Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan

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Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan
سپاہ صحابہ
IdeologyAnti-Shi'ism, Deobandi fundamentalism
Motive(s)Extermination of the Shia community in Pakistan
LeadersHaq Nawaz Jhangvi 
Isar-ul-Haq Qasmi 
Azam Tariq 
Ali Sher Haidri 
Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi
Aurangzaib Farooqi
Area of operationsPakistan
Split toLashkar-e-Jhangvi (1996), Jaish-e-Mohammed (2000), Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (2007)
Alliesal-Qaeda, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, other terrorist groups,
State allies[1][2][3]
 Saudi Arabia,
 United States
 Pakistan (heavily under Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s rule)
Opponent(s)Shi’a Muslim civilians
Designated as a terrorist organisation by
 United Kingdom (in 2001)
 United States (in April 2005)
 Pakistan (multiple times including its clones, partially unbanned in 2018)

Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP — Guardians of the Prophet's Companions), renamed to Millat-e-Islamia and now known as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, is a Deobandi Muslim organisation in Pakistan, which also functioned as a political party. It broke away from the main Deobandi Sunni organisation Jamiatul Ulema-e-Islam in 1985. Established in Jhang by Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, it aims to "counter the Shia Muslim influence in Pakistan", which they allege has increased in the wake of the Iranian Revolution.[4][5][6] Its victims are innocent Shia civilians, the learned such as lawyers, doctors, poets, pilgrims, and the religious and secular Shia community leaders. From 2008 to 2012 alone, around 800 Shia civilians were killed, however, the number is gross underestimation.[7]

The organisation was banned by President Pervez Musharraf in 2002 as a terrorist organisation under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. [5][6] In March 2012, the government of Pakistan banned Sipah-e-Sahaba again.[8][9] The government of the United Kingdom banned the group earlier in 2001.[10].

On 26 June 2018, before Election 2018 Govt Pakistan lifted ban on Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan.[11] [12][13]


Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan was formed in 1985 by Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, Zia-ur-Rehman Farooqi, Isar-ul-Haq Qasmi and Azam Tariq in 1985 originally as Anjuman Sipah-e-Sahaba in Jhang, Pakistan.[14][15][16] The original purpose was to fight Shi'ite landlords dominance in Jhang and surrounding areas in a majority Sunni population.[14] Later, they became violent and started to attack Shi'ite Muslims.[14] From 1980s, they are involved in various terrorist activities and murder of thousands of Shi'ites. They are operating all over Pakistan and are politically active having large vote bank in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).[14] They are widely organized and have more than five hundred offices throughout country.[14]

In 1996, many left the group and formed another organization Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).[14]

In 2002, Pervez Musharraf government declared the group as terrorist organization and was banned.[14] However later, they renamed it and launched it under the name of Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan.[14] They were again banned in 2003.[14] After the death of Azam Tariq , Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi was selected as the president.

A leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba was a minister in the coalition Government in Punjab in 1993 and the group has held seats in the Pakistan National Assembly.[6][15]

When Jhangvi was assassinated in 1990 by presumed Shi'a militants, Zia-ur Rehman Farooqi assumed leadership of the group. Zia-ur-Rehman Farooqi died in a bomb explosion on January 19, 1997 at the Lahore Session Court.[15] After his death, Azam Tariq led the group until October 2003, when he was also killed in an attack widely attributed to the militant Shi'a organization Sipah-e-Muhammad, along with four others.[6][15]

Its leader (sarparast-aala) Ali Sher Haideri was killed in an ambush in 2009.[17] Then Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi was selected as sarparast-e-aala while Allama Auranzaib Farooqi as the president of the organization. [18][19]


As of 2005, the organization boasts 500 offices and branches in all 34 districts of Punjab. It also has approximately 100,000 registered workers in Pakistan and 17 branches in foreign countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Canada and the United Kingdom.[20]


  • In 1996 elements within the Sipah-e-Sahaba who did not believe the organisation violent enough left to form the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.[15]
  • In October 2000, Masood Azhar, founder of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed, was quoted as saying that "Sipah-e-Sahaba stands shoulder to shoulder with Jaish-e-Muhammad in Jihad."[15] A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable described it as another Sipah-e-Sahaba breakaway Deobandi organisation."[21]
  • A diplomatic cable, originally dated October 23, 2009 and later leaked to the media, from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad indicated that Qari Hussain, a leading militant of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, had roots in the defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba and that many of the Taliban’s foot soldiers are from Sipah-e-Sahaba ranks.[21]
  • According to Animesh Roul, Ahle-Sunnat-Wal-Jamat is a front group for SSP, and is also banned in Pakistan.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A report in the mid 1990’s disclosed that the Saudi government had consistently backed the Deobandi school of thought in Pakistan (which has many similarities to the Wahhabi version of Islam), especially after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. The report also claimed that the United States and some other western countries supported the SSP to counter the growing Shi’a and Iranian influence in the region. The information was published in the daily Nation, 20 January 1995 quoting a confidential report of the Home Department of Punjab. Rehman Faiz quoted in Qalandar: Islam and Interfaith Relations in South Asia, April 2004.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Tan, Andrew T .H. (2010), Politics of Terrorism: A Survey, Routledge, p. 214, ISBN 978-1-136-83336-6
  5. ^ a b B. Raman, "Musharraf's Ban: An Analysis", South Asia Analysis Group , Paper no. 395, 18 January 2002
  6. ^ a b c d "Pakistan: The Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), including its activities and status" Archived 2012-11-20 at the Wayback Machine, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 26 July 2005
  7. ^
  8. ^ Hasan, Syed Shoaib (2012-03-09). "Pakistan bans Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaat Islamist group". BBC News. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  9. ^ "Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan". SATP. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Police probe Scottish mosque figures' links to banned sectarian group". BBC News Online. 31 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Govt lifts ban on ASWJ, unfreezes assets of its chief Ahmed Ludhianvi". The Express Tribune. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Pakistan removes ASWJ leader Ahmed Ludhianvi from terrorist watchlist". Samaa TV. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Pakistan removes radical Sunni leader Maulana Ludhianvi from terrorist watchlist ahead of election". 28 June 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2019. External link in |website= (help)
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) -". Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan".
  16. ^ Sohail Mahmood (1995). Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan, Egypt and Iran. Vanguard. p. 434. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Leader of banned Pakistan militant group shot dead". 17 August 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2019 – via
  18. ^ "ASWJ local leader killed in Rawalpindi, central leader attacked in Karachi".
  19. ^ Azeem, Kalbe Ali (29 March 2017). "Ludhianvi hopeful of ASWJ's 'unbanning'". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 11 January 2019. Text " Munawer" ignored (help)
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b "2009: Southern Punjab extremism battle between haves and have-nots". Dawn Media Group. 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  22. ^ Roul, Animesh (June 26, 2015). "Growing Islamic State Influence in Pakistan Fuels Sectarian Violence". Terrorism Monitor. 13 (13). Retrieved 30 June 2015.