Pakistani militants fighting one jihad for many reasons

Tom Hussain, Foreign Correspondent

Last Updated: January 29. 2010 12:18AM UAE / January 28. 2010 8:18PM GMT

Religious schools are one of the means – but far from the only one – by which jihadists are recruited. Khalid Tanveer / AP Photo

LAHORE // A year ago, in the central industrial city of Gujranwala, a gentle, thoughtful giant of a man named Asim Goraya agreed to arrange meetings for The National with local representatives of Lashkar-i-Taiba, the militant group accused of carrying out the November 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai.

However, Goraya had little in common with LiT. Rather than spend his days plotting the destruction of India and the United States, he believed in a romanticised jihad that was a duty for practising Muslims and involved fighting only the non-Muslim powers occupying Muslim lands.

That sense of duty led him to run away in 1980 from home at the age of 12 to join the jihad against the Soviet forces then occupying Afghanistan; he got as far as a training camp in the north-west Khyber tribal agency before his father tracked him down four days later and took him home. Continue reading