Kashmiri militant killed in Pak drone strike

ISLAMABAD, Aug 25: A Kashmiri militant killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region has a long association with the Jamaat-e-Islami and is perhaps the first member of the hardline religious group to become a victim of the CIA’s spy plane campaign.

“Raja” Ahsan Aziz, 29, was killed with his wife in a drone strike near Miramshah town of North Waziristan Agency on August 18.

His father Abdul Aziz, a retired Lieutenant Commander of the Pakistan Navy, said his had moved from his hometown of Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to the tribal areas in 2002.

Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, the Jamaat-e-Islami chief in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and a former parliamentarian, confirmed Aziz and his family’s association with the party but did not provide details.

Aziz was also given the nickname “Engineer” because of his profession.

“Raja Ahsan (Aziz) had been with mujahideen in North Waziristan Agency since long. I don’t know more about his background,” Khan told the Dawn newspaper.

Sources close to Aziz said he had been associated with the Taliban since 2002.

Former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed led Aziz’s funeral prayers in absentia in Mirpur on Thursday.

Top jihadi leaders like Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin also attended the funeral. Besides Aziz and his wife, four others were killed in the drone strike.

Aziz completed his graduation from Mirpur Engineering University in 1996 and served as nazim (head) of the Islami Jamiat Talba, the Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing in PoK during 1993-95.

Aziz later became a member of the IJT shura or council. His father Abdul Aziz is the president of Mirpur chapter of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

During the regime of former President Pervez Musharraf, Aziz was detained by Pakistani intelligence agencies for six months.

In the past, key Al Qaeda figures were arrested from the homes of people who were or had been active activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami or its affiliated bodies.

Al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was arrested at the home of former Jamaat leader Farzana Qudoos in Rawalpindi, while two Al Qaeda suspects were taken into custody during a raid on the house of a Jamaat leader in Karachi.

Former Jamaat chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed claimed Ahsan Aziz was not a member of the party though his father and other family members were very active workers. (PTI)



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