Pakistani Taliban call for jihad against Myanmar leaders


ISLAMABAD–The Pakistani Taliban on Monday urged Muslims in Myanmar to rise up and fight the country’s rulers, saying the Taliban’s resources and training facilities were available to help them ��take up the sword.�� Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the hard-line 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 recognize most of its 1.3 million Rohingya as citizens and places a series 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, using Myanmar’s former name. ��Our (training) centers, our resources, training, people, everything is available to provide comfort to you.�� Roughly 4 percent of Myanmar’s 51 million people are Muslim, with the Rohingya making up slightly more than half of the community.

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.