Pakistan: Well-off women run ISIS fundraising network

2015-12-21 18:35


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Karachi - Police in Pakistan's port city of Karachi said on Monday they were hunting a network of women from well-off families acting as fundraisers for the Islamic State group, highlighting the outfit's growing appeal among the country's middle-classes.

Raja Umar Khattab, chief of the Counter Terrorism Department of Sindh province said the hunt was launched after police arrested the suspected financier of a gun attack on a bus that left 44 people dead in May.

The attack on the bus, which was carrying members of the city's Shi'ite Ismaili minority, was the first inside Pakistan officially claimed by the Islamic State group, which has proclaimed a "Caliphate" over territory it has seized in Iraq and Syria and is seeking to expand its global reach.

Khattab said the suspect, who was arrested last week, confessed to police that his wife had established a religious organisation in the city called "Al Zikra Academy".

"The academy has no organisational structure or offices," Khattab told AFP.

"A group of 20 women, all from well-off families, distributed USBs [computer memory sticks] containing Islamic State videos, and also preached in support of terror organisations. They also arranged marriages among the group's followers," he added.

He said the group collected funds for terrorists in the name of Islamic charity which were later handed over to the accused.

"The wife and mother-in-law of the main suspect of the carnage, Saad Aziz, were also part of the network," he added.

Aziz, a graduate of one of the country's top business schools, was blamed by police for both the massacre and the shooting of peace activist Sabeen Mahmud in April.

Khattab added that efforts were being made to track and arrest the women.

For over a decade Pakistan has been waging a war against homegrown Islamist fighters that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians.

The fighting has been led mainly by al-Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban and its affiliates, though there are signs that the appeal of ISIS is growing among affluent and educated classes who are motivated more by the idea of global jihad than local causes.

Islamabad denies ISIS is a major threat, though the police chief of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, told a parliamentary standing committee in October that ISIS was behind the bus attack and that 14 people had been arrested over their alleged links to ISIS.

Read more on:    isis  |  pakistan

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.