Mysterious killing of more than a dozen terrorists by ‘enemies’ in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: More than a dozen terrorists, who were on New Delhi’s “most wanted list”, have been mysteriously killed in different parts of Pakistan in the last two years. But Pakistan and the banned terrorist organizations it has nurtured against its eastern neighbor are silent about these killings. All the killed terrorist commanders were associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen (HUM), separatist Khalistan Movement or Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM).

Three senior LeT/JeM terrorists have been killed within the first fortnight of November, including a close aide of Maulana Masood Azhar and LeT’s main recruiter.

This series of killings began in 2021 soon after the failed attempt to assassinate Hafiz Saeed, founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in Lahore. All of these killings follow the same pattern: in each case, unidentified armed men on motorcycles have been involved. Targeted killings of militants accused of terrorism in India.

Pakistani officials involved in the investigation blame “the intelligence agency of a hostile country”. A hostile spy agency has set up an organized network of local assassins – some of them disgruntled former law enforcement personnel – to achieve their targets, said an official familiar with the investigation. He alleged that India controls this network through operatives stationed in a Gulf state, possibly a veiled reference to the UAE.

Meanwhile, Pakistani officials as well as the media are silent. Following a press conference of then Pakistan Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah in 2021 following the bombing outside Hafiz Saeed’s Lahore residence, Islamabad has ignored the mysterious killings of terrorists linked to Lashkar, JeM, HuM and Khalistan separatist movement.

Pakistan downplayed such incidents in an apparent attempt to conceal the identity of those considered “most wanted terrorists” in India. According to Pakistani intelligence sources, New Delhi has shared the names and locations of several terrorists with Islamabad over the years; Many of these people have been shot by unknown assailants.

Islamabad’s reluctance to accept the killing of these terrorists appears to be due to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). It has assured the international watchdog on terror financing and money laundering that it will take “credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustainable action” against terrorist groups on its soil.

None of those killed have been identified as terrorists by the Pakistan government or the media. Maulana Rahim Ullah Tariq, a Jaish-e-Mohammed leader and close aide of Maulana Masood Azhar, was the latest “jihadi” to be shot dead by unidentified men in Karachi on November 13. The incident was portrayed as the murder of a local cleric.

Former LeT terrorist Akram Khan, alias Akram Ghazi, who headed LeT’s recruitment cell, was shot dead in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur tribal district on November 9. Pakistani media referred to him as the “muezzin”, the person who calls for daily prayers.

On November 5, Khawaja Shahid, also known as Mian Mujahid, was allegedly abducted and later found beheaded near the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. According to sources, Shahid was a key figure of Lashkar-e-Taiba and was one of the masterminds of the 2018 terrorist attack on the Indian Army camp in Sunjuwan, which claimed seven lives.

Shahid Latif, a former Jaish-e-Mohammed member and alleged mastermind of the 2016 Pathankot attack, was shot dead by three unidentified men riding a motorcycle in Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan, in October. In that attack, one of Latif’s associates was also killed and another associate was injured.

Other key terrorists shot by unidentified gunmen

September 2023: Riyaz Ahmed (alias Abu Qasim), one of the masterminds of the Dhangri terror attack, was killed in a mosque in PoK.

September 2023: Maulana Ziaur Rehman of Lashkar-e-Taiba was killed in Gulistan-e-Johar area of Karachi.

September 2023: Murder of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Mufti Qaiser Farooqui in Sohrab Goth, Karachi.

August 2023: Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s Mullah Sardar Hussain Arain was shot dead in Nawab Shah district of Sindh.

May 2023: Paramjeet Singh Panjwar, Pakistan-based leader of Khalistan Commando Force, was murdered in Johar Town, Lahore.

March 2023: Bashir Ahmed Peer (alias Imtiaz Alam) of Hizbul Mujahideen was killed in Rawalpindi.

March 2023: Prominent “jihadi” Syed Noor, killed in Khyber tribal district

February 2023: Syed Khalid Raza of Al-Badr Mujahideen assassinated in Karachi.

March 2022: Jaish-e-Mohammed mechanic Zahoor Ibrahim (alias Zahid Akhund), considered the deadliest among the five hijackers of Kathmandu to Delhi flight IC-814 (1999), was killed in Karachi.