Pakistani Taliban Threatens Burma Over Rohingya Violence

By The Irrawaddy 27 July 2012

The Pakistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) released an official statement on Wednesday calling on the Pakistani government to cut its relations with Burma and shut down the Burmese embassy in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, according to an AFP report.

“Otherwise we will not only attack Burmese interests anywhere but will also attack the Pakistani fellows of Burma one by one,” it said.

The Pakistani Taliban said such acts would be reprisals for alleged state-sponsored murders of Muslim Rohingyas during sectarian violence in Burma’s western Arakan State during the past two months.

Speaking of perceived atrocities committed against Burma’s Rohingya community, Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the TTP, said in the statement: “We will avenge your blood.”

Neither the Burmese embassy in Islamabad or Bangkok was available for comment nor was the president’s office in Naypyidaw.

However, Zaw Htay, a staffer in President Thein Sein’s office, posted on Facebook (under the name Hmuu Zaw) that the president had already released a statement about the Rohingya issue when he met with UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres in Naypyidaw.

On July 11, Burma’s presidential office stated that “It is impossible for Burma to accept people who are not ethnic to the country and who have entered illegally.”

The statement said that the Burmese government “will hand over responsibility for the Rohingya minority to the UN’s refugee agency in Arakan State,” adding that it is also “willing to send the Rohingyas to any third country that will accept them.”

The UNHCR rejected the offer to resettle the Rohingya community the following day. Guterres told reporters at a press conference in Rangoon that the UN’s resettlement program is totally unrelated to the situation in western Arakan State.

An unknown number of people have died, but an estimated 90,000 have been affected by the violence that erupted between Rohingya Muslims and Arakanese Buddhists in early June.

Several other Islamic groups have also issued statements condemning the violence, though only the Pakistani Taliban threatened violence.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan—more commonly known as the Afghan Taliban, a separate military unit from the TTP—issued a statement on its website on July 20 in which it said that Muslims in Burma were facing acts of “oppression and savagery.” It called on the international community and human rights groups, as well as foreign governments—primarily in the Arab world—to take immediate action.

The Global Islamic Media Front, a mouthpiece for international terrorist organization al-Qaeda, highlighted the brutal murder of Muslim pilgrims by a Rakhine mob in Taungup Township in southern Arakan State on June 3, and referred to the subsequent events as a “genocide against Muslims.” It also condemned the Bangladeshi government for refusing sanctuary to Rohingya refugees.

On July 23, Lebanese Islamic organization Hezbollah released a statement saying that it “deplored the merciless carnages” targeting Muslims in Burma.

The statements by Islamic groups and militants follows condemnation by Muslim nations at large of the Burmese government’s handling of the crisis.

Recently, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) wrote to Burmese President Thein Sein, urging him to address the plight of the Rohingya community in accordance with the accepted practices of international human rights.

In the letter, OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu sought assurances from the Burmese president for the safety and security of the Rohingyas as citizens of the country, and called for an end to all intimidation and oppression against them.

Ihsanoglu also called on Thein Sein to take appropriate steps to carry out prompt and effective investigations of the alleged atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims since June 3, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The recent violence in Arakan State began with the rape and murder in May of a Buddhist Arakanese girl, allegedly by three Rohingya Muslims. In response, a Buddhist mob killed 10 Muslims on June 3, leading to intense violence between Rohingyas and Arakanese.


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The Irrawaddy Team