Militants Turn Against Pakistan’s JUI-F Islamist Party
By: Zia Ur Rehman
Jamiat-i-Ulama-i-Islam-Fazlur (JUI-F) is one of the leading Islamist political parties in Pakistan. The JUI-F is considered ideologically similar to the Taliban, and the party is popular in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Yet in the past four years, several activists and leaders of the JUI-F have been targeted and killed in KP and FATA by unidentified Islamist militants. Even the JUI-F’s right-wing leader, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, has been targeted in two failed assassination attempts.
Although no group has claimed credit for the attacks, analysts believe that the operations have been executed by irreconcilable Pakistani militant groups that disapprove of the JUI-F’s “appeasement” policies. These include the JUI-F’s decision to support the present ruling coalition in Islamabad, which is carrying out military operations against Pakistani Taliban groups in FATA, as well as the party’s reported attempts to engage the United States on peace talks for the war in Afghanistan.