BHARAT RAKSHAK MONITOR - Volume 5(6) May-June 2003

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Leaders of Major Islamist Groups in Pakistan

Jyoti Arya


A few weeks ago a discussion on the forum at veered onto the topic of Islamist leadership in Pakistan. The discussion resulted in the creation of a thread dedicated to that topic[i]. Though I did not actually participate in the thread, I was asked by the editorial team of the BR Monitor to collate the information collected in it. So I started with the thread and liberally added information from my personal collection of photos and articles on the Islamists of Pakistan.

The editorial team hoped that this article would serve as an easy reference chart for people seeking to discuss the personalities in the Islamist movements in Pakistan. So in order to reflect that mandate I have organized the data available on these persons into three categories: 

1)     The leaders of the established political formations: These leaders are the public face of Islamist politics in Pakistan. Most of them came to prominence in the early years of General Zia’s reign when they were accorded state support. Today they claim to represent a sizeable portion of the Pakistan’s religiously minded population.

2)     The leaders of the Tanzeems: Islamist organizations (Tanzeems) tend to be somewhat removed from the mainstream polity. Unlike the political parties the Tanzeems are dedicated to achievement of a specific goal. These are a somewhat camera shy lot and their personal histories are equally elusive.

3)     The spiritual leaders: These persons represent the leaders of the major spiritual movements in Pakistani Islam. Their influence is difficult to characterize however given Pakistan’s emphasis on Islamist piety, there is little to undermine their influence.

4)     The Military Islamists: These represent serving and retired military officers who do not seem to shy from associating with Islamist political groups.

I have posted a photograph of the persons and a direct link to the biography wherever possible. When such resources are not available, I have presented a collation of the biographical data from various sources. I must emphasize that this is a rushed effort and errors in the collation are regrettable. This collection is far from complete and I apologize for any errors in accrediting photographs.

Leaders of established political formations

Pakistan has become a breeding ground for an enormous variety of Islamist political interests. The political history here is rich and all sorts of Tehreeks, Jamaats and Tahaffuzs abound. As with any reasonable political struggle each split was paid for in “blood, sweat and tears”[ii].

Given the number of formations with the Islamist label, it is impossible to show all of them. Indeed the author doubts if outside the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Internal Politics Division, anyone would even have a database of that accounted for all of these groups.

It is possible however to see some of the prominent ones, and most of these are all the main political parties that work under the umbrella of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).

Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI)[iii]

The JeI is the oldest and largest political formation in Pakistan. It is also the most evolved and the most popular. It is argued in some sections of the media that the JeI draws on the so-called `lower church’ i.e. Barelvi church of Islam[iv]. The Barelvis constitute the bulk of the population and hence the JeI is very popular. It is likely that such a view is an oversimplification.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed[v]

Qazi Hussain is the Amir (President) of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest Islamist political group in Pakistan.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed holds a Masters in Science (Geography) from Peshawar university. He has served as a graduate level instructor in the subject. However given his inclination towards political activity. He moved into the Jamaat-e-Islami after leaving his career at the university.

He is among the oldest and most respected Islamist political leaders in Pakistan and his formation commands considerable respect among common folk in Pakistan[vi].

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) website.


Professor Khurshid Ahmed

Prof. Khurshid Ahmed[vii]

Khurshid Ahmed is the Naib-Amir (Vice-President) of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

He was born in Delhi and holds He holds Bachelor’s degree in Law and Jurisprudence, Master’s degrees in Economics and Islamic Studies, and also an Honorary Doctorate (Ph.D) in Education.

He has served on several major government and religious committees and is held in high regard for his diverse and deep knowledge of issues[viii].

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) website.


Liaqat Baloch


Liaqat Baloch[ix]

Liaqat Baloch is a Naib-Amir (Vice-President) of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

He was born in Multan and holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication and a Bachelor degree in Law

He has been elected twice to the National Assembly of Pakistan from Lahore and during his stay in the parliament; he headed the committee on Science and Technology and was a member of the committee on Public Accounts and Business Communities[x].

