Terrorism Profiles

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ)

Alternative Names:

Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Jhangvie, Laskar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkare Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Jhangwi, Lashkar-i-Jhangwi, Jhangvi Army, Lashkar-e Jhangvi, Lashkar Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Jhanvi (LeJ), Lashkar-i-Jangvi, Lashkar e Jhangvi, Lashkar Jangvi, Laskar e Jahangvi.

Location:

Pakistan

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) is primarily active in Punjab province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Karachi and Baluchistan. It also trains fighters in Afghanistan.

Leadership:

Rizwan Ahmad was a leader of LeJ who played a large role in planning suicide attacks in the group. He was arrested in 2007.

Qari Zafar reportedly led LeJ during the early 2000s. He was killed by an American drone strike in February 2010.

Qari Abdul Hai was a leader of LeJ’s advisory council. He split from the group due to strategic differences with Basra.

Riaz Basra was a co-founder of LeJ and one of the senior leaders of the group. He led the organization until his death in 2002, allegedly in a firefight involving Pakistani authorities.

Akram Lahori was a co-founder of LeJ who assumed leadership of the group after Basra was killed in 2002. Lahori was arrested a month after Basra’s death and hanged in January 2015 by Pakistan.

Malik Ishaq was a co-founder of LeJ who is believed to have been in operational command of the group after being released from prison in 2011, only to be arrested again in 2013. He was killed in a July 2015 gunfight after gunmen allegedly tried to free him from prison.

Membership:

The US State Department estimated in 2013 that the groups membership was in the low hundreds.

Funding Sources:

LeJ acquires most of its funding from wealthy donors in Pakistan. It also receives donations from sources in Saudi Arabia and the broader Middle East. The group has been known to carry out criminal activities to fund operations.

Origins:

The group began in 1996, when founders Basra, Isaq and Lahori left another Sunni group, Sipah-e-Sahaba. The group promoted its sectarian anti-Shiite agenda through violent means including suicide bombings, assassination attempts, armed assaults, and kidnappings. The group was responsible for a significant amount of sectarian violence.

After the military coup in 1999, sectarian violence in the country briefly declined. Qari Abdul Hai argued against restarting anti-Shiite attacks, because he believed they would be harmful to national solidarity. He believed continued violence would result in a government crackdown that could end LeJ.

Basra disagreed and sought to resume the anti-Shiite attacks and in 2001, as a result of growing tension between leaders, LeJ reportedly split into a faction led by Basra with a Punjab militant majority, and another led by Abdul Hai, based in Karachi. LeJ remained under the leadership of Basra.

The Pakistani government banned LeJ in 2001. After the ban, some LeJ members fled to Afghanistan for Taliban protection and used the region as a base to train and plan attacks in Pakistan. The group began to target Western interests in Pakistan in addition to its primary focus on Shiites. LeJ was linked to the 2002 abduction and murder of U.S. reporter Daniel Pearl. In 2003, it carried out two failed assassination attempts on Pakistani President Musharaff and again four years later on Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

2012 saw the beginning of a surge of anti-Shiite attacks in Pakistan, which was largely fueled by LeJ. Pakistan now faces a renewed sectarian conflict. LeJ has been responsible for several high profile attacks since the renewed violence.

Major Attacks:

February 20, 1997: A bomb is set off in the Iranian Centre in Multan, killing an Iranian diplomat and two dozen others. (25 killed, unknown wounded)

November 1, 1998: Claimed responsibility for a shooting attack at Momunpura Graveyard in Lahore, Pakistan. (7 killed, unknown wounded)

May 9, 2002: LeJ operatives exploded a car bomb outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi, targeting a shuttle bus of French civilians. (14 killed, 20 wounded)

July 4, 2003: Three LeJ gunmen attacked a Shiite mosque in Quetta, Pakistan before one detonated a suicide bomb. (47+ killed, 65 wounded)

May 7, 2004: A suicide bomber killed eighteen people outside a Shiite mosque in Karachi. LeJ was suspected, but did not claim responsibility for the attack. (18+ killed, 100+ wounded)

September 18, 2009: LeJ was responsible for detonating a bomb in Uztarzai, Pakistan. (25 killed, 36 wounded).

