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Expat jihadis worry Pak watchers

The emergence of non-traditional recruits from jihadi groups has left many Pakistan-watchers worried, with one saying that this may be something that “would eventually blow up in our face.” Kamal Siddiqi reports.

world Updated: Nov 23, 2009 01:05 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

The emergence of non-traditional recruits from jihadi groups has left many Pakistan-watchers worried, with one saying that this may be something that “would eventually blow up in our face.”

Analysts across the board have expressed worry over the recruitment of Westerners by jihadi outfits. Political analyst Zahid Husain, however, said these recruitments were “not a recent thing” and that pockets of sympathy for such organisations did exist in the West.

But, Husain said investigations into which organisations were doing this were still under way and there was a lot of confusion. “Take the case of Headley. Some say he works for LeT, others say he was being supervised by Ilyas Kashmiri. These are two different organisations with distinctly different goals.”

Analyst Shamim Ur Rehman said the such groups may be on the defensive but are changing their tactics. This view was also shared by other analysts who said with military action growing against terror groups in Pakistan, they had a need to push the retaliation beyond the Pakistani borders.

But not all those who get caught are guilty of terrorism. Former Pakistan Ambassador to Italy, Zafar Hilaly, told HT that in the case of the father and son arrested this week in Italy, “the chances are that they have been caught for some technical violation and that they themselves may not necessarily have been part of a larger terrorist network.”