Lashkar I Jhangvi (LJ) is the militant offshoot of the Sunni sectarian group Sipah-i- Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). The group focuses primarily on anti-Shia attacks and was banned by Pakistani President Musharraf in August 2001 as part of an effort to rein in sectarian violence. Many of its members then sought refuge with the Taliban in Afghanistan, with whom they had existing ties. After the collapse of the Taliban, LJ members became active in aiding other terrorists with safehouses, false identities, and protection in Pakistani cities, including Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. In January 2003, the United States added LJ to the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
LJ specializes in armed attacks and bombings. The group attempted to assassinate former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shabaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab Province, in January 1999. Pakistani authorities have publicly linked LJ members to the kidnap and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in early 2002. Police officials initially suspected LJ members were involved in the two suicide car-bombings in Karachi in 2002—against a French shuttle bus in May and the US Consulate in June—but their subsequent investigations have not led to any LJ members being charged in the attacks. Similarly, press reports have linked LJ to attacks on Christian targets in Pakistan, including a grenade assault on the Protestant International Church in Islamabad in March 2002 that killed two US citizens, but no formal charges have been fi led against the group. Pakistani authorities believe LJ was responsible for the bombing in July 2003 of a Shiite mosque in Quetta, Pakistan.
Probably fewer than 100.
Location/Area of Operation
LJ is active primarily in Punjab and Karachi. Some members travel between Pakistan and Afghanistan.