A group called the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack at Lahore on Sunday in which nearly 60 persons were killed. The JuA is an outfit which had broken away from the Tehrik-e-Taliban or the Pakistan Taliban in 2014 while pledging support to the ISIS.
The ideology of the JuA is today similar to the ISIS and the attacks at Lahore on Sunday were a clear indicator of the same.
They had made it clear that the attacks were carried out to target Christians as yesterday was Easter. The focus of the JuA has always remained on creating an Islamic state.
Inspired by the ISIS
The JuA was formed after it broke away from the Pakistan Taliban. It was formed under the control of Omar Khalid Khorasani who was known to be close to the al-Qaeda earlier.
However today the group has changed course and after seeing the success of the ISIS, it had decided not only to support it, but also implement its ideology in Pakistan.
When the faction was formed, Khorasani had said that the Pakistan Taliban had become very indisciplined. Due to factional fighting within the Pakistan Taliban and ideological differences, we have decided to form the JuA, Khorasani had also said.
Khorasani had always been an ideologically driven man. However many had doubted whether the JuA could get close to the ISIS considering Khorasani's close association with the al-Qaeda. Khorasani however realised that the al-Qaeda was a fading outfit and the sooner, he pledged support to the ISIS, the better it would be.
The job of getting closer to the ISIS was done by his Maulana Qasim Khorasani.
Khorasani had always argued that the fight should be to install an Islamic state. He was clearly unhappy with the manner in which the Pakistan Taliban was fighting the battle. He felt that the Pakistan Taliban was more interested in gaining control over the tribal belts rather than install an Islamic state in Pakistan.
Khorasani had often urged the Pakistan Taliban to set up an Islamic state and said that the emergence of the same in the region must happen from Pakistan before spreading to the rest of Asia.
The attack at Lahore conveyed a loud and clear message. While the Pakistan government continued to insist that Christians were not the target, the JuA countered that statement.
The ISIS too has been targeting Christians largely with the intention of sending a message that Islam is superior. This is a part of their propaganda in a bid to unite the Islamic world.
This attack should not just worry Pakistan but the rest of Asia. Khorasani's words were clear when he said the rise of the Islamic State must begin in Pakistan and spread to the rest of Asia.