NACTA has so far, listed 69 organizations and their splinter outfits which have been notified as proscribed under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
Facing growing pressure from Iran, Pakistan decided to ban Jeish al-Adl as a terrorist group.
NACTA announced that measures will be adopted against the groups whose activities are banned in Pakistan, adding that the terrorists cannot use the country’s territories as a hideout.
Jeish al-Adl, a Pakistan-based radical Wahhabi terrorist group staging cross border attacks into Southeastern Iran from South-West Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the February 13 attack against members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in Iran which killed 27 IRGC personnel.
The group has bases in Southwestern Pakistan and started operations nearly 6 years ago after recruiting the remnants of Jundullah notorious terrorist group and reorganizing them. Iran had captured leaders of Jundullah notorious Wahhabi terrorist group and dismantled the terrorist organization years earlier.
The terror attack has stirred fury among Iranian officials, specially the military brass. On February 19, Military Aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi lashed out at Pakistani Intelligence service’s backing for terrorists, advising Islamabad and its intelligence apparatuses that Saudi Arabia is not a reliable partner.
Speaking in Iranian central city of Isfahan, General Safavi said that the Pakistani government and its intelligence service have to respond to the Iranian nation and government, holding Islamabad responsible for the recent terrorist attack in Sistan and Baluchistan.
Meantime, General Safavi reiterated that Iran wants to have good relations with its neighbors as it believes that insecurity in the region only serves the interests of the United States and Zionists who had gathered in Warsaw conference, but vowed that Iran and the IRGC would give a “crushing and proper response in due time to the provocateurs and puppet perpetrators of the terrorist attack against the IRGC”.
Also on February 16, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari warned Riyadh and Abu Dhabi of Iran’s revenge for the terrorist attack, and blasted Pakistan for supporting the terrorist groups which act against Tehran.
“The traitor governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE should know that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s patience has run out and the Islamic Republic will not tolerate your secret supports for the Takfiri grouplets. We will take revenge for our martyrs from the UAE and Saudi governments and want the president to give us more free hands than the past for retaliatory operations,” General Jafari said in the Central city of Isfahan, addressing the burial ceremony of the IRGC personnel killed in the terrorist attack.
He said that the Saudi and UAE intelligence agencies were clearly hatching different plots to foment insecurity in Southeastern Iran in addition to the US and Israeli plots to create insecurity and conduct assassination operations, noting that Iran has reliable intel in this regard.
General Jafari also asked the Pakistani army and intelligence body why their country was sheltering Takfiri groups, including Jeish al-Adl which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, and noted, “We believe this silence is kind of support for this grouplet and the Pakistani intelligence organization should account for it.”
“Pakistan should also know that it should pay the cost for the Pakistani intelligence organization’s support for Jeish al-Zolm (as Jeish al-Adl is called in Iran) from now on and this price will not doubt be very heavy for them,” he added.
“Undoubtedly, the Pakistani security organization knows the hideout of the grouplets but it has kept mum,” General Jafari said.
Also on February 21, Commander of the IRGC Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani warned the Islamabad government to stop cross-border attacks by the terrorists based in neighboring Pakistan.
“We have always offered Pakistan help in the region, but I have this question from the Pakistani government: where are you heading to? You have caused unrest along borders with all your neighbors and do you have any other neighbor left that you want to stir insecurity for,” General Soleimani said, addressing a ceremony in the Northern Iranian city of Babol in Mazandaran province.
Addressing the Pakistani government, General Soleimani asked, “Are you, who have atomic bombs, unable to destroy a terrorist group with several hundred members in the region? How many of your own people have been killed in different terrorist operations? We do not want your condolences, how could your condolence help the people of Iran?”
General Soleimani went on to say, “I tell the Pakistani people that the Saudi cash has influenced Pakistan and they want to destroy Pakistan with such measures.”
He warned that the Pakistani Army should not let several billion dollars of “a Saudi criminal” burn alive Muslims on a bus and finance other terrorist operations in the region, and said, “I ask the Pakistani government what has been left for Pakistan?”
