LAHORE - Saut-ul-Ummat, a splinter of Hizbut Tahrir made bids to get the franchise of al-Qaeda and its affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in Pakistan but the efforts have not succeeded until now, intelligence officials told The Nation yesterday.

Since the action against militancy picked up pace in the country, main terrorist groups broke down and new groups like Saut-ul-Ummat emerged.

“Saut-ul-Ummat like its mother organisation Hizbut Tahrir focuses on educated middle and lower middle class and wants to overthrow the existing system through violent means. It does not believe in democracy and declares the existing system as the governance of Satan (devil),” said intelligence officials close to the interrogation of one of the members of this group.

“In the course of interrogations it was revealed that members of Tahrir’s splinter contacted the al-Qaeda and its affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra to get their flag in Pakistan for acquiring their fear power and financial support as well as training,” they added. During the busts of members of Ummat, initially it appeared from the literature in their possession and the modus oprendi as if they were affiliated with Tahrir. But some information acquired from their desktop computers and laptops revealed another story which took the interrogators to a new group, Saut-ul-Ummat.

This offshoot of Hizbut Tahrir seeks to bring a revolution through bloody means and extreme violent tactics like Qaeda and Nusra, they said while disclosing more details.

The group was involved in small incidents of terror when some of its sleeper cells were busted. It was involved in firing at media houses and cracker attacks on law enforcers in Karachi and Lahore. The same group was also involved in pasting of their flag posters in provincial capitals of Punjab and Sindh similar to Nusra and Daesh. This was the reason behind news concerning emergence of Daesh in two major cities of the country. The Nusra is believed to be more ruthless than Daesh and is making some inroads in neighbouring Afghanistan.

However, Ummat members have also been interrogated on the lines that they may be still part of the Tahrir and preparing themselves to become a lethal militant wing with the aim of Ummat being the military and Tahrir being the political faces of the one and same organisation, added the intelligence officials.

Asked about the funding of Tahrir’s offshoot, they said the group is depending on self-generated funds so far and members with rich background belonging to this group are donating most of the funds. The other funds are collected with strict internal donations system.

The Ummat like its main organisation is very secretive in its real operations and did not let any new member in the inner circle without thorough and proper screening. Reaching out to Qaeda and its affiliate Nusra is one of the reasons for getting financial support, they said.

The group has its roots among several former members of extreme right-wing organisations of which three have their headquarters in the provincial capital.

The members of the Ummat have been caught from leading educational and health providing institutions as well as other public and private organisations, while the hunt for the deep cover sleeper cells chain is on to dismantle the new outfit before it becomes another Frankenstein, added the intelligence officials.