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) website.


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Prof. Ghafoor Ahmed[xi]

Ghafoor Ahmed is a Naib-Amir (Vice-President) of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

He was born in Bareilly in U.P. and holds Masters degree in Commerce from the University of Lucknow in 1948. Later, he also completed the course of Industrial Accounts and became fellow of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan.

He has been elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan from Karachi and served as a Federal Minister for industries [xii].

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) website.


Chaudhry Mohammad Aslam Salimi

Mohammad Aslam Saleemi[xiii]

M. A. Saleemi is a Naib Amir (Vice President) of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

M. A. Saleemi hails from Kasur in Punjab and holds a Bachelor degree in law and a Masters degree in Islamic Studies. He also has a diploma education in Taxation and Labour Laws (1972) and has done elementary study in Arabic and special course of Tafseer (exegesis). 

His involvement with the Jamaat dates back to his time as a lawyer and he has held several organizational posts within the Jamaat.[xiv].

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) website.


Maulana Jan Mohammad Abbasi

Jan Mohammed Abbasi[xv]

Jan Mohammed Abbasi is a Naib Amir (Vice President) of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

J. M. Abbasi is a native of Larkana in Sindh, and received a traditional education from his father. He subsequently went on to study Arabic Philosophy and Logic.

Abbasi worked his way up through the Jamaat ranks by taking on political giants in Sindh. He has also built up a fairly large institutional base for the Jamaat in the Sindh[xvi].

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) website.


Chaudhry Rehmat Ilahi

Chaudhry Rehmat Elahi[xvii]

Chaudhry Rehmat Elahi is a Naib Amir (Vice President) of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

He hails from Jhelum in Punjab, and is a former soldier in the Pakistan Army. He left the Pakistan army to participate in the Jamaat’s political activities and rose to prominence in the turbulent period of the Anti-Ahmediyya riots in Lahore. He was also a leading light in the Anti-Qadaini movement. He has served as the Federal Minister for Water Power and Natural Resources.

In his capacity as Naib Ameer he supervises Jama’at’s labour wing, the farmers’ organizations, the finance department of the party, and the Islamic Education Society.[xviii].

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) website.


Syed Munawwar Hasan

Syed Munawwar Hasan[xix]

Syed Munawwar Hasan is the Qayyim (Secretary General) of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

He hails from Delhi and holds a Masters in Sociology (1963) and Islamic Studies (1966) from Karachi University.

Syed Munawwar Hasan has held several administrative posts in the Jamaat and is regarded as one of their smoothest orators.[xx].

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) website.


Jamaat ul Ulema e Islami - Fazlur Rehman Faction JUI(F)[xxi]

The JUI (F) is an offshoot of the JUI (Pakistan). It is primarily a Deobandi dominated body that has its roots in the old Jamaat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind that existed before 1947. The JUI-F shot into prominence recently for its involvement with the Taliban[xxii]. The JUI-F is the biggest of the three JUI factions and its leader was considered as a candidate for Prime Minister of Pakistan after the recent election MMA victory.

Fazlur Rehman[xxiii]

Fazlur Rehman is the Amir (President) of the Jamaat-ul-Ulema-e-Islami (F) faction.

He hails from Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP and he took over the JUI from his father Maulana Mufti Mahmood who was the Chief Minister of NWFP [xxiv].

Fazlur Rehman was elected to the Pakistan National Assembly thrice. From his position there he played a critical role in shaping Benazir Bhutto’s support to the Taliban. Currently he is a `Secretary General’ in the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) website. 



Maulana Hafiz Hussain Ahmed [xxv]

Hafiz Hussain Ahmed is currently a `deputy General Secretary’ in the MMA.

No biography or profile of him is currently available but he has contested the election from NA-260 Quetta-Cum-Chagai-Cum Mastung and is believed to reside in Quetta[xxvi]. He is also a recognizable voice in the National assembly and is quite possibly Fazl-ur-Rehman’s political assistant.


Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri [xxvii]

Abdul Ghafoor Haideri was the `central General Secretary’ of the JUI(F). He is currently a `leader’ in the MMA.

No biography of him is currently available. However he was elected from NA-268 Kalat-Cum-Mastung and resides in Kalat District. He shot into prominence when he (along with others of the MMA) enthusiastically pushed for the formation of an MMA government at the center with Maulana Fazlur Rehman as the Prime Minister. A combination of American resistance and political rivalry with a powerful feudal clan in Punjab resulted in the failure of this effort, but Maulana Haideri became a regular fixture at MMA photo sessions.



Maulana Noor Mohammed Hussain  [xxviii]

Noor Mohammed Hussain is a `central leader’ of the MMA. No detailed biography of him is available at the present time. He is usually seen at most major MMA gatherings and is a member of the National Assembly.

Noor Mohammed is actually part of a group of six MMA ulema from Balochistan who were all arrested for making pro-Osama and Taliban speeches during the early part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Subsequently all six of these ulema were elected from Balochistan.

Jamaat ul Ulema  Pakistan (JUP)[xxix]

The Jamaat-ul-Ulema Pakistan is a Barelvi dominated organization. The party has a long history of participation in Pakistani politics and has contested several elections.  

Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani Siddiqui

Shah Ahmad Noorani Siddiqui[xxx]

Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani was born in Meerut, India. He is the son of Late Maulana Shah Muhammad Abdul Aleem Siddiqui al-Qadiri Mubaligh-e-Azam, the head of Qadiriyya and Chistiyya Spiritual Orders.

Maulana Noorani himself is an Islamic scholar of international repute. He has been elected many times to the Pakistani national parliament and has traveled extensively abroad. He is regarded as one of the more urbane faces in the MMA.[xxxi]

A detailed biography of this man may be found at the MMA website. 

Jamaat ul Ulema e Islami (JuI-S) – Sami ul Haq Faction[xxxii]

  The JuI(S) is an offshoot of the Jamaat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind. It has become closely associated with the Anti-Soviet Jihad in Afghanistan and subsequently with the Taliban. The JuI(S) draws on the Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania and the Dar-ul-Uloom Sarhad near Akora Khattak for a dedicated corps of followers.


Sami-ul Haq[xxxiii]

Sami-ul-Haq is the Amir (President) of the Jamaat-ul-Ulema-e-Islami (S) faction.

Sami-ul-Haq was born in Akora Khattak in September 1937. He subsequently graduated from the Dar ul Uloom Haqqania which was started by his father Maulana Abdul Haq. He went on to become an instructor in Islamic studies and now heads the same school. He has a long involvement with major Islamist causes in Pakistan like the Nizam-e-Mustafa agitation and the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat movement. He has been elected to the Pakistani Parliament and was a major mover behind the shariah bill[xxxiv] 

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the MMA website.



Hamid-ul Haq[xxxv]

Hamid-ul-Haq is the Naib Amir (Vice President) of the Jamaat-ul-Ulema-e-Islami (S) faction.

Hamid was born in Akora Khattak in September 1967. He is Sami-ul Haq's son. He has a B.A Degree from Punjab University but has also completed an Islamic degree from the Dar ul Uloom Haqqania. He went on to become an instructor in Islamic studies at Haqqania. Hamid contested the election from NA-6 Nowshera and won.[xxxvi].

No detailed biography of this man is currently available.


  The Islami-Tehreek-e-Pakistan is the new name for the Tehreek-e-Jafaria-Pakistan (TJP). This group is one of Pakistan’s few Shiite political formations. The Tehreek-e-Jafaria was labeled a terrorist organization by General Musharraf’s government. This move forced the its leader to seek a more activist political profile and soon the Islami-Tehreek-e-Pakistan joined the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. The presence of the Islami-Tehreek-e-Pakistan in the Sunni dominated MMA ranks does a lot to enhance the MMA’s non-sectarian appearance. For its part the TJP’s metamorphosis into a more `mainstream’ group is not entirely out of character with the times.

