in Shia Iran. It aims to introduce Fiqa-i-Jaffriah (the Shia legal system) for Pakistani Shias to prevent imposition of the Sunni school of thought. TNFJ later split into two groups with the second group (Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan) headed by Allama Arif Hussaini, who was assassinated in 1988 during Gen Zia ul-Haqs regime. TJP was banned two times by President Pervez Musharrafs government and its leaders were arrested. However, they continue to operate under new names.

Sipah-i-Sahaba It is a Sunni sectarian group responsible for carrying out terrorist activities against Shias in Pakistan. SSP also operates as a political party, and its leaders have been elected into the National Assembly. Its one of the most powerful sectarian militant organisations, and was responsible for the attacks on Shia worshippers in Karachi in May 2004, which killed at least 50 people. The organisation was banned by President Pervez Musharraf in January 2002. Since then, the SSP had changed its name to Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan, but was banned again in September 2003.

Jamatud Dawa The jihadi leader known as the architect of suicide attacks in Kashmir, Hafiz Saeed, is the founder of Jamatud Dawa and leads the armed brigade, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. It is known to be one of the most organised and well equipped militant groups operating in far-flung areas of Muzaffarabad and Bagh. In November 2008, JuD was accused by India and US for training the 10 gunmen involved in the Mumbai attacks. Subsequently, the Pakistan army launched an operation against LeT and raided their center in Muzaffarabad, arresting more than 20 members. The center was later sealed off, according to the government.

Al Akhtar Trust The Karachi-based Al-Akhtar Trust was formed in November 2000 to provide financial assistance for Islamist extremists, including the Taliban and to feed, clothe and educate the children of religious 'martyrs'. The group is reportedly linked to Al Qaeda and is accused by the US of being a 'terrorist financer' for raising money for attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for maintaining links with an individual involved in the abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. It is also reportedly linked to the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir.
The trust also runs medical centers in Karachi and Spin Boldak, and has offices in Bhawalnagar, Gilgit, Mirpurkhas and Islamabad among other cities.

Al Rasheed Trust It is one of the 27 groups listed by the US for involvement in financing and supporting a network of international terrorist groups. It was founded by Mufti Mohammed Rashid in February 1996 in Karachi and has 21 branches across Pakistan. Described as a 'welfare organisation', one of its original charters is to carry out welfare projects within Pakistan with the help of public donations. It later expanded its mandate to carry out 'relief activities' for Muslims in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Once the outfit was banned, the State Bank of Pakistan froze the accounts of Al-Rashid Trust.

Jaish-e-Mohammad Jaish-e-Mohammad is a prominent jihadi organisation formed in 2000 after supporters of a jihadi leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, split from Harkut-ul-Mujahideen. The groups primary motive is to separate Kashmir from India and has carried out a series of attacks in the Indian-administered Kashmir. It is regarded as the principal terrorist organization in Jammu and Kashmir. In January 2002, Jaish-e-Mohammad was banned, however it continued to operate under an alternative name 'Jamaat-ul-Furqaan'.

Lashkar-i-Jhangvi An offshoot of Sipah-i- Sahaba, the group focuses on anti-Shia attacks and was banned by President Musharraf in August 2001 that led many to take refuge with the Taliban in Afghanistan. After the collapse of the Taliban, LJ members became active in aiding other terrorist activities in Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. The group attempted to assassinate former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shabaz Sharif and was also accused of being involved in two suicide bombings in Karachi in 2002. It was also accused for carrying out attacks on Christians, including a grenade assault on the Protestant International Church in Islamabad in March 2002 that killed two US citizens. The government also believes LJ was responsible for the bombing in July 2003 of a Shia mosque in Quetta. Members of this group were also linked to Benazir Bhutto's assassination on December 27, 2007, revealed Pakistani intelligence sources.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan A Taliban militant group primarily in conflict with the central government, the TTP offers resistance against the Pakistani army, enforcement of the Shariah law and unification against Nato forces in Afghanistan. Many Pakistani Taliban are veterans of the Soviet-Afghanistan war in the 1980s. In 2004, the TTP effectively established their authority in FATA, killing 200 rival tribal elders. In December 2007, the group re-emerged under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud.

Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi TNSMs objective is to enforce Shariah law in the country. The rebel group, founded by Sufi Muhammad in 1992, took over most parts of Swat and Malakand in 2007. It is also active near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area, including Dargai and Chenagai and supports the Taliban forces, his son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah, took over as TNSM's leadership. After the 2007 siege of Lal Masjid, Fazlullah formed an alliance with Baitullah Mehsuds Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Lashkar-e-Taiba This is one of the largest and most active militant organizations in South Asia, founded by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Zafar Iqbal in Afghanistan and  currently based near Lahore. LeT also operates several training camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Some breakaway LeT members have also been accused of carrying out attacks in Pakistan, particularly in Karachi, to oppose the policies of former President Pervez Musharraf. LeT is banned and labeled as a terrorist organization by Pakistan, India, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia and Australia. The US intelligence also accuses Pakistans main intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of helping and protecting LeT.

Lashkar-e-Islam A militant organisation active in and around Khyber Agency and Bajaur Agency, FATA. The organisation was founded in 2004 by Mufti Munir Shakir and is presently being led by Mangal Bagh, who claims to have over 180,000 volunteers in Khyber Agency. Later in April 2008, the Lashkar-e-Islam group in Bajaur Agency changed its name to Jaish-e-Islami under the leadership of Wali Rehman. This group was earlier linked to Tehrik-i-Taliban of Pakistan in Bajaur Agency.

Balochistan Liberation Army The BLA is a Baloch nationalist militant organisation. Its goals include the establishment of an independent state of Balochistan, free of Pakistani and Iranian rule. The organisation has claimed credit for a series of bomb attacks in markets and railways lines in Balochistan in 2007. (Late) Balach Marri and Brahamdagh Khan Bugti are two of the prominent leaders of BLA. In 2006, it was declared as a terrorist organisation by the Pakistani and British governments.

Jamiat-ul-Ansar A Sunni extremist organisation, also known as Harakut-ul-Mujahideen, operated in Indian-administered Kashmir. It was founded in 1985 with support from the Pakistani government to fight the Soviet-Afghan war. The JuA later conducted numerous attacks against Indian troops, civilians and tourists under an alternateive name Al-Faran. It is politically associated with the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam, Fazal-ur-Rehman faction (JUI-F) and aims to unite Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan.

Hizbut Tahrir It is an international Sunni political party founded in 1952 in Jerusalem, whose goal is to combine all Muslim countries in a unitary Islamic state or caliphate, ruled by Islamic law and with a caliph head of state elected by Muslims. It boasts about one million members in more than 40 countries and is particularly active in the West. The Sunday Times of UK reported on July 05, 2009 that followers of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir are aiming to overthrow Pakistans government through a bloodless military coup and create a caliphate in Islamabad. This was later denied by Hizbut Tahrir's spokesman who said that they are not plotting against Pakistan but are 'working to establish a government to save Pakistan from the terror and chaos that the US and the West have brought to Pakistan.'

Khuddam-i-Islam This group was founded by the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad group, Maulana Masood Azhar, as a new outfit to fight in Jammu and Kashmir. The organisation was formed after Azhars release in June 2001 from an Indian jail where he was detained for hijacking hostages in 1999. The Intelligence agencies are reported to have said that this group was formed after JeM had split over whether or not to attack US interests in Pakistan.





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