The death of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone attack on August 5 is alone unlikely to give Pakistan an easy reprieve in its military operations in the inhospitable tribal areas. For, scouring its countryside, as also its teeming cities, are many more irredeemable militants with guns in their hands and jehad on their minds. And they walk with a ready reckoner of their enemies, from the satanic United States to the hypocritical Pakistan government to the infidel India. Their goals are defined—they want to drive the Americans clean out of Afghanistan or install a government in Pakistan willing to support them or wrest Kashmir from India.
But it’s true, Baitullah’s death will have thrown the TTP into some level of disarray. Under his leadership, the TTP had established its sway over the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), particularly South Waziristan, inflicting heavy casualties on the Pakistan army and sending bombers to rain havoc on Pakistan’s cities. Such was his reign of terror, so strong had the Taliban become in the area bordering Afghanistan, that the Americans feared Baitullah had all but destroyed any hope of tracking down Al Qaeda fugitives, including Osama bin Laden. A harried Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the US had finally announced a whopping $5 million on Baitullah’s head, in addition to Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency’s Rs 50 million.
Militants in Pakistan can be placed in two categories— those whom Pakistan and the US have declared terrorists and want to apprehend or eliminate; and then those wanted only in India, accused of fomenting terrorism there at the Pakistani state’s behest. The latter mostly enjoy state patronage (whether acting solo or not), operate with impunity and are often not officially clubbed as terrorists. Outlook looks at both lists, and profiles Pakistan’s most wanted men.