The Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, on Thursday claimed to have killed Noor Mohammed alias Baba Ladla, the leader of one of the several gangs in Lyari, in an ‘encounter’ that officials and observers said could pave the way for further improvement in security situation in one of the most crime-infested localities of the city.
His two close accomplices, Sikander alias Sikku and Mohammed Yasin alias Mama, were also gunned down “during the exchange of fire”, said a Rangers spokesperson.
The official added that Baba Ladla was the most wanted and ruthless ‘terrorist’ of Lyari who had established ‘torture cells’ to spread fear among the people. Police said he had been booked in 98 cases of heinous crime, while there were more than a dozen cases against his accomplices.
City SSP FaizullahKorejo said Baba Ladla was the head of the ‘militant wing’ of now defunct Peoples Amn Committee (PAC) led by imprisoned Uzair Baloch. They had jointly eliminated their rival gang led by Arshad Pappu. The two ringleaders parted ways after Arshad Pappu’s murder in 2013. With the arrest of Uzair Baloch last year, the balance of power in Lyari gang warfare had shifted in favour of Baba Ladla’s gang.
It was around 4am on Thursday when the paramilitary force conducted a targeted action while acting on credible information about the presence of Baba Ladla in PhoolPati Lane of Baghdadi, according to the Rangers’ spokesperson. Seeing the law enforcers, the suspects used automatic weapons and lobbed hand grenades at them, the official said, adding that the ensuing exchange of gunfire continued for 35 minutes. “During the exchange of fire, the most-wanted suspect of Lyari gang war and notorious terrorist commander, Noor Mohammed alias Baba Ladla, was killed along with his two accomplices, namely Sikander alias Siku and Mohammed Yasin alias Mama,” said the official.
The bodies were shifted to the Civil Hospital Karachi for a post-mortem examination later at around 9am.
“Baba Ladla and another deceased [suspect] sustained six gunshot wounds each on different parts of their bodies, while their accomplice sustained a single bullet wound,” said additional police surgeon of the Civil Hospital Karachi Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi. “Noor Mohammed alias Baba Ladla, son of Ghulam Hussain Lund, died of chest, abdominal and limb injuries leading to excessive haemorrhage as a result of firearm projectile,” according to the medical report prepared by Dr Ali Raza and obtained by Dawn.
According to the Rangers’ statement, the killing of Baba Ladla is a message for all the criminals and youths who are affiliated with them that they will be ‘taken to task’.
“There were total 98 cases registered against Baba Ladla at different police stations of the old city areas,” said City SSP FaizullahKorejo while speaking to Dawn. He said that he was declared absconder in some cases.
He was involved in attacks on police that left two policemen, Fayyaz and Tufail, dead in April 2012. He was also involved in the murder of five people, including Haji Aslam and his sons. He along with Uzair Baloch had brutally killed their rival, Arshad Pappu, and his accomplices, desecrated their bodies and burnt them. He kidnapped and killed ‘three Mohajirs’ in March 2013, said the Rangers’ official statement.
Sikander alias Sikku, a close aide of Baba Ladla, was wanted in 15 terrorism cases. He was involved in sale and purchase of illegal weapons. He was also involved in several attacks on police officials and civilians in 2012 and 2013.
Mohammed Yasin alias Mama, a right-hand man of Baba Ladla, was involved in drug trade besides attacks on members of Kutchhi Rabita Committee, said the Rangers’ official.
39 ‘gangsters’ fled: “Apparently, the [killing of Baba Ladla] was a good thing, as it will further improve law and order,” said a keen observer of Lyari situation requesting anonymity. “There is positive reaction to the elimination of the known characters, as residents expect they are moving towards durable peace in Lyari,” he added.
SSP Korejo also agreed with these views explaining that many criminals had been killed while around 39 ‘gangsters’ had fled the country since the launch of targeted operations in 2013. He said the police would recommend to the provincial government to announce reward money for their arrest.
The gang warfare in Lyari had first intensified in 2003 when Faiz Baloch alias Faizu Mama, a transporter and father of now-imprisoned Uzair Baloch, was allegedly kidnapped and killed by the father of Arshad Pappu, according to law enforcers. “In order to avenge the murder of his father”, Uzair Baloch joined a gang led by Rehman Dakait who was later killed in an ‘encounter’ with slain SSP of police’s counterterrorism department, Chaudhry Aslam, in 2008. Uzair Baloch took over the gang and launched the now defunct Peoples Amn Committee to continue criminal activities along with the fight against Arshad Pappu and Ghaffar Zikri groups.
Besides, they also fought with the ‘hitmen and activists’ of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in the neighbouring towns of Lyari”, according to Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) report of Uzair Baloch reviewed by Dawn on Thursday.
After the launch of targeted operations in September 2013, Uzair Baloch fled to Dubai and was arrested by the Rangers on Jan 30, 2016 while “he was trying to enter Karachi from Balochistan”. Baba Ladla, too, had disappeared from the scene and at one time rumour had it that he had been killed somewhere in Balochistan.