Faces of terror: The men behind horrific attacks

Published Dec 18, 2014, 9:48 pm IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 6:13 am IST
There are several most wanted persons who are fugitives from law after killing innocent people
Clockwise from top: Maulana Fazlullah, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Omar Saeed Sheikh.
 Clockwise from top: Maulana Fazlullah, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Omar Saeed Sheikh.

Terrorism across the world has been growing day by day as terror attacks take place at regular intervals. The storming of a school in Pakistan’s Peshawar city has once again ignited the fight against terrorism, there are several most wanted persons who are fugitives from law after killing innocent people.

Here’s a profile of some of the most wanted terrorists – some in jail while others roam around free.


Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi also has a Red Corner Notice issued against him. He was the man behind many attacks inside India, including the 2008 Mumbai attack, and the 2006 Mumbai train bombings.

Lakhvi was named as one of the four possible major plotters behind the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. He reportedly offered to pay the family of Azam Amir Kasab Rs1,50,000 for executing the attacks.

On December 7, 2008 Pakistani armed forces arrested Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi in a raid on an LeT training camp near Muzafarabad in Pakistani Kashmir. He was among 12 people detained.


Pakistan confirmed the arrest but refused to hand over any of its citizens to Indian authorities. Officials stated that any Pakistani citizen accused of involvement in the attack would be tried in Pakistan.

Maulana Fazlullah, who also wanted Malala Yousafzai’s life, is responsible for the mayhem he unleashed on Tuesday, where 132 school children were massacred in Peshawar. It was his orders to have Malala shot in October 2012.

According to The Daily Beast, Fazlullah took charge after the U.S. successfully killed predecessor Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of al-Qaeda linked Movement of the Taliban Pakistan.


Fazlullah took over the TTP 13 months ago. Born in the Swat district in 1974, he emerged as a key militant leader in the early 2000s. Later, with the support of more than 4000 fighters, he established a parallel Islamist government in Swat that imposed Sharia across 59 villages in the district in 2007.

Fazlullah earned his nickname, Radio Mullah, after he used FM broadcasts to push his jihadist sermons. Among his preferred topics were “major sources of sin” such as music, TV and computers, as well as a government polio vaccination drive, which he claimed was a Western conspiracy to control the Muslim population.


Hafiz Saeed is the leader of Jama'at-ud-Da'wah, a terrorist organisation, operating mainly from Pakistan. He is one of India's most wanted terrorists because of his ties with Lashkar-e-Taiba and its involvement in 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Saeed is the head of one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist organizations today, Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LeT), or the Army of the Pure. It was created in 1987 by three Islamic scholars: Saeed and fellow Pakistani Zafar Iqbal, then residents at the Engineering University in Lahore, and Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian, then at the International Islamic University in Islamabad.


LeT’s ideology as laid out by Saeed goes far beyond recovering the Muslim parts of Kashmir for Pakistan. He seeks the creation of a Muslim caliphate over the entire subcontinent.

Saeed is known for his fiery, provocative speeches, which spread the extremist ideologies of LeT. It is claimed that he is the main source of recruitment for the outfit, with his speeches reeling in more gullible minds to the Lashkar cause.

Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-Pakistani national, was imprisoned in India in 1994 for kidnapping three British citizens and an American. He served time in jail from 1994 to 1999.


Saeed was freed along with Maulana Masood Azhar and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar was freed when Pakistani terrorists hijacked an Indian airliner to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December 2000, a plot masterminded by bin Laden and assisted by the ISI and the Afghan Taliban.

Saeed was part of the plot two years later to kidnap Daniel Pearl and turned himself in to Brigadier Shah. Musharraf nominated Shah to be ambassador to Australia, but Canberra said no thanks. So he got the intelligence-bureau job.

He was convicted and sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in Karachi after he was found guilty of killing Pearl.


Pearl, who was working on a story on al Qaeda in 2002, was kidnapped and beheaded by Sheikh and three others in Karachi. Intelligence agencies had arrested Sheikh in February 2002 from Lahore soon after Pearl’s killing.