Sunday, May 5, 2013

Al Qâ’idah casually mentions the death of its commander in Pâkistân

… and nobody cares. About two weeks ago al-Qâ’idah’s media arm al-Sahâb released a new video message – the fourth part of the Urdû language series Sharî’ah or Democracy. The intended audience of the series are the Pâkistânî people whom AQ wants to convince that democracy is bad. The latest instalment has quite some things to say about corruption and rising poverty in Pâkistân.

The interesting thing is the speakers. As most times with AQC releases these days the official AQ spokesman in Pâkistân (Head of the Propagation and Media Department in Pâkistân) Ustâdh Ahmad Fârûq makes an audio appearance on a still image with his face blurred, nothing new here.

1. Fârûq: The caption in the upper left corner reads Ustad (Prof.) Ahmad Fârûq may Allah protect him

The second speaker though is somewhat a surprise. It is Farmân Shinwârî – a Kashmîr veteran who belonged to Harakah al Mujâhidîn and most likely joined AQC alongside the eminent field commander Muhammad Ilyâs Kashmîrî who became AQ’s head in Pâkistân. Shinwârî is reported to have taken that job after both Kashmîrî and his successor Badr Mansûr had been killed in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

And now he is dead, or so al-Sahâb casually informs us by adding the religious phrase “May Allah have mercy on him” to his name – a phrase that is usually used for the deceased (the only exception would be using it on oneself such as the author of a letter adding the phrase to his own name). The still image of Shinwârî is furthermore not blurred. Chatter in Pâkistânî forums says that he has been killed in a drone strike.

2. Shinwârî: The caption in the upper left corner reads Kamândân (Cmdr.) Farmân Shinwârî may Allah have mercy on him

Now, two weeks after the release of the video I have not seen a single report on this quite huge development. While we usually hear about dead AQ big shots just hours after their demise, the by-the-way-announcement that AQ’s commander in Pâkistân has been killed seems to have gone unnoticed.

Is it media incompetence? Is nobody interested in AQC any longer? Does no one bother to watch AQ’s Urdû videos? Or is it that Shinwârî was basically unknown as he never went through a media hyping like Ilyâs Kashmîrî? Finally, was he in fact AQ’s head in Pâkistân? I’m interested in your take on this!

Update: A follow-up discussion with @DonRassler 

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