Allama Syed Sajjad Ali Naqvi[xxxvii]

Sajjad Naqvi is the Amir (President) of the Islami Tehreek-e-Pakistan.

He hails from Mulawali  near Islamabad. He is a minor Islamic scholar who hails from a longt line of Shiite reformers in the region. He publicly took over the TJP in 1994, and since then the organization has been fighting a protracted struggle against several sunni sectarian groups[xxxviii].

A detailed profile of this man may be found at the MMA website. 


  The Markaz-e-Jamaat-Ahle-Hadith is the biggest Ahle-Hadith groups in Pakistan. This Jamaat claims ancestry going by to some of the most influential Salafi thinkers in the subcontinent, but in recent times this group has come to have extremely strong ties with the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. This group is usually projects some of the more inward looking political ideas in Pakistan and it has been among the most strident voices in conservative Islam.

Prof. Sajid Mir[xxxix]

Sajid Mir is the Amir (President) of the Markaz-i-Jamaat-Ahle-Hadith.

Sajid Mir is an Islamist scholar with a degree from Saudi Arabia. He is a veteran of the rough and tumble of Ahle-Hadith politics in Pakistan. He is also a bit of a misfit into the MMA currently and his group is regarded as being somewhat on the fringe of the MMA. In recent times he has gain prominence by projecting the possibility of a split in the MMA.

A detailed profile of this man is currently unavailable, however one may soon be up on the MMA website: 

  Leaders of the Tanzeems

  The Tanzeems are usually highly focused organizations. They all operate towards the achievement of an objective. The Tanzeem is somewhere between a political party and a religiously driven social action group. There are all sorts of Tanzeems in Pakistan; we shall focus on some of the more notorious ones that have a proclivity for Jehad with the sword.


  This organization was setup to provide religious indoctrination for the Anti-Soviet Jihad in Afghanistan. Subsequent to the departure of the Soviets from Afghanistan, this group became active in Kashmir working alongside local Kashmiri groups like the Al Barq, run by the late Abdul Ghani Lone. This group is closely associated with Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaida network and was recently subject to a `ban’ by the Pakistani Government after its members were found to be involved in massacres in India[xl]. Needless to say the `ban’ was never quite implemented with much zeal in Pakistan and the group remains active there.

Hafiz Mohammed Saeed[xli]

Hafiz Mohammed Saeed is the Amir (President) of the Jamaat-ud-Dawat.

  He hails from Village Janubi in Mianwali Dist in Pakistani Punjab. He is a Punjabi gujjar by ethnicity. He has bachelors in science from Govt. College Sargodha, and masters in Islamic studies and Arabic lexicon from Saudi Arabia. For the past two years he has been involved in motivating mujaheddin to fight in various wars at the behest of the Pakistani government. Of late his long history of contacts with Osama Bin Laden is cause for some discord with the Government of Pervez Musharraf, and he is on record claiming that the Lashkar-e-Taiba has `nuclear tipped missiles under its control’.[xlii] 

Anjuman Sipaha Saheba Pakistan (SSP)

The SSP is an offshoot of the Anjuman Sipaha Saheba Pakistan. It is a Sunni Deobandi dominated organization and is generally regarded as one of the most virulent anti-Shiite groups in Pakistan. The SSP is very closely allied with the Taliban and with Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaida organization. SSP cadre participated in battles with the Taliban in various campaigns and during Operation Enduring Freedom.   

Maulana Muhammad Azzam Tariq[xliii]

  Maulana Azzam Tariq is the `deputy-Patron-in-Chief’ of the Sipaha Saheba Pakistan.

Maulana Muhammad Azam Tariq, hails from Chichawatani in Punjab. He has an  M.A.(Arabic) and M.A.(Islamyat) from Jammia-Islamia Karachi. Having been elected in 1990 and 1993, he served as member, National Assembly for two successive terms; and, has been first elected to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab in 1997.[xliv]

Maulana Tariq had a fair bit of trouble trying to join the MMA. So he has formed his own party Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan. No detailed bio or profile of this man is current available.


