The light engineering factories in Gujranwala are linked to militants' financing.
The light engineering factories in Gujranwala are linked to militants' financing.

Steel town that's home to militants

GUJRANWALA, Pakistan // A government clampdown on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a Pakistani Islamist charity banned by the United Nations after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, has effectively cut off Lashkar-i-Taiba militants in India-administered Kashmir, investigations reveal. A series of interviews and field visits to key locations have fingered Gujranwala, an industrial city 60km west of Lahore, as the prime recruitment ground for Lashkar militants since the early 1990s. The Lashkar, and subsequently Jamaat, were headquartered at Muridke, about halfway between Gujranwala and Lahore on the historic Grand Trunk Road. "Whenever news of a major operation against Indian forces in Kashmir is reported, you can be sure young men from Gujranwala were at the forefront," said a factory owner and financier of the Jamaat, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Gujranwala and its surrounding rural areas were selected as a focal point because of a coincidence of demographic factors. The urban population is dominated by ethic Kashmiris, who migrated there in a series of Muslim refugee movements between 1885 and 1949; the dates mark the establishment of Hindu Dogra rule in Kashmir and the UN-negotiated ceasefire between India and Pakistan that partitioned the state into two countries. The surrounding rural areas, renowned as the growing centre of Basmati rice, are dominated by various clans of the indigenous Punjabi Jatt tribe. In addition to farming skills, the Gujranwala Jatts are notorious for their machismo and propensity for violence, consistently making the district one of Pakistan's most murderous. Another Jamaat financier said the Jatts' bloodletting tendencies coincided with the strongman traditions of urban Kashmiris, criminal gangs of which frequently fight gun battles for territory in town. However, respect for each other's power and jurisdiction has prevented the two communities from ever clashing. "What the Lashkar did was successfully marry the inherited sense of oppression of physically strong young Kashmiris with the propensity to armed violence of their Jatt neighbours by giving them a collective sense of purpose," he said. The final factor was the ready availability of financing from the conservative local business community, predominantly from the Punjabi Mughal steel-working clan, which owns most of the city's light engineering factories. Jamaat financiers and activists were happy to confirm the link between the two organisations, explaining the emergence of the Lashkar in the historical context of the upsurge of militant activity in Indian Kashmir after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. The Lashkar emerged as a major factor in the Kashmir insurgency after the failure of Pakistan-backed mujahideen groups, prominently the Hezb-i-Islami faction led by Gulbadin Hekmatyar (now a Taliban ally in north-east Afghanistan), to form a sustainable ruling coalition in Afghanistan. That failure cost Mr Hekmatyar's Pakistani supporter, the Jamaat-i-Islami, operational leadership of a quasi-official campaign to undermine Indian rule. However, the subsequent splintering of militants into ever-radical factions, and the spiralling collateral cost that followed, created a political vacuum that was filled by the creation of the Lashkar-i-Taiba. Recruitment activity by the Lashkar, supported by the airing on Pakistan television of plays romanticising the insurgency (but careful to portray fighters as indigenous residents of Indian Kashmir), peaked in Gujranwala in the early- to mid-1990s. It was about that time that recruiting, indoctrination and military training centres started despatching units of men in their early 20s across the so-called Line of Control. One such centre was the village of Gondalanwala, on the fringe of the Gujranwala urban sprawl. Previously notorious as a narcotics distribution centre for local pushers, it was cleaned up by returning Kashmir insurgency veterans affiliated with the Lashkar at the urging of fed-up community leaders. Lashkar preachers roped in the idle young population and in 1995 infiltrated a unit of about 20 militants across the Line of Control. All were later killed in battles with Indian security forces and buried locally, earning the village the local nickname of Shaheedaan Wallah Pind (village of martyrs). Lashkar activity became increasingly covert in the late 1990s, as civilian governments led by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif withdrew material support for the Kashmir insurgency, under pressure from the West, with infiltration practically tailing off by 2000, said a local Jamaat commander. The banning of the Lashkar in 2001, after it was blamed by India for an armed attack on the parliament building in New Delhi, led to its bifurcation, with the Jamaat acting as a fund-raising and logistical support arm that popularised itself locally through charitable and disaster relief work, most impressively after the 2005 earthquake that struck northern Pakistan and Kashmir. Notably, the Jamaat avoided antagonising the religiously liberal majority population of the area by refraining from proselytising hardline Islamist views. Instead, it quietly lobbied the local business community, surfacing in public only during Ramadan to appeal for charitable contributions. The donated cash and gold would be used to finance logistical reinforcement of Lashkar militants in Indian Kashmir, via farmstead centres such as the recently deserted one at Gondalanwala. Financiers claim that a hard core of several thousand Lashkar militants from Gujranwala remains in India-administered Kashmir, but passion for the fight is waning without propaganda support from the government and material support from the military. Families of young militants who have survived a guerrilla existence of up to six years have also tired of the fight; several high-profile veterans have in the last year been persuaded to return home to marry, and have subsequently emigrated to the West to avoid detention by security agencies. However, the Gujranwala nexus of Jamaat-ud-Dawa activists and businessmen are adamant that Lashkar militants were not involved in the Mumbai terrorist attacks; their reactions to questions range from furrow-browed annoyance to innocent-faced expressions of surprise. "Our fight is against Indian forces in Kashmir," said the factory owner and financier who did not want his identity revealed. "We are realistic and understand that we can't liberate Indian Kashmir. We don't even want that, because we know a free Kashmir would become another mêlée of competing militants like Afghanistan did in the 1990s. Our agenda is to end oppression - if the Indians stop, so will we."


