FormedDecember 1947
DisbandedGroup is active.
UpdatedFebruary 11, 2012

Narrative Summary

IJT is the student wing of Pakistan's most prominent religious political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).[1] After coming into being in 1947 under the leadership of Zafarullah Khan, IJT has been at the forefront for Islamaization in Pakistan. Theologically it was inspired by the Egyptian Brotherhood, but in methods and ways it was much less radical.[2] From its initial days to mid seventies, it took direction from famous Deoband scholar Maulana Abul Ala Madudi, who was an office bearer and a key figurehead of Jamaat-e-Islami.[3] 

During 1950s, IJT began to make international issues such as killings of Muslims in North Africa and the Israel-Palestine dispute a priority to agitate and protest on. It also took positions of sectarian issues, one of which was its opposition to the Ahmadi sect in early 1950s.[4] 

In 1960s, IJT lost to National Student Federation (NSF), a marxist-rival student group, in student union elections.[5] This was also the time when IJT was banned in university campuses by the then military ruler of the country Ayub Khan. It however gained electoral strength in early 1970s when the progressive vote on campuses split between various left-wing student parties and factions. 

In 1971, IJT played a role in the conflict between India and Pakistan. It formed two militias known as Al-Shams and Al Badr in the then East Pakistan, which supported the Pakistan Army in efforts to quell the rebellion of Bengali separatists.[6] 

Towards 1977, IJT became the most vocal and proactive platform on campuses against the regime of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. JI and IJT described it as being 'anti-Islam' and 'immoral'. By 1977, the IJT was in control of the majority of the country's student unions. This helped it to give momentum (on the streets and campuses) to the movement against the populist Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP) government of Bhutto. The movement was set off by a JI-led alliance of anti-Pakistan Peoples Party parties (the Pakistan National Alliance). 

IJT is often accused of introducing firearms in student politics. In 1979, its members were found to be involved in a firing incident on the students of NSF at a rally of University of Karachi in 1979.[7] However, it became more violent after student politics were banned in 1984 by Zia-ul-Haq. 

IJT became a recruitment base for the Jihad against Soviets during 1980s. Its parent organization encouraged it into supporting the government on this account; however, with the banning of student unions in 1984, it demanded JI to withdraw its support for the Zia regime. In its protest against the outlawing of student unions, it went to the extent of joining rival groups such as National Student Federation (NSF) and Peoples Student Federation (PSF) to organize a campaign in favor of student unions.[8] 

IJT became notoriously famous for its "Thunder Squad" in various universities in the 1980s.[9] Members of the squad were responsible for enforcing "the writ of Allah in educational institutions." The "Thunder Squad" evolved into another violent group, which came to be known as "Allah Tigers" in the 1990s. While IJT continued to gain power and influence in all parts of Pakistan, it eventually lost ground in Karachi with the rise and formation of All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organization (APMSO) in the late 1980s.[10] 

The only report of split within IJT was said to have taken place in 1992 when a more populist faction broke away in 1992 and formed Pasban.[11] 

In 2004, IJT's links with militant organizations came to fore for the first time. Dr Waheed Arshad and his brother, members of IJT, were arrested from Karachi in connection with the attack on the convoy of Karachi's Corps Commander in 2004.[12] The brothers were subsequently released, after which they moved to South Waziristan to join Al Qaeda.[13] In 2008, it was reported that Waheed Arshad was killed in a drone attack, which was confirmed by Al Qaeda's media cell Al Shahab. Subsequently, IJT's members were reported to be joining Al Qaeda and Taliban in large numbers.[14] 

IJT has been known for its hooliganism on university campuses of Pakistan. Recently, a major political controversy arose over the beating IJT members meted out to senior professors of Lahore's Punjab University. Local police did not take any action against the accused. Jamaat-e-Islami leaders issued statements in favor of IJT, and denounced the university administration for trying to take action against IJT members.[15]


IJT has a semi democratic system as per which its leadership positions are decided. Referred to as 'Shura', meaning consultation, the process of leadership change is organized on an annual basis. Over the years the organization has been led by many different student leaders of their time, prominent among whom have been Dr. Israr Ahmed, a religious scholar of note, Syed Munawaar Hassan(mid 1960s) , current head of Jamaat e Islami, Liaqat Baloch (1977-78), senior politican, and Professor Khurshid Ahmed, member of Pakistan's Senate. The current President of IJT is Hafiz Abdur Rashid and Secretary General is Samiullah Husaini.