January 9, 2010: Three back-to-back suicide bombing attacks targeted Shiite locations on the anniversary of Hazrat Ali’s death. (40 killed, 200+ wounded)

January 10, 2010: Detonated an explosive device in the Tablighi Jamaat Center in the city of Mingora in Swat, Pakistan. (31+ killed, 70+ wounded)

March 12, 2010: Two IEDs targeted an army patrol in the middle of a market in Lahore, Pakistan. (45 killed, 100+ wounded)

June 18, 2010: An LeJ suicide bomber detonated a car bomb near a bus carrying Shiite students. (5 killed, 40 wounded)

September 20, 2010: A LeJ suicide bomber targeted a Shiite Muslim rally in Baluchistan, Pakistan. (66 killed, 150 wounded)

March 9, 2011: Gunmen attacked a passenger bus carrying Shiite Muslims headed to Iran. (26 killed, 30 wounded)

May 19, 2012: Gunmen shot and killed the chief warden of the Quetta district. (2 killed)

July 4, 2012: Ambushed a vehicle carrying government officials. (3 killed, unknown wounded)

January 10, 2013: Suicide bomber detonated inside a snooker hall in Baluchistan, Pakistan, and a second bomb targeted first responders. (105+ killed, 169+ wounded)

May 12, 2013: Responsible for an explosive water tanker detonated in Baluchistan, Pakistan. The attack was meant to kill members of Pakistan’s Hazara minority. (11 killed, 76 wounded)

June 15, 2013: A female suicide bomber attacked a bus full of female university students in Quetta, killing fourteen. Four gunmen then attacked the hospital where the wounded were being treated, killing at least six before they were killed by security forces. (20+ killed, unknown wounded)

October 23, 2014: Gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying a Shiite minority group. At least eight were killed and LeJ was suspected of the attack, although they did not claim it. (8+ killed, unknown wounded)

Ideological Roots:

Similar to other terror groups in the region, LeJ subscribes to a Deobandi Sunni extremist ideology. Both the Taliban and LeJ subscribe to the same orthodox puritanical Deobandi tradition. They take influence from Wahhabism and seek to establish a Sunni Islamic state in Pakistan.

The group is adamantly anto-Shiite, declaring Shiites as infidels and directing that majority of their attacks against them. In addition, LeJ targets Jewish, Christian and Hindu minority groups. In the 2000s, the group began to target Western influences in the region as well.

Objectives:

LeJ aims to establish an Islamist Sunni state, based on sharia law, in Pakistan.

Tactics:

LeJ primarily targets Shiites, and its large-scale attacks often target schools, security buildings, and other government property.

Because Iran is a Shiite state, LeJ has also carried out attacks against Iranian nationals and Iranian interests in Pakistan, but has not pursued attacks outside of Pakistan. The group has also attacked other minorities, including Christians. It has targetted Western interests and influences after the invasion of Afghanistan in the early 2000s.

Typically, LeJ uses firearms and explosives in their attacks. This ranges from small scale guns to large scale coordinated bomb attacks.

 Updated on January 14, 2016. 

References


  1. “Currently Listed Entities.” Public Safety Canada. Last modified November, 2014. Accessed January 14, 2016. http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx#2036
  2. “Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.” Mapping Militant Orgnizations. Stanford University. Last Modified July 7, 2015. Accessed January 14, 2016. https://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/215
  3. Farooqi, Asif. “Profile: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.” BBC Urdu, Islamabad. Last Modified January 11, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2016. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-20982987
  4. “Attack Type—Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.” Global Terrorism Database. Accessed January 14, 2016. http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?charttype=pie&chart=weapon&search=Jhangvi
  5. “Lashkar-e-Jhanvi (LJ).” National Counterterrorism Center. Last Modified September, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2016. http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/lj.html
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