By: Syed Adnan Ali Shah Bukhari
Dated: March 17, 2015
The former head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Usman Saifullah aka Usman Kurd had come disguised to visit his friends in a hotel located on Saryab Road before he was killed in an operation by security forces on 15 February 2015. According to police source, most of the police officials who cornered him in the hotel were unaware that it was Kurd whom they wanted to arrest or kill during the said operation. Kurd was a high profile target and was involved in various heinous acts of terrorism against Muslim Shia minority in Balochistan, including the Shikarpur and Hazarajat incidents in Sindh and Balochistan respectively. One of the terrorist who was arrested from the spot revealed that one of the slain terrorist was Usman Kurd.
The police source stated that most of the officials of the police force did not know that Usman Kurd was present in the hotel. They had only acted on an intelligence tip that some terrorists belonging to the LeJ are conducting reconnaissance of the Shia Hazara community in Quetta and would be holding a meeting in a hotel in Saryab Road in the Hazarjangi area of Quetta. After receiving the information, the Frontier Constabulary (FC) and other security forces planned a joint operation and surrounded the hotel. Soon afterwards, the terrorists opened fire on the law enforcement officials. During the fire fight, five police officials were injured while two terrorists were killed and one surrendered to the police. He later on informed the police that one of the slain terrorist was Usman Kurd. It was further revealed that Kurd had removed his beard and changed his outlook which made it difficult for the law enforcement to recognise him. The entire operation also suggested that the killing of Kurd was made possible only through a secret tip which was possibly provided by one of the close confidantes of Kurd.
The law enforcement officials in Quetta believe that Dawood Badini may succeed Kurd as the next head of LeJ. Badini, Saifullah Kurd and Shafiqur Rehman Rind had escaped from the prison on 18 June 2008 and the Shia Hazara community had then blamed then chief minister Balochistan province, Aslam Raesani for involvement, which was not investigated.
According to information, Saifullah Kurd joined the LeJ in the 1990s. He was a resident of Hokali Zaereen Mianghundi in Quetta. He was also known by the alias Ghulam Muhammad and Ghulam Sarwar. He was arrested in Karachi in 2006 and an Anti-Terrorism Court sentenced him to death. Dawood Badini was also arrested in June 2003 from Karachi and was handed over death sentence.
Dawood Badini has a long family record in sectarian association. His father, Maulvi Emir Hamza was a member of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) which was later renamed as Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) and is regarded as the political face of the LeJ. There are also reports that Badini is a distant relative of Ramzi Yousaf and Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the masterminds of the World Trade Centre bombings in 1993 and 2001 respectively.
It is being expected that Badini will conduct retaliatory attacks to avenge the death of Kurd. However, the killing of Kurd has brought a huge sigh of relief for the law enforcement in Balochistan and Sindh respectively. This is because Kurd, apart from Balochistan, was also involved in sectarian attacks in the Sindh Province. The recent terrorist attack on a Shia Imambargah in Shikarpur was planned by Kurd.
There are also reports that the LeJ in Balochistan is using another name “Lashkar-e-Islam” (meaning Army of Islam) to claim attacks in the province. It is also being reported that Dawood Badini is the head of the Lashkar-e-Islam. Badini’s close aides are Asghar Ali Sulaiman, Haq Nawaz Mengal, Ziaul Haq Sherwani, Dilshad Bangalzai and Shafiqur Rehman Rind and they are also senior office bearers of the LeJ. The government has already fixed a head bounty of Rs. 20 million (US $200,000) for Badini, while the head bounty for Saifullah Kurd was Rs. 50 million (US $500,000). The names of Asghar, Haq Nawaz, Ziaul Haq and Dilshad are also available in the Red Book of the Balochistan government.
The sectarian violence in Balochistan is somewhat different from the rest of the country, because some Baloch tribal leaders allege that the Shia Hazara community is progressing at a fast pace, which may result in their dominance of Quetta. Due to this insecurity, these tribal elders use sectarian terrorists to reduce the political clout of Hazara community and cut it to its size. That is the reason that the Baloch tribal elders despite claiming secular and liberal ideas, including the Baloch separatist militant outfits, use LeJ against the Shia Hazaras, which is a very dangerous trend.