Saudi Arabia funds Lashkar-e-JhangviMarch 3, 2013
The Sunni radical Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which is responsible for attacks against Shia Muslims, is funded by Saudi Arabia. LeJ’s parent organization, Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), feeds at the same trough.
From Reuters last fall:
THE SAUDI CONNECTION
In the Punjab town of Jhang, LeJ’s birthplace, SSP leader Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi describes what he says are Tehran’s grand designs. Iranian consular offices and cultural centers, he alleges, are actually a front for its intelligence agencies.
“If Iranian interference continues it will destroy this country,” said Ludhianvi in an interview in his home. The state provides him with armed guards, fearful any harm done to him could trigger sectarian bloodletting.
The Iranian embassy in Islamabad, asked for a response to that allegation, issued a statement denouncing sectarian violence.
“What is happening today in the name of sectarianism has nothing to do with Muslims and their ideologies,” it said.
Ludhianvi insisted he was just a politician. “I would like to tell you that I am not a murderer, I am not a killer, I am not a terrorist. We are a political party.”
After a meal of chicken, curry and spinach, Ludhianvi and his aides stood up to warmly welcome a visitor: Saudi Arabia-based cleric Malik Abdul Haq al-Meqqi.
A Pakistani cleric knowledgeable about Sunni groups described Meqqi as a middleman between Saudi donors and intelligence agencies and the LeJ, the SSP and other groups.
“Of course, Saudi Arabia supports these groups. They want to keep Iranian influence in check in Pakistan, so they pay,” the Pakistani cleric said. His account squared with that of a Pakistani intelligence agent, who said jailed militants had confessed that LeJ received Saudi funding…
A Stanford University study also said that, “LeJ has received money from several Persian Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These countries funded LeJ and other Sunni militant groups primarily to counter the rising influence of Iran’s revolutionary Shiism,” (h/t Land Destroyer).
This is especially relevant now that LeJ’s attacks on Shias are becoming more frequent and lethal. They just killed 81 people in Quetta and another 100 people last month. LeJ and SSP are also gaining political representation in the Punjab and National Assembly (h/t Hayat Alvi).