Adnan Rasheed (image via Al Haqiqah magazine)
Adnan Rasheed the former Pakistan Air Force Technician linked to an assassination attempt on President Pervez Musharraf in 2003 has appeared in an exclusive interview in the latest edition of Al Haqiqah (The Truth) magazine, a publication of the mujahideen in Syria. The publication is not affiliated to any one group.
Rasheed now in his late 30s makes it clear that in answering questions these are his own personal views and not those of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) the militant group that he joined after being sprung from Bannu Central Jail in Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 15th April 2012 along with 400 other prisoners. The attack was carried out by TTP assisted by Uzbek insurgents and was filmed in real time at it happened.
Rasheed once labelled Pakistan’s most wanted man is an ethnic Pashtun who originates from Swabi. There were rumours of his arrest back in 2014 during the time Pakistan military launched operation Zarb-e-Asb in a major clampdown on insurgency but these claims turned out to be false. He told Al Haqiqah,
“Allah is the best protector. HE is the best planner and HE is the one who govern universe alone.
Yes, in 2014 these a big army invasion in north Waziristan and yes media was speaking about my arrest but that was a rumor indeed. Alhamdulillah I was safe and sound with friends and fellows. Yes, that was a tough time, but in Jihad you have to face such situations. Jihad is not a bed of roses. You have to expect the unexpected.”
In some respects as Rasheed has matured, the answers given to the interviewer reflect a man whose replies appear to diverge from the actions of his rescuers who shocked Pakistan when they shot schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in 2012 who they alleged in a statement had maligned Islam and Shariah. Most western media misreported that she was shot “for going to school”. Rasheed who was in jail at the time having been given a death sentence for the failed attempt on Musharraf wrote an open letter published globally revealing his shock at the attack on Malala who belonged to the same tribe as his family. Expressing his personal views brought criticism from some insurgents. TTP militants also carried out an attack on APS, Army School Peshawar in December 2016 (again Rasheed claims no involvement) which led to the brutal killing of many schoolchildren and was condemned globally.
Rasheed expressed gratitude to Allah and those who had freed him from prison. However, he was also keen to express recently through a source who did not want to be named, “I am a warrior not a robber or killer.” He emphasised, ”I am against all that is done wrong in the name of Islam and Jihad” but went on to say, “neither technology nor business can take out the Muslim ummah from the quagmire of slavery, the only solution is Jihad against the puppets of capitalism.”
Rasheed begins his interview for Al Haqiqah by stating, “first of all, I want to make it clear to all brothers and sisters who have sent the question that my answers are my personal view and context (he declined to respond to all 28 questions). My answers may not be considered as policy or official statement of any Jihad group or faction.”
He refers to his time in prison as both a “great test” and a “blessing” saying, “I don’t want to be imprisoned again but I miss my routine of worship. I just want Allah to accept my imprisonment and forgive my sins and award me with His pleasure.” Rasheed was known to be a prayer leader in Haripur and Bannu jails teaching prisoners about Islam, ethics and good manners, and said, “about 10 hardcore criminals repented from bad life (at Haripur) and adopted Islamic life”. He appeared to gain some authority during his incarceration with both inmates and staff as “head of reconciliation and disputes committee”.
The following quotes are taken directly from Rasheed’s answers to Al Haqiqah (The Truth) magazine
On history of Pakistan and western influence
“To understand what Pakistan is, we must go into its history then we can conclude the influence of foreign nations on the country.
In 1947, the British ruled united India was partitioned and two new nation states, India and Pakistan were founded by British House of Commons.
The nation state strategy had worked successfully after the fall of Ottoman Islamic empire, dividing one Muslim ummah into dozens of small countries under the flag of nationalism.
India was ruled by Muslim conquerors more than 800 years such as Islamic Spain. In 1858 India went into British hands from Muslims. British Empire exploited Indian manpower, its economy and all natural resources for its imperialistic goals in two world wars.
After the 2nd world war, British Raj decided to quit India and leave the exhausted and bankrupt country to its people, although the freedom movements were started earlier but that were raised by the British Raj itself to line up the people of India into the chain of democracy, to change the attitude of freedom fighters from warrior to political activist, from armed struggle to peaceful democratic protests on the roads.
The British knew, that they would quit India eventually, but they didn’t want to give it back to Muslims, so they did the same as they had done with the Ottoman Islamic empire.
They divided India and placed their puppets as the rulers of the Muslim lands. From 1947 until now Pakistan is in the hands of western powers. They have their puppets whom they inflict on us, these puppet rulers seek pleasure of western powers, the Pakistani nation is a Muslim nation, most of the nation want Islam as their commercial, legal and political system, but rulers are full of lies and deceits.