The JeM is an offshoot of the Harkat-ul-Mujaheddin. It was formed in the early 2000, after Maulana Masood Azhar was released from a prison in India in exchange for the lives of the hostages on the hijacked flight IC-814. The JeM is patronized by powerful Deobandi Ulema in the Jamia Binoria in Karachi, and the Jamia Ashrafiya in Lahore. It also enjoys the support of the Inter-Services Intelligence branch of the Pakistani Army and it has very close ties to Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaida. The JeM has a strong support base among powerful businessmen in Pakistani Punjab. The JeM was also `banned’  by the Pakistani Government after its members were found to be involved in suicide attacks in India, but that `ban’ has proved to ineffective in curbing its activities.    

Maulana Masood Azhar, leader of the outlawed militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, has been banned from the Pakistani zone of Kashmir in an order issued by the government(AFP/File/Aamir Qureshi)

Maulana Masood Azhar[xlv]

Maulana Masood Azhar is the Amir (President) of the JeM.

He hails from Bahawalpur in Pakistani Punjab. He is a graduate of the Jamia Binoria in Karachi and began his career as the editor of the Harkat-ul-Mujaheddin’s journal. Subsequently he was tasked with carrying out a unification of the major Islamist terrorist groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir in India under the banner of the Harkat-ul-Ansar. However he was arrested by the Indian police in 1994 and incarcerated at a prison in Jammu[xlvi].

He was released from captivity and returned to Pakistan in 2000. Subsequently he has continued his campaign of terror in India[xlvii].



This group is an offshoot of the Hizbul Mujaheddin. The Al-Badr claims to be an all Kashmiri organization but it is now believed to be under the control of Pakistani Punjabis. This organization also has strong links to Osama Bin Laden’s al Qaida network and the ISI in Pakistan. Its operatives have been found involved in terrorist acts in Jammu and Kashmir in India[xlviii].  

Bakht Zameen[xlix]

Bakht Zameen is the Amir (President) of the Al Badr. 

Bakht Zameen split from the Hizbul Mujaheddin in 1998. Since then Bakht Zameen has been seen with several top Islamist leaders in Pakistan and is a firm voice on the Muttahida Jihad Council[l].

No profile or bio of this man is currently available but over the years his visibility has grown considerably.

  Harkat-ul-Mujaheddin(HuM)/Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA)

  The HuM is an offshoot of the Harkat-Ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HuJI) which was setup by the ISI and the CIA to help organize the Anti-Soviet Jihad in Afghanistan. The HuM is a staunchly Deobandi organization that is connected to several well-placed Deobandi schools in Pakistan. After the end of the war in Afghanistan, the HuM diverted its attention to the ISI-sponsored proxy war in Kashmir. The HuM is believed to have been closely connected with the Makhtab-Al-Khidmat setup by Osama Bin Laden’s mentor Abdullah Azzam. After the start of the US offensive against the Taliban, HuM cadre went into Afghanistan to assist the Taliban.

Fazlur Rehman Khalil[li]

Fazlur Rehman Khalil is the `Patron’ of the Harkat-ul-Mujaheddin.

He is most likely a native of NWFP. He built the HuM by splitting the HuJI organization in 1985. It is believed that he had the support of key ISI officers in this split. Under his guidance the HuM operated the logistics of the jihad machinery Afghanistan and Kashmir. The HuM attempted forge the Harkat-ul-Ansar to fight the Jihad in Kashmir, however elements of the HuA kidnapped and killed western tourists in Kashmir and the HuA was designated at terrorist organization. So the HuM reverted back to its old name and dropped the HuA label.

The HuM was placed on the State Department Terrorist Organizations list after Khalil signed Osama Bin Laden’s fatwa [lii].

No biography or profile of this individual is currently available. 