  1. Syed Munawar Hassan (Unknown to 1966): [16]
  2. Zafrullah Khan (1947 to Unknown): The first Nazim-e-Ala(President) of IJT was Zafrullah Khan.[17]
  3. Liaqat Baloch (1977 to 1978):
  4. Hafiz Abdur Rashid (2011 to Unknown): Hafiz Abdur Rashid is the current Nazim-e-Ala(President) of IJT.[18]

Ideology & Goals

IJT, in its own words, seeks 'the pleasure of Allah by ordering human life in accordance with the teachings laid down by Allah and his Messenger Muhammad'[19] and 'to convey the message of Islam to the students, to encourage them to acquire its knowledge, and to awaken them to the task of fulfilling its requirements in the practical life.' It also seeks 'to organize those students under the Jamiat, who are prepared to strive for the establishment of Islamic way of life' and 'to make effective arrangements for the study of Islam and modern sciences, the building of Islamic Character and the development of mental and physical qualities for those students who join the Jamiat.' It further aims to 'strive for implementation of Islamic Educational system in Pakistan this is the most scientific, comprehensive and easy to establish, make efforts to solve the problems faced by the student community to get their genuine demands Fulfilled and to lead them in their collective problems and to struggle for the establishment of an Islamic society in Pakistan this ensures human welfare and is free from economic, social and political exploitation.

Size Estimates


IJT's ideological, strategic and financial resource base is its parent organization Jamaat e Islami and its principal auxiliaries like Al Khidmat Foundation and Pakistan Islamic Medical Association. IJT also heavily relies on donations across university campuses to fund raise for its activities.

External Influences

Saudi Arabia's government and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have been the major external influences on IJT.[20] Saudi government has contributed financially to support the operations of IJT across Pakistan. IJT has always taken a strategic and theological cue from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. IJT was supported by Pakistan's intelligence service during the time of Afghan jihad in 1980s.[21] 

Geographical Locations

IJT's historically has had a strong hold in Karachi University, in Karachi, and Punjab University, in Lahore. Over the years it has expanded its members to many university campuses across Pakistan, some of which are Gordon College Rawalpindi, Urdu College Karachi, and Islamia College Karachi.[22]

Targets & Tactics

IJT has taken part in political violence over the years; however, it does not promote overt use of firearms. IJT since its inception has belived in proselytizing and propagation of its ideology. It frequently organizes campaigns to recruit new students, holds 'study circles' for new students in which the students are given academic advice and books. It also distributes publications and cyclostyled copies of lectures by the of Abul Ala Mauddudi and Egyptian Islamic leader Syed Qutb. IJT has actively sought to stop people from celebrating New Years, Valentine's Day, Basant festival and Nauroze. It seeks to impose its code of morality on university campuses by coercion. It enforces its political views through protests on streets and not through legislative politics.

Political Activities

IJT has been a major political force on the campuses of Pakistan's universities. As the student wing of Jamat-e- Islami, a mainstream religious political party of Pakistan, IJT has been active in electoral politics.[23]

Relationships with Other Groups

IJT being an Islamist group has had active rivalries with other political groups on university campuses of Pakistan. Some of its most bitter rivals over the years have been National Student Federation (NSF), a Marxist student union, Peoples Student Federation (PSF), student wing of the liberal Pakistan People's Party, and the Imamia Student Organization (ISO), student wing of the the Shia community. IJT's earliest rival was the Democratic Student Federation (DSF) a leftist student group. The two developed this rivalry as early as 1948, and it lasted till 1950s, until NSF replaced DSF and it also became IJT's rival. In 1970s, IJT developed a rivalry with ISO on purely religious grounds. In this time period, it formed a rivalry with PSF as well. Another bitter rival of IJT has been the All Pakistan Muhajir Student Organization (APMSO). After coming into being in 1978, APSMO has had a very confrontational relationship with IJT in Karachi city.[24] 