On conflict and tensions in Pakistan
“I come from Pakistan and I would like to talk about the situation in Pakistan. Pakistan came into being as plan of New World Order, under the policy of “divide and rule”. The war against Islam is not new, it has been going on for 1400 years. The Slogans were different in different times but their aim was to destroy Islam and Muslims.
The creation of Pakistan was an illusion; the Muslims of the sub-continent were promised an Islamic homeland, but since its creation, Pakistan is serving the interests of the west. The Muslims of Pakistan are in clash with the puppet rulers and its secular army. The Muslim of Pakistan want Sharia, the reason Pakistan was created and the rulers and its secular army wants to westernize the country.
The war in Pakistan started when Pakistan army started offensives against mujahideen in south Waziristan near Afghan border in 2003. The local tribesmen of Mehsood and Wazir Clan stood in protection of their foreign Muslim brothers and started fighting against the army and soon it became the Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which took the most strength after Operation of Red Mosque in Islamabad in 2007.
Muslims of Pakistan has a long history of peaceful struggle for Sharia, from Objective resolution 1948 to Red Mosque 2007, but every time rulers betrayed them. Every voice for Sharia was suppressed by tyranny and deception.
Now Pakistan will reap what it has sown, soon Pakistan will turn into a Syria like situation, Mujahideen are already in a war against the regime, Pakistan has lost more than 30 thousand of its troops, economy is bankrupt, political system is at the brink of collapse, judiciary and media is biased, bureaucracy has failed to manage the country, protest and voices from every corner. World power says Pakistan is nothing but lies and deceit.
World powers have a plan to take control of Pakistan’s Nuclear arsenals into international custody via a pre-planned UN Security Council Resolution, in case India, Iran and Afghanistan attack Pakistan jointly from East, West and South on the behest of world powers.
US can withdraw from Afghanistan but it will never leave Pakistan. Pakistan is equipped with Nuclear arsenals, Russia, China and UK also has their eyes on nuclear bomb. As the world powers have their real or proxy presence in war torn Syria, they will have their presence in Pakistan in reality or with their proxy militias.
And if we suppose that US will soon leave Afghanistan and Pakistan, we have giant China ready at our gates, ready to engulf us.
To wind up my answer, Pakistan is a failed and corrupt state with its rental army. The future of Pakistan is horrible, but devastation and destruction are our only concern.”
On FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas)
“FATA is one of the volatile regions in the world, it has a history in Afghan and Pakistani Jihad. FATA has very strategic location, from Alexander to British Empire all failed to subjugate these tribes, Alexander was badly injured in war with these tribes and the British Empire’s only fear was these tribes.
FATA has been using as a buffer zone since Pakistan came into being in 1947, in the beginning against Soviet Union to stop the advance of Communism, then in Afghan Jihad, then against the Northern Alliance, then as theater in War on Terror and now Pakistan is thinking of using it as a shield against Afghan National Army and against Indian influence in expected India-Pakistan war.
Pakistan will continue to interfere in FATA, because this is an integral part of the country and has pivotal role in the US led war against Islam. Now government is looking for some options how to merge FATA into national stream, these are to make it an independent province, or merge it with Peshawar or keep it as it is just replacing the FCR law with constitution.”
Referring to full implementation of sharia law in Pakistan
“No one can give the exact time frame of when it can happen, but there are hopes, we are heading towards it. We don’t know whether we will see the spring of the Sharia in our country in our lives or not but we are hope full that if not we then our next generations will Insha’Allah. One should clear this in his mind that what Sharia is? Some brothers assume that Sharia is the name of Islamic courts. Some are of the view that Sharia means Beards and Hijabs and others think lashings and chopping off hands.
All I mentioned is not total Sharia but some parts of Sharia and it is not our ultimate goal. Sharia means the Islamic political system that is Khilafah, the Islamic commercial system that is Interest and tax Free economic system, the Islamic judicial system, the Islamic education system and the Jihadi army instead of defense force.”
On Pakistan Air Force
“Before 9-11, The hypocrisy of Pakistan was in Islamic veil. We were taught in school that Pakistan came into being in the name of Islam, Pakistan means not literally but spiritually LA ILAHA ILULALLAH, Pakistan is a citadel of Islam and Pakistan is land for Muslims to live freely according to teachings of Islam.
We were taught in schools that Jihad is going on in Indian Kashmir, so the zeal of serving an Islamic country took me to Pakistan air force.
After joining the Air Force, what I found there was that Islam is not ruling or running this institution but Islam is being used as a tool to pervert the sentiments of Muslim soldiers for nationalistic cause. I found their British norms were strictly observed and preferred over Islamic life style.
I deserted PAF many times, but the brothers in Jihad made my mind up to join back and prepare men in the military. I came back and my Commanding Officer put me in military jail, after that I started data, and I found a clandestine Jihad organization named IDARA tul Pakistan led by a Junior Commissioned Officer Doctor Khalid (May Allah grant him Jannah).