Spiritual Leaders

This community is actually fairly large; I have managed to point to some of the biggest names. In some cases the leaders actually head up major movements in Pakistan.  

Maulana Nizamuddin Shamzai[liii]

Maulana Shamzai heads the Majlis- e- Ta'awun-i -Islami. He is also the  `Patron in Chief’ of the Jaish-e-Mohammed)

Maulana Shamzai is one of the senior-most Ulema at Dar-ul-Ifta (Clerical Opinion) department at the Jamia Binoria in Karachi. He was among the most influential promoters of the Taliban.[liv]

A detailed profile of this man is unavailable at the present time.


Maulana Taqi Usmani[lv]

Maulana Taqi Usmani is a respected Islamic economic scholar. He was a judge on the federal Shariah court before his views on the lack of `Islamic Banking’ in Pakistan led to his removal from service. Since then he has enthusiastically participated in a number of Islamist causes.[lvi]



Dr Israr Ahmad[lvii]

Dr. Israr Ahmad is currently the patron of the Tanzeem-e-Islami.

Dr. Israr Ahmad started as a doctor of medicine before he gave up his practice to take up Islamic studies. He briefly dabbled in politics by joining the Islami Jamaat Taleba but soon returned to spiritual activity. In 1972 he founded Markazi Anjuman Khuddam-Ul-Qur’an to disseminate and propagate the knowledge and wisdom of The Holy Qur’an. In 1975 he founded Tanzeem-e-Islami for establishing Deen through a truly revolutionary process derived from the life of the Prophet Mohammed.



Manzoor Ahmed Chinioti[lviii]

Maulana Manzoor Ahmed Chinioti, hails from Chiniot in Punjab. He has an M.A. Islamiyat and Arabic. He is connected with the Khatam-e-Nabuwat movement which aims to end all discord relating to the `Finality of the Prophet’. Maulana Manzoor is the Chancellor, International Khatam-e-Nabuwat University Chiniot, the Chief Organizer Idara Markaz-e-Dawat-o-Irshad, Chiniot; and the General Secretary International Khatam-e-Nabuwat movement. He has been a member of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab from 1985 to 1988, 1988 to 1990; and, has been re-elected for the third term in 1997.


The Military Islamists

Overt association with Islamist political groups is something most Pakistan army officers try to avoid. Most prefer to garb this association, as some form of harmless spiritual activity. A common trend in the past has been to associate with a spiritual organization called Tablighi Jamaat(TJ), however in 1995, elements of a TJ cell were found to be involved in a coup attempt to remove Benazir Bhutto from power[lix].  The camera-shy nature of the TJ prevents a fuller appreciation of key influences in it. I have however managed to pull together others who are quite prominent. I regret not being able to place photos of Maj. Gen. (r) Zahir-ul-Islam Abbasi and Lt. Gen. K. M. Azhar here. 

Lt. Gen.(r) Hamid Gul[lx]

Hamid Gul is a former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence branch of the Pakistan Army. He was closely connected with the ISI-CIA operations during the Anti-Soviet Jihad in Afghanistan. Hamid Gul was believed to be very close to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizbe-Islami (Khalis). Hamid Gul was once thought to be in line for becoming COAS of the Pakistani Army after Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg. However he lost out to another candidate. Hamid Gul attributes his loss to American interference[lxi].

A detailed bio of this man is currently unavailable.


Lt. Gen. (r) Javed Nasir[lxii]

Javid Nasir is an officer of the engineering corps of the Pakistan Army. He is strongly connected with a popular religious movement known as the Tablighi Jamaat. Nasir retired as the Director of the ISI branch of the Pakistan Army. During his time terrorism in the Indian states of Punjab and Kashmir received a major boost. During Javed Nasir’s tenure the ISI conducted a series of blasts in Bombay city that left 600 people dead.

Javed initially attributed his sudden removal to the American pressure on the Pakistan to do something visible to appease the government of India. Later he claimed that he had been removed from service because the US Govt. was unhappy about his secret transfer of army to Bosnian Islamists in defiance of the UN Arms embargo in 1993[lxiii].

