Terrorist Organizations and Other Groups of Concern
Updated August 24, 2007
From: "Chapter 8; Other Groups of Concern," Country Reports on Terrorism 2005, US Department of State, April 30, 2006.
The Sipah-I-Sahaba/Pakistan (SSP) is a Sunni sectarian group that follows the Deobandi school. Violently anti-Shia, the SSP emerged in central Punjab in the mid-1980s as a response to the Iranian revolution. Pakistani President Musharraf banned the SSP in January 2002. In August 2002, the SSP renamed itself Millat-i-Islami Pakistan, and Musharraf rebanned the group in November 2003. The SSP also has operated as a political party, winning seats in Pakistan's National Assembly.
The group's activities range from organizing political rallies calling for Shia to be declared non-Muslims to assassinating prominent Shia leaders. The group was responsible for attacks on Shia worshippers in May 2004, when at least 50 people were killed.
The SSP may have approximately 3,000 to 6,000 trained activists who carry out various kinds of sectarian activities.
Location/Area of Operation
The SSP has influence in all four provinces of Pakistan. It is considered to be one of the most powerful sectarian groups in the country.
The SSP reportedly receives significant funding from Saudi Arabia through wealthy private donors in Pakistan. Funds also are acquired from other sources, including other Sunni extremist groups, madrassas, and contributions by political groups.