Is the Indian government executing Pakistan-based wanted terrorists as part of a secret assassination pro- gram? Who is running this program, when was it started and how many targets are on the hit list?

These are the questions that foreign diplomats and foreign journalists in Delhi are trying to find an answer to, without any success or irrefutable evidence that can tie the killings to India’s premier intelligence agency. However, what The Sunday Guardian can confirm by talking to sources in Pakistan is that the series of killings of Pakistan-based wanted terrorists by unidentified gun- men has led to known terrorists and their accomplice going underground for fear of being the next target of these assassins.

While the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar by unidentified gunmen in June in Canada made this entire issue a global matter and ensured a diplomatic dispute between India and Canada, details accessed by The Sunday Guardian reveal that at least 18 such killings have occurred in the last two years in Pakistan, of which 16 have occurred since February this year.

All the 16 who have been killed were either present or former active workers and functionaries of anti-India terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jaishe-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen and all of them at one point or the other, had contributed by one way or the other to killing Indian citizens in India.

These terrorists have been killed across various parts of Pakistan—Karachi, Sialkot, Neelam valley (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rawalkot, Rawalpindi and Lahore.

And all of these killings have been carried out mostly by using the same modus operandi—gunmen on motorcycles shooting them from close distance and leaving the spot before anyone can understand what has happened. Everything is over within 10 seconds.

Official sources said that such flawless killing requires trained people with months of mental and physical practices and it will be a shoddy guesswork to attribute it to low level thugs.

Sources in the security establishment in Delhi, while speaking to The Sunday Guardian, refused to comment on these developments when asked whether a covert operation was being carried out against wanted terrorists by the Indian establishment.

Similarly, India’s Ministry of External Affairs too has refused to comment on this issue while stating that it cannot comment on the developments that are taking place in Pakistan. None of the accused in these killings have been identified by the Pakistan police till now despite its intelligence agency, the ISI carrying out the investigation in the background.

This newspaper sent an email to the Punjab police information officer, under whose jurisdiction Karachi comes, to seek the latest update on these murders and whether any suspects have been arrested. No response was received till the time the report went to press.

The Sunday Guardian spoke to three former functionaries associated with the above-named groups, who are now not active, but continue to maintain relationships with their friends in these groups.

According to them, the common point of discussion between these group members is that India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) is behind these attacks.

“We are sure that R&AW is behind it and they will never accept it. There is a sense of restlessness among our men, especially those who are in senior positions, as there is this fear of the unknown as their acquaintances and friends are being killed so frequently

by these unidentified gunmen. Many of them have gone underground fearing a similar fate. The discussion on our WhatsApp groups and private conversation revolves around how R&AW is identifying and killing our friends and whether they are getting insider help in this,” a former member of Lashkar told this correspondent.

The said official, at one time, was a part of the inner circle of LeT chief Hafeez Saeed and has been known to this journalist for more than five years now. Similar sentiments were echoed by two other former members of Lashkar, including one who till recently was a senior member of their social media team.

According to him, there was a high level anger against the Pakistan security establishment for failing to identify the people behind this and stop these killings. Another former spokesperson of a group active in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area said that while no one from their group has been killed by these unknown men, it was a topic of discussion among the Taliban and other similar groups.

“We believe R&AW is doing this. And we are not surprised. We all know ISI has been carrying out such attacks in India and in AfPak region by using locals, so if they are getting the same treatment, then they deserve it,” he claimed.

Government of India has categorically denied sanctioning any such killings, while stating that such actions are not a part of the policy that it pursues.

On the other hand, the governments of the United States and Israel, have publicly accepted carrying out such assassinations on foreign soil against people whom they have identified as their enemy. The most notable example of this is the killing of Osama Bin

Laden in Abbottabad in Afghanistan in May 2011 when Barack Obama was the President and then in October 2019 when US forces surrounded ISIS chief Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in Syria on the orders of then President Donald Trump after which he blew himself up.

Similarly, Israel had ordered Operation Bayonet, a covert operation directed by Mossad to assassinate individuals they accused of being involved in the 1972 Munich massacre.

The targets were members of the Palestinian armed militant group Black September and operatives of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). The said operation was authorised by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.

Some of the recent killings in Pakistan have been claimed by a little known organisation, Sindhudesh Liberation Army, a Sindhi militant organisation based in the Sindh province of Pakistan. It became publicly known in 2010 and it has taken credit for some of the recent killings.

The Sunday Guardian called and messaged a functionary of this organisation, who refused to comment on the matter.

Those who have died (in reverse chronological order):


Adnan Ahmed aka Hanzla Ahmed, Lashkar-e-Taiba, December, Karachi

Khwaja Shahid, Lashkar-E-Tayyaba, November, Neelam valley, PoK

Akram Ghazi, Lashka, November, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Raheem Ullah Tareeq, Jaish-e-Mohhamad, November, Orangi, Karachi

Dawood Malik, a close aide of Jaish’s Maulana Masood Azhar, North Waziristan

Shahid Latif, Jaish, October, Sialkot

Maulana Rehman, Lashkar, September, Karachi

Mufti Qaiser, Lashkar, September, Karachi

Mohd Riaz @Abu Qasim, September, Rawalkot, PoK

Sardar Hussain Arain, Lashkar, Karachi

Paramjit Panjwar, Khalistan Force, May, Johar town, Lahore

Khalid Bashir, Lashkar, May, Lahore

Syed Noor Shalobar (worked for both Lashkar and Jaish), March, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region

Bashir Ahmed Peer, @intiyaz Alam, Hizbul Mujahideen, February, Rawalpindi

Syed Khalid Raja, Al Badr, February, Karachi

Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar (worked closely with ISI’s operation in Kashmir) February, Afghanistan’s Kunar Province


Zahoor Mistry @ Zahid Akhund, Lashkar, March, Karachi

Zafrullah Jamali, Lashkar, March, Karachi


Abdul Salam Bhuttavi, Lashkar, May


Mohammad Ismael, LeT, PoK, February