Lashkar-e Islam levies heavy zakat, ushrApril 21, 2011
…Like the other militant groups, Lashkar-e Islam, which is believed to number some 10,000 to 15,000 fighters, levies tribute from all those within reach. One tribal elder, who spoke on condition of anonymity, recently described to Radio Mashaal how onerous the tribute demands can be.
“To raise funds, militant groups use various methods in Tirah,” he said. “Sometimes they levy Zakat and Usher [religious taxes payable in cash], sometimes collected from the whole village each month, sometimes collected per home.”
The elder added: “For people who own agriculture land in the valley but live in Peshawar, the militant groups demand 50 percent of the land and at the end of the year they keep half of the crop. If somebody can’t afford a monthly payment or doesn’t have land, then the militant groups demand he joins the fight personally and if he can’t go then he has to hire somebody to fight for the militants instead of him.”
Beyond these demands, Bagh also let his fighters kidnap tribal leaders with whom they quarreled. It was the kidnapping of two leaders of the Zakhakhel tribe over the past several months that appears to have pushed the tribe into open conflict with Lashkar-e Islam and the bloodletting this month.
The most recent of the two kidnappings was that of a tribal elder and cleric, Maulana Mohammad Hashim, from Bazaar Zakhakhel on March 21. The cleric, who was killed the following day, had preached a Friday sermon against militancy. His abduction came just a month and a half after another Zakhakhel leader, Ghuncha Gul, who had been a commander in the Lashkar-e Islam force, was never seen again after quarreling with Manghal Bagh…