Chasing wanted militants

June 13, 2021

The recently released Red Book that lists the wanted terrorists is an important publication

A former Karachi police cop who is now heading the Islamic State (or Daesh) in Pakistan, a woman gynecologist allegedly involved in Al Qaeda-linked terror activities, a businessman suspected of providing financial assistance to families of Al Qaeda members and dozens of militants of sectarian terror outfits involved in the killing of clerics of rival sects are some of the people included in the recently released Red Book.

The Red Book is considered by law enforcement agencies to be an important publication on wanted terrorists. It includes particulars of suspects, such as photos or sketches and details like the colour of their hair and eyes, their mother tongue, and their ability to speak other languages.

The Counter Terrorism Departments of the four provincial police forces and the capital police regularly compile this Red Book and list the militants wanted by law enforcement in connection with terrorist activities including suicide attacks and sectarian violence.

After a gap of around four years, on June 3 the Sindh CTD has released its Red Book naming 93 terrorists.

Raja Umar Khattab, a CTD’s senior official, said that the main objective of compiling the Red Book was to develop information of militants involved in terrorist acts and to share the information with CTDs of other provinces so that joint efforts can be made to eliminate the terrorists working against the country.

“Ten terrorists named in the Red Book’s eighth edition, released in 2017, have been arrested. Seven have been killed – five in Pakistan and one each in Afghanistan and Syria,” Khattab tells The News on Sunday (TNS).

This time, the CTD has included names of 12 militants from Al Qaeda in Sub-Continent (AQIS) and 18 militants from the ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K).

The AQIS and the ISSI-K were formed in 2014.

Daud Mehsud, a former police constable, who has been appointed the head of the newly-created Wilayah Pakistan of the Daesh, after separating Pakistan from its Khorasan province, has been on the Red Book. He was dismissed from the force in 2013 after serving it for nine years.

The name of Dr Sadia Jalil, a Karachi-based gynecologist, has been included in Red Book for being a part of the AQIS. CTD officials claim that she assisted in numerous terror plots, including the 2015 shooting in Karachi’s Safoora Goth locality that left at least 46 people, mainly from the Ismaili community, dead. Jalil was the third wife of AQIS leader and close al-Zawahiri aide Umar Jalal Chandio alias Khatio, who was arrested in 2018 in Karachi, and an aunt of ISIS-K leader Abdullah Yusaf, who is also listed in Red Book.

The CTD has also included a Karachi-based businessman Khalid Mukashi for his alleged involvement in providing financial assistance to families of Al Qaeda militants. The Red Book says that Mukashi has close relations with al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

The Sindh CTD has also listed 23 militants from Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, a key proscribed militant group, likely sheltering in eastern provinces of Afghanistan after the Operation Zarb-i-Azb in 2014.

The Counter Terrorism Departments of the four provincial police forces and the capital police regularly compile this Red Book and list the militants wanted by law enforcement in connection with terrorist activities including suicide attacks and sectarian violence.

Khan Zaman Mehsud, Shamsul Qayyum alias Zavel Mehsud, Mufti Shakirullah, Shahidullah alias Javed Swati and Mukaram alias Omar Khurasani are prominent TTP commanders who were involved in attacks on police personnel and other subversive activities in the metropolis.

Information on Azizullah alias Shamzai, a TTP Karachi commander listed in the 8th edition of the Red Book, has been removed from the current edition after his mysterious killing in Afghanistan in 2020.

The CTD has also included four militants of the Ansarul Shariah (AS) and two militants of Jundullah Pakistan - two little-known militant outfits.

The AS is an Al Qaeda-inspired militant outfit mainly comprising students in shigher education institutions in Karachi. The group came into the limelight in 2017 when it announced the slaying of police and other law enforcement officials and claimed responsibility for a failed assassination attempt on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s lawmaker Khwaja Izharul Hasan.

The Jundullah is a breakaway faction of the TTP that pledged support to the ISIS in 2014. The group was involved in several high-profile attacks, including the twin suicide bombings at Peshawar’s All Saints Church that killed 104 worshippers.

The CTD has also included 24 militants of outlawed Sipah-i-Muhammad Pakistan, a Shia terror outfit, and 13 militants of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ), a Deobandi terror outfit.

Affiliation of four militants has been shown with Zainabiyoun Brigade, a Shia outfit that is believed to have sent young members of Pakistani Shia community to fight in Syria.

Four militants of the Sindhi Revolutionary Army (SRA) and five of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) - the two banned separatist groups operating in Sindh and Balochistan province - have also been included.

“During the past 18 months, the violence committed by ethnic separatist groups has overtaken religious militant violence,” says Omar Shahid Hamid, CTD Sindh chief, citing attacks on the Chinese consulate, Pakistan Stock Exchange, and attacks on police and Rangers personnel. “Their names have been included in the Red Book for the first time.”

The CTD has also included 33 militants linked to gang warfare in Karachi’s Lyari and other nieghbourhoods. Prominent gangsters in the list are: Bilal Rashid alias Bilala Pappu, Zahid alias Ladla, Wasiullah Lakho, Taj Muhamamd alias Ustad Taju, Shakeel Badshah, Shiraz Zikri and Zahid Khan alias Shooter.

Entries for some terrorists carry head money announced by the government for information leading to their capture.

There is Rs 3 million reward for Faisal Bhatti from LeJ, Rs 2.5 million for Mehmood (codenamed) from Daesh, Rs 2.5 million for TTP’s Mehsud, Rs 1 million each for Raza Imam alias Manzir, Maulana Zulqarnain Haider Naqvi and Syed Muhib Rizvi alias Yawar Abbas from the SMP and 0.5 million each for Qari Jamil Burmi and Muhamad Ali from the LeJ.

The writer is a Karachi-based journalist and researcher Twiter: @zalmayzia

Chasing wanted militants