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Mullah Fazlullah

Mullah Fazlullah
 
 
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Profile
Maulana Fazlullah, (born 1974) nicknamed the "Radio Mullah" or "Mullah Radio", is the leader of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), a banned Pakistani Islamic fundamentalist militant group allied to the Pakistani Taliban, that aims to enforce Sharia in the country. He is sometimes referred to as "chief" of the Swat Taliban and is the son-in-law of the TNSM's founder, Sufi Muhammad. On 7 Nov 2013 he was elected by the Pakistani Taliban as its new chief, succeeding Hakimullah Mehsud who was killed in a U.S. drone strike a week prior.

Personal life

Maulana Fazlullah was born Fazal Hayat to Biladar Khan, a Pukhtun of Babukarkhel clan of the Yusufzai tribe of the Swat District in 1974. Fazlullah married the daughter of Sufi Muhammad, the founder of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi.

According to the residents of his hometown Imam Dherai, he liked to fish in River Swat when he was a student and had a quarrelsome nature when he was young.

He has completed his matriculation from Dherai High School, Kanjo, and then his intermediate from Jehanzeb College, Swat.

Operations in Pakistan

TNSM

On January 12, 2002, Fazlullah became the leader of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi due to the enforcement of a ban by Pervez Musharraf, former President of Pakistan. The ban led to the arrest and capture of Sufi Muhammad, which placed Fazlullah into the leadership role. Although Sufi Muhammed was freed in 2008, he did not seek to usurp Fazlullah's leadership in the TNSM. Fazlullah managed to restore the organization, bootstrapping on the relief efforts by Islamist extremist groups following the 8 October 2005-earthquake. New cadres then began moving into the Swat Valley. Fazlullah was allegedly arrested by Pakistani security forces while coming back from Afghanistan. While in prison, Sufi Muhammad (his father in law) changed his name from Fazal hayat to Fazlullah. While imprisoned, Fazlullah studied from a variety of religious books that were provided by Sufi Muhammmd. These books included the Holy Qur'an translation and "Tafseer." In February 2009, Sufi Muhammad assisted in the negotiation of a cease fire between TNSM forces and the Pakistani army. As part of the cease fire Pakistan agreed to allow Sharia law in Malakand District.

TTP merger
In the aftermath of the 2007 siege of Lal Masjid, Fazlullah's forces and Baitullah Mehsud's Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) formed an alliance. Fazlullah and his army henceforth reportedly received orders from Mehsud. A temporary cease-fire from May to September 2007 allowed Fazlullah to consolidate his political forces in Swat.

Taliban
On 10 July 2009, BBC reported that Fazlullah was near death after being critically wounded, corroborating statements made by senior government and security officials in Pakistan. This was a day after the army announced it had wounded the Taliban chief in the Swat valley. The Taliban have denied that Fazlullah was critically injured. The Pakistan army, however, refuted this claim and insisted that a man impersonated Fazlullah when he allegedly denied that he was critically injured.

Parallel government
With the support of more than 4,500 militants, by late October 2007 Fazlullah had established a "parallel government" in 59 villages in Swat Valley by starting Islamic courts to enforce sharia law.

Madrassa

Fazlullah developed a $2.5 million Madrassa with assistance from the Taliban which was used as his base of operations. It was funded by the JEI faction led by Maulana Sami-ul-haq.

Operations from Afghanistan

On 29 November 2007, Pakistani security forces captured Fazlullah's headquarters and arrested his brother. Fazlullah himself had already fled to another village. Security Forces have now retaken most of the Swat region. In 2007, Fazullah was allegedly hiding in the Konar province in Afghanistan. On 26 January 2008, it was reported that Maulvi Abdul Raziq, a close aide of Fazlullah, was arrested in the Kot area of Charbagh. In November 2009, Fazlullah told the BBC's Urdu Service that he had escaped from Pakistan to Afghanistan and warned that he would continue to attack Pakistani forces in Swat.

In October 2011 Maj Gen Athar Abbas complained to Reuters that Pakistan had urged Afghanistan and the US to take action against Fazlullah in response to cross-border raids in Dir, Bajaur and Mohmand from April 2011 to August 2011 but that no efforts had been made. Abbas elaborated, "Fazlullah and his group are trying to re-enter Swat through Dir."

In June 2012 a TTP spokesman claimed that Fazlullah was leading attacks on Pakistan from Afghanistan's border provinces. Reuters indicated that he controlled a 20-km stretch of area in Nuristan province along the Pakistani border.

Strict interpretation of Sharia

Radio broadcasts

Maulana Fazlullah started an illegal local FM channel in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's Swat Valley in 2006. He preaches forcing vice and virtue and has an anti-Western Jihadi stance. He is considered pro-Taliban and a very powerful figure in the area. Though he considers most communication based electronics as "major sources of sin" he transmits broadcasts of his sermons on an illegal local FM radio channel, hence the nickname "Radio Mullah" or "Maulana Radio".

FM signals are relayed from mobile transmitters mounted on motorcycles and trucks. During nightly broadcasts, prohibited activities are routinely declared and violators' names announced for assassination, which often includes beheading.

Introduction of Sharia courts
With Swat under Fazlullah's control he and his followers quickly moved to set up the Sharia Courts as primary judicial courts instead of when he was running them parallel to the Pakistani National Judicial Courts.

Eradication of sins and the attacks on music shops
He leads a drive of eradicating vices such as music, dancing, of what he calls "major sources of sin" such as TVs, CDs, computers and other video equipment by burning the electronics or the shops in which they are housed. Fazlullah has threatened barbers who shaved their customers' beards and warned against girls attending schools.

Anti-polio vaccination stance
He opposed a polio vaccination drive in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa claiming it was a conspiracy of the Jews and Christians to keep Muslims impotent, according to a listener. In some sermons he had also considered it against Islamic norms. He considered Hepatitis C as a more important health issue than Polio and questioned the West's intentions. The propaganda had hindered the drive immensely as the local people saw volunteers and workers for the World Health Organization vaccination program as a threat and in some cases the immunization teams were physically beaten.

Opposition to women voting
In 2001 many seats reserved for women in northern Pakistan went unfilled due in large part to the actions of the TNSM. In 2005, Fazlullah was quoted as saying: We have our tradition that bars women from taking part in the elections and violators will be punished.

Opposition to female education
A January 21, 2009 issue of the Pakistan daily newspaper The News, reports Taliban enforcement of a complete ban on female education in the Swat District. Some 400 private schools enrolling 40,000 girls have been shut down. At least 10 girls' schools that tried to open after the January 15, 2009 deadline by the Fazlullah-led Taliban were blown up by the militants in the town of Mingora, the headquarters of the Swat District. "More than 170 schools have been bombed or torched, along with other government-owned buildings." On 9 October 2012, an assasin instructed by Fazlullah shot Malala Yousafzai.

Appointed Taliban Chief

After the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone attack, Fazlullah has been appointed as the new "Amir" (Chief) of the Tehrik-Taliban-Pakistan on 7 November 2013.


 
 
 
 
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