Pakistani Taliban call for jihad in Myanmar

Pakistani Taliban call for jihad in Myanmar
Members of the Pakistani Taliban pose for a picture in an undated file photo.
PHOTO: Reuters

ISLAMABAD - The Pakistani Taliban on Monday urged Muslims in Myanmar to rise up and fight against the country's rulers, saying the militants' resources and training facilities were available to help them "take up the sword".

Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the hardline Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement said they "shared the grief" of Myanmar's beleaguered Rohingya Muslim minority.

Myanmar refuses to recognise the majority of its 1.3 million Rohingya as citizens and places a raft of restrictions on them, such as family size, movements and access to jobs.

The country's impoverished western state of Rakhine has become a tinderbox of tension between the Buddhist majority and the Rohingya, many of whom live in displacement camps after deadly unrest erupted in 2012.

"I address Burma's youth: take up the sword and kill in the path of God. No doubt, God is with us," Ehsan said in an audio message sent to media.

"Our (training) centres, our resources, training, people, everything is available to provide comfort to you."

The TTP has killed thousands of people in its bloody fight against the Pakistani state since 2007 but has rarely shown much interest in taking its struggle beyond the country's borders.

But the Rohingya issue is beginning to stir public opinion in Pakistan.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reportedly set up a special committee to suggest what Pakistan can do to help the Rohingya, and on Sunday protesters burned the Myanmar flag in the central city of Multan.

Ehsan said "protest demonstrations, processions, marches, condemnation resolutions" had little impact, saying only jihad, or holy war, would make the Myanmar rulers take notice.

The TTP has been on the back foot since the military began a major offensive against its hideouts in June last year.

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