A detailed profile of this man is currently unavailable.



Lt. Gen. (r) K. M. Azhar

Gen Azhar is a member of the Jamaat-ulema Pakistan. He was the governor of NWFP[lxiv].

A detailed profile of this man is currently unavailable.



Maj. Gen. (r) Zahir-ul-Islam Abbasi

Zahir Abbasi was an infantry officer who was deputed to Delhi as the ISI head of station in the 80s. Subsequent to his return to Pakistan, he was posted to the HQ 323 brigade at Dansam. Here he carried out a disastrous frontal charge on Indian positions that killed several Pakistani army men. Subsequently in 1987 he was involved in the massacre of Shiites in the Gilgit area along side elements of Osama Bin Laden’s Arab legions and Sipaha Saheba Pakistan

In 1995 Maj. Gen. Abbasi attempted to carry out a coup to depose the Pakistani Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto. Gen. Abbasi wanted to end `westernized’ democracy and establish an `Islamic State’ in Pakistan[lxv]. His attempt failed and he was arrested. He was released from prison when Gen. Musharraf removed PM Nawaz Sharif from power. After his release Gen. Abbasi established an Islamist organization called `Hizballah’ to bring about an Islamist revolution in Pakistan. [lxvi]

A detailed profile of this man is currently unavailable at this time.


Gen. Mohammed Aziz Khan[lxvii]

Gen. Aziz is the Chief Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) of the Pakistan Armed Forces. He is a artillery officer who hails from the Kotli province of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. He is a sudhan by sub-ethnicity. Gen. Aziz is a close associate of General Musharraf is believed to have been intricately involved in planning the coup that brought Gen. Musharraf to power. He is also strongly respected by all the Tanzeems in Pakistan and among the Jihadis operating in Kashmir his word carries a lot of weight. He has visited key Tanzeem offices several times during the last five years. He was once the head of the ISI’s Afghanistan division. Gen. Aziz was believed to plotting a coup to topple Pervez Musharraf and hence in a surprise move he was promoted to a four star general and made the CJCSC[lxviii].

A detailed profile of this man is currently unavailable.


Lt. Gen. (r) Mahmood Ahmed[lxix]

Gen. Mahmood Ahmed was the Corps Commander of the 10th Corps at Rawalpindi. He was one of the principle architects of the coup that brought Gen. Musharraf to power. After the coup Gen. Musharraf made him Director of the ISI.

Gen. Mahmood’s connections with the Islamists came to light immediately after 9-11. Gen. Mahmood was held responsible for frustrating US efforts to capture Osama Bin Laden and brow beat the Taliban through negotiations. Later revelations also appeared which indicated that Gen. Mahmood has wired money to an account used by the 9-11 suicide bombers.

Gen. Mahmood was retired from service after US pressure mounted on Gen. Pervez Musharraf to do something about the extent of ISI support for the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.[lxx].

A detailed profile of this man is currently unavailable.



The Islamist political spectrum spans the entire professional and social range of Pakistan. There is no segment of Pakistani society that is not touched by this ideology. On the most general level, the Islamists have consistently argued that a Pakistan not totally dedicated in every possible way to Islam would fail. They also appear to have understood that a section of the Pakistani elite did not agree with this sentiment. The Islamist approach to political struggle with this elite rests on the principle that the elite itself is alienated from the people it claims to govern. The Islamists therefore postulate that every institution, every government that this elite attempts to foster will chronically fail and then with each failure a power vacuum will grow in size and this vacuum will eventually be filled by the Islamists. 

History is unforgiving to those who lose the political initiative.  The Islamists seem poised to seize one, so against this backdrop it is important to gain a fuller appreciation of the detailed nature of Islamist thought in Pakistan. 


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[xxvi] List of MMA Candidates: Chaman Times 12-01-2003

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[li] Picture source  (Photographer Zia Mazhar)

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Copyright © Bharat Rakshak 2003