I joined that organization, we were about 200 soldiers within army, navy and air force. We all were loyal to the then Ameer ul Momineen Mullah Muhammad Umar and took the oath of his allegiance.
The we turned against our own regime, and we planned to assassinate Pervez Musharraf. The attempt failed and we all were arrested, punished by military courts and sent to jails.”
On joining TTP
“I was in death cell when TTP came into being, our Idara tul Pakistan mujahideen were all in jails. TTP announced their allegiance to Mullah Umar too, so I felt no issue working with TTP being in death cell. The TTP leadership was concerned about our detentions. Then finally TTP broke the Bannu prison and proved their promise of releasing the Muslim captives.
After Jail Break I was given an option by Commander Sajna Shaheed of TTP, the master mind of Bannu prison break that you are free to join any Jihadi group in Khorasan. We freed you for sake of Allah, now it’s your choice to work with any organization you like.
The I decided to join TTP as a foot soldier, because TTP is the biggest and strongest Jihadi organization in the Jihad against Pakistani regime.
Believers from around the world are welcome to Khorasan but they should keep in mind that our Jihadi front is Pakistan. We are fighting Pakistani forces and our concentration is upon Jihad in Pakistan. I also want to mention that our war is against the regime not against the people of Pakistan, our mission is to bring Islamic revolution not the destruction of infrastructure and we want to make it front line state for Jihad not against Jihad.
The Muslims of Pakistan support Tehreek Taliban Pakistan and the existence of jihad in Pakistan is the strong proof to it. No movement can sustain its existence without the support of masses.
We are still thousands in number, in the North from Gilgit to Chaman in the south we have our presence on 2500 km long AfPak border and daily we are inflicting the pain to Pakistan army on borders and in side cities.
We manage our finances and man power from Pakistan and this is impossible without public support. And if someone says that media in not speaking good about you and you have no public support then my answer to them is that contemporary media is not our standard nor our friend or sympathizer but tool of our enemies, playing a 5th generation war against us.
On skills needed to be a good mujahid and who to support
“There is a difference between a mujahid and a fighter. Not every soldier or fighter is a mujahid.
There are two type of qualities a mujahid must have. These are spiritual and physical, a mujahid is more spiritual than physical.
The foremost combat is with your own nafs, with yourself. Because nafs will always seduce you to follow desires, lust and comfort. It will malign your intention in one way or another, you are always in a full scale war with your own nafs. So a mujahid must quell his own nafs before anything. A mujahid must abstain himself from every type of sin and doubtful things.
The other qualities are physical, the stronger and fittest mujahid is better than weak and lazy one. The survival techniques and strategic knowledge can make you a conqueror. The political wisdom will help you in winning the hearts of masses. The arts of war will help you in defending your land and people.
I support the mujahideen of Ahle Sunnah Wal Jammah all over the world. I don’t support people of Takfir or mujahideen fighting under the banner of nationalism or taghut.
Muslims in the east and west living in dar ul kufr or else where are our brothers and sister, their blood, wealth and honor is sacred to us. As a Muslim brother I would like to advise them that they should remember the history of Al Andalus, Spain, the catastrophe which fell upon the Muslims living in Balkans after the Fall of Ottoman empire, the plight of Muslims after the Khanate of Bukhara in central Asia and the Fall of Muslim rule in India and history repeats itself.
On TTP and Al Qaeda
“There is no strategic or operational coordination and relationship between Al Qaida and TTP but both factions respect each other on the basis of Islamic brotherhood.
My personal opinion about Al Qaida tul Jihad is that Al Qaida is an ideology more than an organization, which gave a renaissance to Jihad in this century, when there was no Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan there was Al Qaeda. Al- Qaeda also laid the foundation of giving allegiance to one emir. If you find out the roots of any Jihadi movement in this century there is Al Qaeda ideology behind it completely or partially.
My personal view about Jihad is that Jihad is the only way out for the Muslims of the world. Nothing but Jihad can break the status Quo of the world powers. Jihad is the only solution of all problems and conflicts of the Muslim world. Neither Science nor technology, business or economy, roads or industries can take out us from the quagmire of subjugation but only and only Jihad can. Without any sort of offence and defense capability Muslims are like sheep easy prey for the predators.”
“The cause of war in Afghanistan was “Sheikh Osama Bin Laden Rahimahullah”, western Powers wanted to capture him. Islamic Emirate declared him their Muslim brother and guest, so the war between Eman and Kufr began, losing all the kingdom for protection of a Muslim brother is unprecedented in world history.