Crystal Palace 0 Manchester City 2

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Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 


Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

When: April 25, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 1, Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid

The Kitchen

Director: Daniel Kaluuya, Kibwe Tavares

Stars: Kane Robinson, Jedaiah Bannerman, Hope Ikpoku Jnr, Fiona Marr

Rating: 3/5 


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)


Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder
Power: 101hp
Torque: 135Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Price: From Dh79,900
On sale: Now

UAE tour of the Netherlands

UAE squad: Rohan Mustafa (captain), Shaiman Anwar, Ghulam Shabber, Mohammed Qasim, Rameez Shahzad, Mohammed Usman, Adnan Mufti, Chirag Suri, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Mohammed Naveed, Amjad Javed, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed
Fixtures and results:
Monday, UAE won by three wickets
Wednesday, 2nd 50-over match
Thursday, 3rd 50-over match


2.30pm: Park Avenue – Conditions (PA) Dh80,000 (Dirt) 2,000m; Winner: Rb Seqondtonone, Abdul Aziz Al Balushi (jockey), Helal Al Alawi (trainer)

3.05pm: Al Furjan – Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,200m; Winner: Bosphorus, Dane O’Neill, Bhupat Seemar

3.40pm: Mina – Rated Condition (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,600m; Winner: Royal Mews, Tadhg O’Shea, Bhupat Seemar

4.15pm: Aliyah – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (T) 1,900m; Winner: Ursa Minor, Ray Dawson, Ahmad bin Harmash

4.50pm: Riviera Beach – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 2,200m; Winner: Woodditton, Saif Al Balushi, Ahmad bin Harmash

5.25pm: Riviera – Handicap (TB) Dh2,000 (T) 2,000m; Winner: Al Madhar, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

6pm: Creek Views – Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Al Salt, Dane O’Neill, Erwan Charpy

Dates for the diary

To mark Bodytree’s 10th anniversary, the coming season will be filled with celebratory activities:

  • September 21 Anyone interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor can sign up for a 250-hour course in Yoga Teacher Training with Jacquelene Sadek. It begins on September 21 and will take place over the course of six weekends.
  • October 18 to 21 International yoga instructor, Yogi Nora, will be visiting Bodytree and offering classes.
  • October 26 to November 4 International pilates instructor Courtney Miller will be on hand at the studio, offering classes.
  • November 9 Bodytree is hosting a party to celebrate turning 10, and everyone is invited. Expect a day full of free classes on the grounds of the studio.
  • December 11 Yogeswari, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher, will be visiting the studio.
  • February 2, 2018 Bodytree will host its 4th annual yoga market.

