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Terrorist Group of Pakistan
Lashkar-e-Omar (The Army of Omar)


Lashkar-e-Omar (LeO) is a new terrorist group reportedly founded in January 2002 and is a conglomerate of Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HuJI), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) cadres. It was formed after the arrests of several front-ranking Islamist leaders in Pakistan following President Pervez Musharraf’s address to the nation on January 12, 2002, in which he committed himself to dismantling the structures and networks of terrorism based in his country. The etymology of Lashkar-e-Omar is yet not clear. According to some reports, it is named after Mullah Mohammed Omar, chief of the Taliban militia. Other reports have indicated that the name is allegedly a direct homage to Syed Ahmed Omar Sheikh, a front-ranking JeM terrorist who was, on July 15, 2002, sentenced to life by an Anti-Terrorism Court in Hyderabad, Sindh, for his role in the abduction-cum-murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

The LeO first came into prominence in November 2001 when it reportedly claimed responsibility for an attack on a church in Bahawalpur in Punjab. A police personnel and 17 Christians, including five children, were killed and nine others injured when six unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate fire at a church in Model Town, Bahawalpur, on October 28, 2001.


Their version of Islam is akin to that of the Taliban militia of Afghanistan. The LeO’s ideological underpinning is a mixture of Islamist fundamentalism and totalitarian thinking.

Leadership and Structure

The LeO, according to media reports, was formed as a loose coalition of terrorists. While the group provides new cover for terrorist actions of LeJ, JeM and HuJI, it also includes several like-minded ‘freelancers’. Omar Sheikh, currently in prison, and Amjad Hussain Faruqui of the HuJI, a fugitive accused in the Daniel Pearl case, are both closely linked to the LeO. They and their terrorist colleagues were associated with the various training camps in Afghanistan when the Taliban was in power there. Omar Sheikh was reportedly one of the instructors at one such camp. LeO cadres comprise of various Taliban members, certain Al Qaeda terrorists and terrorists from the HuJI, LeJ and JeM. Reports have indicated that Pakistani cadres of terrorist groups and Islamist parties allied with Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF), who managed to survive the US air strikes in Afghanistan and crossed over into Pakistan, are also part of the LeO. According to a May 2002-report, the LeO consists of handpicked cadres of the HuJI, JeM and LeJ and was formed primarily to carry out ‘punishment acts’ of terrorism against Americans on Pakistani soil.

The Lashkar-e-Omar is reportedly headed by Qari Abdul Hai alias Qari Asadullah alias Talha, chief of the LeJ’s Majlis-i-Shoora (Supreme Council). Qari Asadullah reportedly formed his faction of the LeJ after parting ways with LeJ founder Riaz Basra in October 2000. Basra and three of his associates were killed in an encounter in Mailsi, Multan on May 14, 2002. According to a June-2002 media report, since the LeJ was proscribed, Qari Asadullah decided on the name Lashkar-e-Omar and also succeeded in incorporating terrorist cadres from other proscribed groups like the JeM and LeT into the new group.

The LeO is stated to be patterned after bin Laden's IIF. Besides, cells of the group comprising 5-15 cadres also exist. Therefore, according to official sources, it has become difficult to infiltrate such a homogenous group of motivated cadres.

Most of the key members of the conglomerate are veterans of the 1980s jihad in Afghanistan against the erstwhile Soviet Union.

Operational Strategies and Linkages

Official sources have indicated that what makes Lashkar-e-Omar a serious threat is the fact that most of its cadres are members of the same class and camp trained by Amjad Faruqui. Faruqui, a HuJI terrorist, is wanted for his involvement in the murder of Pearl. LeO also has suicide cadres in its ranks. The LeO is allegedly involved in the suicide bombing outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi on May 8. In that incident, 14 persons, including 12 French nationals, were killed. Security agencies suspect that there exist more LeO fidayeen (suicide) squads and that these would target foreign nationals, particularly Americans and Britons residing in Pakistan.

The LeO has close linkages with the Al Qaeda and several terrorist groups active in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir. Karachi based Al-Rashid Trust (ART) is reportedly funding the Lashkar-e-Omar. The ART is one of the 27 groups and organisations listed by US State Department on September 22, 2001 for involvement in financing and supporting a network of international Islamist terrorist groups,

Activities and Incidents

  • The Lashkar-e-Omar is suspected to be involved in the terrorist attack on a church in Model Town, Bahawalpur in Punjab on October 28, 2002, in which a police personnel and 17 Christians, including five children, were killed and nine others injured.

  • It is reportedly closely linked to the abduction-cum-murder case of US journalist Daniel Pearl and JeM terrorist Omar Sheikh has been sentenced to life for involvement in this case.

  • The group, according to official sources, is allegedly involved in the March 17, 2002 grenade attack on a church in the heavily guarded diplomatic enclave in Islamabad in which five persons, including a US diplomat's wife and daughter, were killed and 41 others injured.

  • Besides, the LeO was reportedly involved in the suicide bombing outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi on May 8, 2002 and the June 14-attack on the US consulate in Karachi, in which 10 persons, including five women, were killed and 51 others injured.





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