In 1971, IJT formed two affiliate organizations by the name of Al Badr and Al Shams to assist Pakistan Army against Bengali separatists in then East Pakistan and now Bangladesh. IJT saw a split from its ranks in 1992 when some members in favor of violent methods decided to form a different group by the name of Pasban. Another split by the name of Allah's Tigers took place in the 1990s as well. The group preferred violent methods to enforce "Allah's write".[25] 

IJT has many affiliate groups, most of which are auxiliaries of Jamaat e Islami. Al Khidmat Foundation, the charity front of Jamaat e Islami, became an affiliate of IJT in 1992 and Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) became its affiliate in 1979. 

IJT has in the recent past been linked to Al Qaeda and Jundullah.[26] In 2004, IJT members Dr. Waheed Arshad and his borther were found to be involved in an Al Qaeda sponsored attack carried out by Jundullah in Karachi.

Community Relationships

IJT has always responded proactively to any disaster situation in Pakistan. It was very active in 2005 earthquake in the north of Pakistan and has since then continued to aid calamity stricken community with material help.[27]


  1. ^ Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Pakistani students prefer guns to books," Asia Times Online, July 27, 2010,
  2. ^ Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Pakistani students prefer guns to books," Asia Times Online, July 27, 2010,
  3. ^ History," IJT,
  4. ^ "Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba," in Academic dictionaries and encyclopedias,
  5. ^ Nadeem Paracha, "Nadeem F. Paracha," February 10, 2008,
  6. ^ Iqbal Butt, Revisiting STUDENT POLITICS in Pakistan, Revised. (BARGAD, 2009).
  7. ^ Nadeem Paracha, "Nadeem F. Paracha," February 10, 2008,
  8. ^ Nadeem Paracha, "Nadeem F. Paracha," February 10, 2008,
  9. ^ Nadeem Paracha, "Nadeem F. Paracha," February 10, 2008,
  10. ^ "Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba," in Academic dictionaries and encyclopedias,
  11. ^ Frederic Grare, "The Evolution of Sectarian Conflicts in Pakistan and the Ever-Changing Face of Islamic Violence," South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 30, no. 1 (April 2007): 127-143.
  12. ^ Shahzad, "PART 1: The legacy of Nek Mohammed," Asia Times Online,
  13. ^ Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Pakistani students prefer guns to books," Asia Times Online, July 27, 2010,
  14. ^ Shahzad, Syed Saleem. Inside Al-Qaeda and Taliban, 2011.
  15. ^ Sabrina Tavernise, "At Top University, a Fight for Pakistan's Future," The New York Times, April 20, 2010, sec. World / Asia Pacific,
  16. ^ Amir Mateen. "Special Report of Jamaat-e-Islami", n.d.
  17. ^ "History," IJT,
  18. ^ "JI leadership greets new IJT office bearers." South Asia News Agency, February 10, 2011. ttp://
  19. ^ "Mission Statement," IJT,
  20. ^ "History," IJT,
  21. ^ Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Pakistani students prefer guns to books," Asia Times Online, July 27, 2010,
  22. ^ Nadeem Paracha, "Nadeem F. Paracha," February 10, 2008,
  23. ^ "History," IJT,
  24. ^ Nadeem Paracha, "Nadeem F. Paracha," February 10, 2008,
  25. ^ Nadeem Paracha, "Nadeem F. Paracha," February 10, 2008,
  26. ^ Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Pakistani students prefer guns to books," Asia Times Online, July 27, 2010,
  27. ^ Jawad Qureshi, "Earthquake Jihad: The Role of Jihadis and Islamist Groups after the October 2005 Earthquake," International Crisis Group, July 24, 2006,

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