Enemy of the state - Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and militancy in Pakistan
By Amir Rana
Pakistani military operations against Taliban forces in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are unlikely to weaken Pakistan's intricately interwoven militant network. Beyond the country's northwest, a web of militant groups and individuals continue to plan and carry out attacks. The co-operation that has been evident between these groups in recent years has made it increasingly difficult to distinguish between them.
One of these groups is Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ or Army of Jhangvi), perhaps the country's most extreme and feared militant group. Formed in the 1990s as a sectarian organisation targeting Shia Muslims, it has since become a key ally of Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban. While it has been largely subsumed into Pakistan's wider jihadist movement, LeJ operatives continue to pursue the group's original sectarian agenda and have adopted suicide bombing tactics aimed at killing large numbers of Shia Muslims.
LeJ members have traditionally assumed new identities and operated in small cells that disperse after completing their missions, making it difficult for the Pakistani authorities to completely eradicate the group. However, many of its leaders and members have been killed or jailed in recent years and there is little evidence that it remains a coherent organisation with centralised structures.199 of 3576 words
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