Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed.
Indian has demanded the Pakistani government turn over about 20 most wanted terrorists to demonstrate its seriousness about fighting terrorism in the wake of last week’s terror siege of Mumbai. At the top the list are Laskhar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Maulana Masood Azhar, and mafia and terror kingpin Dawood Ibrahim. The Long War Journal has obtained the names of several other senior terrorist leaders wanted by the Indian Government.
The demands were made during a meeting between Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik yesterday. The Indian foreign minister summoned Malik to the ministry and registered an official diplomatic protest with Pakistan.
“We have in our demarche asked for the arrest and handover of those persons who are settled in Pakistan and who are fugitive of Indian law,” Mukherjee told The Times of India, noting India “will await” a response from Pakistan.
Yesterday, a foreign ministry statement said the attacks were launched from “elements” within Pakistan, and that Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India was warned it must turn over the top terror leaders within his country.
“He [the High Commissioner] was informed that the recent terrorist attack on Mumbai was carried out by elements from Pakistan,” a foreign ministry statement read. “Government expects that strong action would be taken against those elements, whosoever they may be, responsible for this outrage.”
India’s most wanted
Topping the list of wanted terrorists is Hafiz Saeed, the founder and leader of the al Qaeda-linked Laskhar-e-Taiba, or Army of the Righteous. India has implicated Lashkar-e-Taiba as being behind the Mumbai terror attack. Saeed and the Laskhar-e-Taiba have strong links with elements within Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Service Intelligence agency, or ISI.
Osama bin Laden and his mentor Abdullah Azzam encouraged Saeed to form Lashkar-e-Taiba in the late 1980s, and helped fund the establishment of the terror outfit. Lashkar-e-Taiba, like al Qaeda, practices the Wahabi strain of Islam, and receives funding from Saudis and other wealthy individuals throughout the Middle East. Saeed has been arrested several times by Pakistani security forces after attacks in India, but has been quietly released each time.
Lashkar-e-Taiba has an extensive network in Southern and Southeast Asia, where it seeks to establish a Muslim caliphate. The group essential runs a state within a state of Pakistan, much like Hezbollah does in Lebanon. Its sprawling Murdike complex, just northwest of Lahore in Punjab province, is a town of its own. Lashkar-e-Taiba runs numerous hospitals, clinics, schools, mosques, and other services throughout Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The Pakistani government banned Lashkar-e-Taiba in January 2002, but this did little to shut down its operations. Saeed renamed Lashkar-e-Taiba the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and continued operations throughout Pakistan. It was instrumental in providing aid to the victims of the 2005 earthquakes in Kashmir.
Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (right).
Next is Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, or Army of the Prophet Mohammed. Azhar trained at the same religious seminary as Afghanistan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Azhar was released from an India jail in exchange for hostages held in an Indian Airlines flight hijacking in December 1999. He established the Jaish-e-Mohammed the next year as an offshoot of the Harkat-u-Ansar, one of many terror groups created to fight the Indians in India-occupied Kashmir.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed was implicated along with the Lashkar-e-Taiba as being behind the Dec. 13, 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament building in New Delhi. In October 2001, the US added Jaish-e-Mohammed a foreign terrorist organization.
Mafia and terror kingpin Dawood Ibrahim.
Dawood Ibrahim is perhaps Indian’s most wanted man. Ibrahim runs an extensive criminal network throughout South Asia. Al Qaeda and other Pakistani and Bangladeshi terror groups have allied with Ibrahim to leverage his network of weapons smuggling and other services. The US government branded Ibrahim as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2003.
Ibrahim has been implicated in the 1993 Mumbai bombings and is known to receive backing by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency. Indian intelligence believes Ibrahim is based out of Karachi.
Other wanted terrorists leaders
The Indian government has not publicly released the names of the other wanted terrorists, but an intelligence official who wishes to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the topic has divulged several of the names on the list to The Long War Journal. The list includes senior operatives in the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, and the Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami.
Zia-Ur-Rehman Lakhvi: Also know as Chachaji, Rehman serves as the military commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The satellite phone found the hijacked Indian fishing boat used in the Mumbai attack had calls to Rehman.
Azam Cheema: The commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Indian operations branch, known as the Dasta Mohammad bin Qasim.
Yusuf Muzammil: A senior operations commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba. He was in contact with a Bangladeshi named Yahya, who helped get the Mumbai terrorists fake IDs and SIM cards.
Abdul Karim: Also known as Tunda, Karim is the top field operative in the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Indian operations branch.
Talha Saeed: The son of Hafiz Saeed, Talha manages Lashkar-e-Taiba’s operations at the main camp in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Shah Nawaz Khan: Also known as Sajjid Jihadi, Khan is the top military commander for Jaish-e-Mohammed in Kashmir.
Mohammed Ibrahim Athar Alvi: The brother of Masood Azhar, Alvi took part in the 1999 high jacking of the Indian Air flight in 1999.
Mohammed Yusuf Shah: Also known as Syed Salahuddin, Shah is the head of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, a radical terrorist group that operates in Kashmir.
Ghazi Nasiruddin: The commander of military operations for Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
Ilyas Kashmiri: The operations chief for Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami in Kashmir.
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