All times UAE (+4 GMT)

Atletico Madrid v Sevilla (3pm)
Alaves v Real Madrid (6.15pm)
Malaga v Athletic Bilbao (8.30pm)
Girona v Barcelona (10.45pm)

Espanyol v Deportivo la Coruna (2pm)
Getafe v Villarreal (6.15pm)
Eibar v Celta Vigo (8.30pm)
Las Palmas v Leganes (8.30pm)
Real Sociedad v Valencia (10.45pm)

Real Betis v Levante (

Where to buy and try:

Nutritional yeast


Organic Foods & Café

Bulletproof coffee

Wild & The Moon


Comptoir 102


Organic Foods & Café

Charcoal drinks and dishes

Various juice bars, including Comptoir 102

Bridgewater Tavern

3 Fils


Supermarkets across the UAE

How it works

1) The liquid nanoclay is a mixture of water and clay that aims to convert desert land to fertile ground

2) Instead of water draining straight through the sand, it apparently helps the soil retain water

3) One application is said to last five years

4) The cost of treatment per hectare (2.4 acres) of desert varies from $7,000 to $10,000 per hectare 

The specs: 2018 Audi Q5/SQ5

Price, base: Dh183,900 / Dh249,000
Engine: 2.0L, turbocharged in-line four-cylinder /  3.0L, turbocharged V6
Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic / Eight-speed automatic
Power: 252hp @ 5,000rpm / 354hp @ 5,400rpm
Torque: 370Nm @ 1,600rpm / 500Nm @ 1,370rpm
Fuel economy: combined 7.2L / 100km / 8.3L / 100km

The biog

Favourite Emirati dish: Fish machboos

Favourite spice: Cumin

Family: mother, three sisters, three brothers and a two-year-old daughter

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One

Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Pom Klementieff, Simon Pegg
Rating: 4/5

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

The Beekeeper

Director: David Ayer 

Starring: Jason Statham, Josh Hutcherson, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Minnie Driver, Jeremy Irons

Rating: 3/5

Mountain Boy

Director: Zainab Shaheen

Starring: Naser Al Messabi

Rating: 3/5


Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

The specs

Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder
Power: 153hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 200Nm at 4,000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 6.3L/100km
Price: Dh106,900
On sale: now

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8


Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


Who: UAE v USA
What: first T20 international
When: Friday, 2pm
Where: ICC Academy in Dubai

The Limehouse Golem
Director: Juan Carlos Medina
Cast: Olivia Cooke, Bill Nighy, Douglas Booth
Three stars

Who is Tim-Berners Lee?

Sir Tim Berners-Lee was born in London in a household of mathematicians and computer scientists. Both his mother, Mary Lee, and father, Conway, were early computer scientists who worked on the Ferranti 1 - the world's first commercially-available, general purpose digital computer. Sir Tim studied Physics at the University of Oxford and held a series of roles developing code and building software before moving to Switzerland to work for Cern, the European Particle Physics laboratory. He developed the worldwide web code as a side project in 1989 as a global information-sharing system. After releasing the first web code in 1991, Cern made it open and free for all to use. Sir Tim now campaigns for initiatives to make sure the web remains open and accessible to all.

Australia tour of Pakistan

March 4-8: First Test, Rawalpindi

March 12-16: Second Test, Karachi

March 21-25: Third Test, Lahore

March 29: First ODI, Rawalpindi

March 31: Second ODI, Rawalpindi

April 2: Third ODI, Rawalpindi

April 5: T20I, Rawalpindi

Gremio 1 Pachuca 0

Gremio Everton 95’

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now


Northern Warriors v Team Abu Dhabi, 3.30pm
Bangla Tigers v Karnataka Tuskers, 5.45pm
Qalandars v Maratha Arabians, 8pm

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