Pakistan has executed the man convicted of murdering Shia Muslim political leader Syed Ejaz Hussain Shah in 1997. Hafiz Shafiq ur Rehman was a member of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist group which Pakistani authorities say is linked to al-Qaida.
In its latest report on terrorism, the U.S. State Department says Lashkar-e-Jhangvi "is the militant offshoot of the Sunni sectarian group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan." Lashkar-e-Jhangvi primarily targets Pakistan's minority Shia Muslims. According to the State Department, many of the group's members "sought refuge in Afghanistan with the Taleban, with whom they had existing ties.
After the collapse of the Taleban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi members became active in aiding other terrorists with safe houses, false identities, and protection in Pakistan cities." In 1999, the terrorist group tried to assassinate former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shabaz Sharif, chief minister of Punjab province.
Pakistani authorities have linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi members to the abduction and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl. They say the group was involved in the 2003 bombing of a Shiite mosque in Quetta and the bombings of two Shiite mosques in Karachi in 2004.
In a televised speech, President Pervez Musharraf urged Pakistanis to promise "that you will stand up against anyone who will want to spread extremism or terrorism." His remarks were made following the arrest of six suspected members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi whom Pakistani authorities say were planning an attack on a sports event.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher said the U.S. is "grateful for Pakistan's strong and vital support in the war of terror." U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says it is a war that must be won:
"The war on terror is going to be a long struggle. It's not something we asked for, but neither is it something we can avoid."
Mr. Rumsfeld said, "Only by opposing the small minority of violent extremists at every level will free people be successful."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.