Counter-terror officials publish updated list of wanted extremism, crime suspects

By Zia Ur Rehman


Information on Azizullah, a TTP commander in Karachi also known as Shamzai, can be seen in the 8th edition of the Red Book, a list of Pakistan's most-wanted terror suspects. The 9th edition of the Red Book was published June 3. [Pakistan Forward/Zia Ur Rehman]

KARACHI -- The Sindh police's Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) published the latest edition of its Red Book, a listing of wanted terrorist and militant suspects.

The document -- now in its 9th edition -- is used by law enforcement agencies and includes information on suspects' physical characteristics, languages spoken and other details.

Pakistan has been preparing itself to confront potential security threats after international coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan, said CTD director Omar Shahid Hamid.

"It is our assessment that the situation might change in Pakistan, and militant groups may become active again if Afghanistan suffers instability after the drawdown," Hamid said.


In this file photo taken on February 18, a policeman stands guard outside the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi two days before the first Twenty20 cricket match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on February 20. [Asif Hassan/AFP]

The goal of the Red Book, which was released June 3, is to develop intelligence on militants involved in terrorist acts, to share it with CTDs of other provinces, and enable joint efforts to eliminate terrorism, he said.

The latest edition of the Red Book represents its first update and publication in four years.

Authorities have arrested 10 suspects whom the 8th edition included and killed seven others -- five in Pakistan, one in Afghanistan, and one in Syria.

In the 9th edition, the CTD added the names of 12 al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) suspects and 18 accused militants of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS)'s Khorasan branch (ISIS-K).

AQIS and ISIS-K are regional affiliates of al-Qaeda and ISIS, respectively.

The CTD added 24 accused militants from the outlawed Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP), a Shia terror outfit that allegedly has received support and funds from the Iranian regime, as well as 23 militants of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Also included are four accused elements of Ansarul Shariah Pakistan (ASP) and two suspected members of Jundullah Pakistan.

ASP, a militant organisation comprising about a dozen members said to be operating under the umbrella of Al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda-linked group based in Syria, came into the limelight in Karachi in 2017 when it claimed the slaying of police and other law enforcement personnel.

Jundullah is a breakaway faction of TTP that pledged support to ISIS in 2014. The group was involved in various high-profile attacks, including the September 2013 attack on Peshawar's All Saints Church that killed 104 worshippers.

The Red Book listed 13 suspected militants of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned sectarian outfit.

It included the names of four accused militants of the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army and five accused members of the Balochistan Liberation Army -- two separatist groups operating in Sindh and Balochistan province, respectively.

The CTD added the names of 33 suspected militants linked with gang warfare in Karachi's Lyari neighbourhood as well.

Crackdowns continue

In Pakistan, law enforcement agencies are continuing to crack down on terrorist groups.

On May 2, police arrested three accused militants allegedly linked to ISIS-K in Shikarpur district of Sindh province.

Those arrested were said to be close aides of Abdul Hafeez Pindrani, the deputy emir of ISIS in Sindh province. Pindrani was killed alongside Maulvi Abdullah Brohi, the chief of ISIS in Sindh, in February 2018 in a shootout with police in Sibi district, Balochistan province.

Sindh's Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on April 19 announced the arrests of five suspected militants, including two alleged would-be suicide bombers, associated with TTP near Hyderabad.

The militants were reportedly planning to attack the Police Training Centre in Karachi and had already carried out reconnaissance operations, said Omar Shahid Hamid, a senior Sindh CTD official.

A number of the arrested suspects were involved in various high-profile attacks, including the 2019 suicide bombing of the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore and the 2018 suicide bombing of a Pakistani army volleyball match in Swat, according to Hamid.

In a separate raid on the same day, Karachi's district police arrested two suspected TTP militants allegedly sent by TTP leaders headquartered in Afghanistan to rebuild the organisation in the city.

In January, Sindh's CTD arrested an engineering student in Karachi in connection with charges of sending money to families of militants linked with ISIS in Syria.

Last November, in a joint intelligence-based operation in Rajanpur district, Punjab's CTD arrested five suspected members of AQIS and seized suicide jackets, hand grenades, arms and ammunition.

The AQIS suspects were planning to launch terrorist attacks on vital installations in Punjab's southern districts, according to a CTD press release.

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