There is a saying that it is easy to get into Afghanistan but it is hard to get out. Afghanistan is called the “grave yard of empires”. This country has always proved a quagmire for foreign invaders, nobody knows the time frame of this US-Afghan war but everyone believes that Afghans will prevail.
Mujahideen are fighting the world, with simple modest means for justice, defense of their lands and protections of their families against their imperialistic goals.
In Khorasan, all the mujahideen are under the Ba’yah of one Ameer, Mullah Hibatullah Akhund, for the time being as per policy of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, all mujahideen are free to adopt appropriate strategy for their Jihadi fronts. So principally we are under one emir.
It is a wise saying that you can start a war but you cannot end it, now we see western powers started war in Afghanistan but now they cannot end it unless Taliban let them go.”
“I do feel connected to the struggle in Syria. All Muslims are brothers, like one body, and if a part of body is in pain, the whole body is in pain. We must understand the difference between victory and success, and between defeat and failure. We should not connect victory and success together.
The people who were burnt in ditches had lost the battle against the king but they were successful and the victorious king who killed all the faithful failed.
When I see myself and brothers in Syria, I feel myself inferior as they are fighting the world. And being here we are unable to help them. We just hear the news of calamities befall them day and night.
I don’t think I can advise Syrian mujahideen or Leaders but I have some humble suggestions and requests for them.”
No 1: “Unity is strength, here in Khorasan we see Islamic Emirate, one Jihadi organization versus US led and UN backed NATO coalition. US and UN is calling for peace talks; they want to end the war but Taliban are reluctant to give up their conditions.
So this is Quranic principle, Afghan Taliban are acting upon this golden rule and world powers are helpless to bring Taliban to negotiating table.
Taliban are the living example, if Syrian mujahideen follow the golden rule of unity, they can bring world to their feet.”
No 2: “Free and Fear Jihad: Mujahideen in Syria must protect their Jihad from foreign influence, they must not allow their Jihad to be hijacked or controlled by foreign stakeholders.
The hijacked Jihad would never bring you freedom but more chaos and in-fights. The history of Afghan- Soviet Jihad tells us that mujahideen made mistakes, they followed the foreign hands in return for weapons and ammunition. After the defeat of USSR, we saw mujahideen became warlords, some of them became pro Iran, some pro Pakistan, some pro Saudi, and some pro India. The era of 1989 to 1996 was full of anarchy and civil war. So Syrian mujahideen must learn lessons for history.”
No 3: “Avoid Idealism: idealism is something which cannot be real. Sometimes we think beyond the ground realities. We forget that our jihad is still in its infant period, it needs nourishment, we forget that we are still not capable of leading the ummah, we forget that it will take a long time to break status quo of world powers.
We are in too much hurry to see an Islamic state form Indonesia to Spain. This is all idealism.
We must think real, the reality is this, that we have to fight, we have to wage Jihad, the reality is this, that our ranks must be united, the reality is that we must be ready for more and more war until the fitnah ends and the Rule of Allah is implemented.”
No.4: Be Careful about General Public: “Public living inside or outside Mujahideen controlled area should be our concern, our Jihad is for change not for destruction, our Jihad is against corrupt rulers not against public, if we do not care about the lives and properties of public then we will lose the war at our own grounds, the public is like a sea and Mujahideen are like fish, the public is like trees and Mujahideen are like birds, how can a fish survive without water? And how birds can survive without trees?
This is one of the strategies of the enemy to isolate Mujahideen from general public, then it is easy for them to target Mujahideen. So Mujahideen must put an effort in to win the hearts and minds of general masses with Islamic virtues, tolerance, respect, good code of conduct and welfare projects.
Harassing them with weapons, humiliating them for not fighting with you side by side, labelling them as munafiq or spies without the decision of a court of law would bring you defeat on your own soil.”
No.5: Reprisal: “We must keep in mind that our every action good or bad would have influence on our brothers and sisters around the world. We must think wisely before taking such steps which reaction can befall if not upon us but on our brothers and sisters in faith somewhere in the world. Actions, which if we avoid would bring no harm to our Jihad or Islam.
For example, if we destroy or convert the church or synagogue in our conquered land then what should we expect for our mosques in our enemy controlled area?
If we make the women of our enemy concubines, then what o we deserve for our women in their territory?
If we burn their sacred books, we may see Quran burning in reprisal and if we abuse their deities, and they Speak against our true Lord, then who is giving them a chance.
One should object that our enemies are already doing such actions, yes off course they are doing these things but my point being, what they do, we should not be one who triggers it.”
So what is the future for Rasheed? His initial role in TTP was to head up a Taliban unit Ansar Al-Aseer tasked with freeing prisoners. He is currently involved in the charitable support of widows and children and has expressed an interest in developing his own media. Whether he continues with TTP or branches out alone to pursue other interests remains to be seen.
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Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a former Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.