South Asia Research and Analysis Studies

‘French terrorist had no Pak connection’
Waqar Ahmed

Authoritative sources here in the federal capital have strongly denied media reports that the recently killed French terrorist Mohammed Merah had any links either with Pakistan or had received training in the country’s tribal areas.

“It is just propaganda that Merah had a Pakistani connection,” sources dealing with the terrorism menace categorically stated. Mohammed Merah, a French national, had killed seven persons in Toulouse, France, including three Jewish children and a teacher. His victims also included two French Muslim troops. “There is no record or evidence of Mohammed Merah ever travelling to the Pakistani tribal areas or getting training there,” they further stated.

Similarly, the sources said it was critical to remember there was no confirmation that Merah was ever associated with the proscribed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or any other militant outfit. “We are also shocked over reports that 80 French nationals had allegedly received training in the Pakistani tribal areas to fight the coalition forces in Afghanistan,” they said. “This is rubbish. Why was this never mentioned before? Nobody can point out the names of such militants and organizations they were allegedly associated with.”

The sources also pointed out that Pakistani intelligence services were in close contact with their French counterparts and had shared valuable intelligence of mutual interest on concerned cases. According to their information, even in the case of Merah’s travel to Pakistan, which did not include a visit to the tribal areas, the French authorities were duly informed and kept fully on board.

“Strangely enough, no one has asked a question about the social paradigm which led a naturalized Algerian origin French citizen to turn his guns on the same society which had raised him,” they asked. “Efforts should be made in the West in understanding and addressing causes that motivate such terrorists instead of conveniently putting the blame on somebody else’s mat.”

Also, in discussing individual home-grown terrorism cases in the West, Pakistan’s sacrifices in the Global War on Terror (GWOT) are seldom mentioned, they said, adding that in the context of current events, this deliberate omission required careful thought.