20 men, women, children from Lahore join Daesh, go to Syria

FIRs on alleged kidnapping of members of three families were registered six months agoISLAMABAD: On the morning of September 12, the female principal of a Lahore-based Islamic center left home along...

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20 men, women, children from Lahore join Daesh, go to Syria
FIRs on alleged kidnapping of members of three families were registered six months ago

ISLAMABAD: On the morning of September 12, the female principal of a Lahore-based Islamic center left home along with her four children telling her husband that she was going to Kasur for Dars-e-Quran but never returned.

A week later, Khalid felt relieved on receiving a call from his wife. Bushra was in Quetta. However, the conversation that followed was not music to Khalid’s ears; she was on her way to Syria through Iran for joining Daesh along with the kids. The eldest among them is 15-year-old and the youngest is nine years old.

Incidentally, two other ladies went missing the same day along with their children from Lahore. One of them was the sister of an anchor who reported her disappearance to Police after failing to search them through personal connections.

Apparently, the government is in a state of denial about Daesh’s presence but the efforts are in progress on ground with some major breakthroughs have been achieved which are being kept unannounced though.

A civilian intelligence agency has reported that around 20 men, women and children connected with Bushra’s network left for Islamic State raising alarms about Lahore as a launching pad of Daesh. The clandestine activities have also been noted in Karachi, however, this migration to Islamic State has only been reported from Lahore.

The cases spotted indicate that Syria via Iran is the route frequented by these “migrants” and religious inclinations suggest that Jama’at-ud-Dawa is losing its affiliates to Daesh. Recent arrests in Sialkot also testify this observation.

Bushra, now in Islamic State, is not only cajoling her husband to join, she is also preaching to the like-minded women through video-links. Khalid who remained affiliated with Jama’at-ud-Dawah shared with interrogators the messages received from her wife urging him to join them for jihad.

Bushra did M Phil from Punjab University and was honorary principal at Noor-ul-Hudaa Islamic Center situated in Town Ship, Lahore. How did she get in touch with Daesh leadership remained to be explored?

Nevertheless, the information the spy agency has pieced together indicate that Bushra alias Haleema had been in correspondence with Abu Bakar Baghdadi for the “clarity of concepts”.While her exchanges with husband are through WhatsApp, Skype is a channel of her contact with the like-minded women for persuading them to join jihad.

A widow known by her alias Arshi is an interesting case. Before moving to Islamic State, she sent her son on a fact-finding mission who visited Syria along with a friend. Both of them were unemployed.

They reported positively upon return that resulted in a decision to move there as a family that included Arshi, two sons, a niece and a daughter-in-law. Arshi’s family moved in May along with another family comprising husband, wife and a daughter. Shahid, the husband is also believed to be linked with Bushra’s family. Same is the case of Sajid who is in export and import business and has been frequenting to Turkey.

Aasia, another teacher at the Islamic center, wanted to leave for Syria but changed her plan at the eleventh hour upon the insistence of her brother with whom she has been staying along with kids after divorce, according to a report of a civilian agency that chronicled the events and network connection to determine the pattern and flow of migration.

How many Pakistanis have moved to Syria to join Deash remains anybody’s guess? Investigation into the recent arrests of Daesh-linked individuals from Sialkot has also established their travel plans and the preparation of passport was the only cause of delay and meanwhile they were arrested.

Our crime correspondent from Lahore adds: Police are still clueless to the whereabouts of the children and women of three families who were allegedly kidnapped some six months before in the jurisdictions of Township, Hunjerwal and Wahdat Colony police stations. All three families belong to a religious outfit.

Bushra Cheema alias Haleema Apa and her four children were kidnapped in June and a case has been registered in Township police station. In Hunjerwal police station cases of kidnapping of Fatima and Farhana were registered while in Wahdat Colony police station one Imran got registered a case of kidnapping of a woman and her five children. When contacted, CCPO Muhammad Amin has said the three kidnappings happened in July and there is no information about their joining a terror outfit.—Originally published in The News