“I warn you not to test Iran and anyone who has tested Iran has received firm response. We are speaking to Pakistan with a friendly tone and we are telling that country not to allow their borders to become a source of insecurity for the neighboring countries; anyone who has made this plot for Pakistan is seeking to disintegrate that country, the Islamic Republic of Iran will take revenge of its martyrs from those mercenaries who have committed this crime no matter where they are in the world,” General Soleimani added. “We will punish this wicked group in any part of the world and we will not allow the blood of our youth to be shed in the country and cleaned (and forgotten) easily.”
The US officials have repeatedly stressed that they would take every possible measure to pressure Tehran, including support for groups operating against Iran. The incident came hours before the start of a US-sponsored security conference against Iran in Warsaw, Poland.
In mid October, Jeish al-Adl group abducted 14 Iranian Basijis (volunteer forces) and border guards at Mirjaveh border in Southeastern Sistan-Balouchestan province. Five were released a month later on November 15.
The IRGC Ground Force then blamed foreign intelligence services for supporting and assisting the terrorist group.
Jeish al-Adl also abducted five Iranian border guards in Jakigour region of Sistan and Balouchestan Province and took them to Pakistan in 2014. After two months of abduction, four of them were released and the fifth one was killed. His body was returned to Iran months later.
Then early in March, 2015, Pakistani sources told the country’s media that authorities in Southwestern Pakistan had arrested the ringleader of Jeish al-Adl terrorist group as he was traveling on a bus from the lawless border area.
Salam Rigi, cousin of the Jundollah terrorist group’s ringleader Abdolmalek Rigi, was seized by Pakistani authorities who were tipped off to his movements and intercepted the bus some 50 km from Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Baluchistan, a security official said on the condition of anonymity.
Salam Rigi was accused of involvement in suicide bombings in Iran and Pakistan, as well as sending terrorists to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
Other sources said the terrorist arrested was Abdo-Sattar Rigi (Abdolmalek’s brother), explaining that he was carrying his cousin’s ID card at the time of arrest, but further investigations revealed his true identity.
Later reports proved that the captured terrorist was Abdo-Sattar Rigi.
Abdo-Sattar (the third of the notorious Rigi brothers) headed the Jeish al-Nasr terrorist group, but his cousin Salam leads Jeish al-Adl.
Abdo-Sattar’s two older brothers, Abdolmalek and Abdolhamid Rigi, who led the more powerful terrorist group, Jundollah, were both captured and condemned to death by Iran earlier.
In early 2009, Abdolhamid Rigi, the Jundullah terrorist group’s number two man and brother of its ringleader Abdolmalek Rigi, was arrested by Iranian security forces.
Abdolhamid had conducted a number of bombing operations and other violent attacks in Iran resulting in many casualties and was sentenced to death by the court in 2009, but his execution was delayed on several occasions. Officials did not mention any specific reason for the delayed execution of Abdolhamid at the time.
Iran arrested Abdolmalek Rigi, the number one man of the Jundollah terrorist group in late February 2011. Abdolmalek was executed in June 2011.
Iranian military and police officials voice concern over the presence of terrorist groups in Pakistan’s territories, criticizing the Pakistani army and border police’s lax control over shared borders.
The two sides’ state and military officials have exchanged frequent visits to enhance anti-terrorism cooperation specially in border regions. In early December, top security officials from Iran and Pakistan met in Iran’s Southeastern city of Zahedan to hold the 22nd joint meeting on border cooperation between the two countries.
Late in October, Commander of the IRGC Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour announced his forces’ preparedness to launch joint operations against the terrorists who abducted the Iranian border guards in Southeastern Iran.
“We have had different contacts with the Pakistani army and urged them to guarantee extradition of the outlaws and healthiness of the abductees and they should show more responsibility,” General Pakpour said, referring to the fate of the 9 border guards that are still kept by Jeish Al-Adl.
“These terrorists have a stronghold and a base on Pakistan’s soil and we are prepared for any joint operations with the Pakistani army against the outlaws to release the hostages,” he added.