Why was JUI-F attacked in Bajaur?

By Editor Jul31,2023

The analysis of the recent bombing in Khaar city, Bajaur tribal district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, targeting a political rally of the JUI-F (Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam- Fazal), which resulted in the death of at least 46 people and left more than 200 injured, is sourced from The Khorasan Diary.

While no militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the attack, ISKP (Islamic State of Khorasan) emerges as the primary suspect due to its history of targeted assassinations of JUI-F leadership, which began in Peshawar in 2016 and later expanded to Bajaur in 2019, intensifying in mid-2022.

The conflict between ISKP and JUI-F is rooted in sectarian rivalry, turf wars, and political expediency, leading to unconventional means of violence. The hatred ISKP holds towards JUI-F is inherent in its ideology of confrontation. Before ISKP even existed, its future leader and prominent TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) commander, Hafiz Saeed Orakzai, was criticized by the TTP’s Central command for allowing the assassination of JUI-F scholars in Orakzai who had spoken out against the outfit.

In 2014, several TTP commanders, including Hafiz Saeed, joined ISKP after a leadership crisis within the TTP. This merging of groups, combined with the virulent takfiri ideology of the Islamic State Central, provided ISKP with ideological justification to ostracize the belief system of JUI-F under the dichotomy of Salafism versus the Deobandi School of thought.

According to ISKP’s worldview, JUI-F’s support for democracy, belief in a republican system, and recognition of national borders contradict the concept of the Caliphate upheld by ISKP. As a result, ISKP issued a decree to kill all JUI-F scholars, as they were considered allies of the Afghan Taliban and representatives of the Islamic Emirate in Pakistan. JUI-F was accused of attempting to implement Taliban policies in Pakistan and supporting their international recognition.

This strategy was further expounded upon by ISKP’s current leader, Shahab al-Muhajir, who stated in his guide to guerrilla warfare that ISKP’s top priority targets should be religious scholars and tribal leaders who undermine the group’s legitimacy in areas where it holds some strength. Khorasan Diary’s extensive study of ISKP’s war tactics reveals that after a series of targeted assassinations, the perpetrators typically carry out a large-scale, devastating suicide operation, often committed by the individuals responsible for the previous killings.

By Editor

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