Pakistan Intelligence Forces Arrest Jundullah Leader

Jundullah terror group leader Abdul Rauf Rigi, the new chief of the outlawed terrorist group, has been arrested by Pakistan’s army intelligence forces.

Abdul Rauf Rigi took over the Jundullah terror group after the death of this elder brother Abdul Malik, who was hanged in Iran. He was arrested by Iranian intelligence forces in February 2010 and hanged in June, being accused of 79 counts of crime, which included bombing operations and armed attacks on police and civilians.

Abdul Rauf Rigi’s location of arrest in Pakistan has not yet been revealed.

This major development comes in the wake of Iran’s strong pressure on Pakistan to counter militant safe havens in its border areas. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad called on Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari emphasizing increased efforts by Pakistan to “arrest and deliver” terrorists operating from Pakistani soil.

Iran’s strong demand came after the suicide attack at the Imam Hussein Mosque in the Iranian city of Chabahar on December 15 that saw at least 40 people killed and several injured. The attack targeted a Shiite procession during the holy month of Muharram in Iran. Iran’s demand against Pakistan brought new strains in bilateral ties between the two countries though Pakistan assured that it would take all measures and will not withhold any help in uprooting terrorism.

During the investigation of the Chabahar terror attack, Iran said the perpetrators behind the suicide attack were trained and equipped by foreign elements beyond the country’s eastern borders in Pakistan. The claims were re-assured when Jundullah claimed responsibility for the attack. The Pakistan-based group has carried out numerous terrorist attacks in Iran.

The assurance of extra support by Pakistan initially seemed like a routine exercise practiced by all countries. But the result came immediately, when Pakistani intelligence forces tracked Abdul Rauf Rigi and arrested him with a successful military operation.

In some quarters, this is being acclaimed as Pakistan’s great support and effort to act on the demands of the Iranian president, but some strategists argue that Paksitan’s immediate arrest of Rauf Rigi has confirmed the reports of intelligence forces having close links with the terror groups and also having clear information about militant hideouts yet not initiating military operations against them.

It is also argued that Pakistan uses these tactics to maintain its position as a threat to other countries, especially the west, that they should not underestimate Pakistan as a weak state. This positioning of Pakistan has helped it to maintain its importance as the only way for the United States to initiate dialogue with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militant groups.