Lahore: Asif Commando: a key plotter in Wali Babar’s murder
LAHORE: Asif aka Waseem Commando, one of the most wanted target killers from Karachi who was arrested from Lahore on November 13 for his involvement in the January 2011 assassination of the Geo News’ reporter Wali Khan Babar, had played a crucial role in orchestrating the devious murder plot along with Faisal aka Mota, the ring leader of the death squad, who is still at large. According to well-informed officials in the security establishment, Asif aka Waseem Commando was arrested from a small house in the College Road area of Township. Having already been declared a proclaimed offender in the Wali Babar murder case, Commando was also wanted for the murders of two police inspectors who had been shot dead in Karachi by armed motorcyclists.
Commando has told investigators that he had moved to Lahore after the May 25, 2012 killing of Liaquat Ali, another accused in the Wali Babar murder case, in a police encounter in the Sea View area of Clifton. Liaquat was with a gang of armed robbers at the time of the encounter and his Suzuki car had been used in the shooting of Wali Khan Babar. Asif aka Commando’s arrest is being described by the security officials as a big catch which could possibly lead to the arrest of Faisal Mota, the ring leader.
However, quite interestingly, Commando is learnt to have told his investigators that he was constantly changing his hideouts in Lahore in recent months — from Sabzazar to Pakistan Mint to Township — mainly due to apprehensions that he could be killed by his own associates.
There are unconfirmed reports of the arrest of another target killer from Lahore, Tanveer, who is learnt to have travelled from Karachi to Lahore last week, primarily to physically eliminate Asif aka Waseem Commando, who is the eighth accused arrested in the Wali Babar murder case. According to the findings of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted by the government to probe the murder, it was on January 7, 2011, that Faisal aka Mota and Asif aka Waseem Commando had convened a clandestine meeting of over a dozen notorious shooters from Karachi (inside a park in KBR buffer zone area) and apprised them of their next target — Wali Khan Babar.
According to the findings of the Joint Investigation Team consisting of officers from the Military Intelligence, Inter–Services Intelligence, Rangers Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and the Special Branch of Sindh Police, while confessing their involvement in Wali Khan Babar’s murder, the accused had disclosed that the assassination orders were issued by their boss — Adeel aka Agha Murtaza who now operates from South Africa. Adeel aka Agha Murtaza had passed orders directly to Faisal Mota and Asif aka Waseem Commando. Both of them had subsequently finalised the murder plan, before eventually distributing Wali Babar’s snaps among 28 shooters, eight of whom have already been arrested.
The remaining 20 target killers who were provided with Wali Khan Babar’s picture and who are still at large included Nasir Iqbal aka Ganja, Mohammad Ayub Arain, Javed Sheikh, Sharif Mota, Raja Naseem, Liaquat Ali, Khalid Saeed aka Ganderi, Munawwar Iqbal, Shahid, Azeem, Sami, Dilshad, Imran, Asad, Ibrar, Junaid, FaizanJameel, Naeem and Rizvi.
The first batch of the five accused in Wali’s murder was arrested from the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area of Karachi on the night of April 8, 2011, while they were riding a stolen car.
Those nabbed from Karachi included Mohammad Shah Rukh aka Maani, Faisal Mahmood aka Nafsiati, Shakeel aka Malik, Syed Tahir Naveed Shah aka Polka and Syed Mohammad Ali Rizvi.
The second batch of two accused was arrested from a Hyderabad’s Liaquat Market on December 9, 2011. Those arrested from Hyderabad included Syed Mohammad Kamran aka Zeeshan Lamba and Faheem aka Buddhu. And last but not the least, Asif aka Waseem Commando was arrested on November 13, 2012, from the College Road area of Town Ship in Lahore.
According to well-placed sources in the security establishment, during preliminary investigations, Asif aka Waseem Commando, has confessed to his involvement in Wali Babar’s murder by pinpointing his role. According to the JIT findings, during another meeting of the shooters, which was held on January 13, 2012, at a tea shack in Gulshan Azeem area of Karachi, Faisal Mota and Asif Commando had constituted three teams to target Wali Babar. The first one was the operational team led by Syed Tahir Naveed aka Polka who was riding a car. Faisal aka Nafsiati, Syed Mohammad Ali Rizvi, Kamran aka Zeeshan Lamba, and Khalid Saeed aka Ganderi were inside that car at the time of the murder.
Two other teams were to ride motorcycles with a view to provide cover to the operational team. The JIT report into Wali Babar’s murder states: “On January 13, 2011 at 1500 hours, Faisal Mota instructed Shah Rukh to reach Jang/Geo office where he reached at 1600 hours. Faisal Mota then called Rizvi and asked him to reach his place.
Accordingly, Rizvi along with Javed Sheikh reached Mota’s home where Asif alias Waseem Commando, Shahid, Zeeshan, Liaquat, Naveed alias Polka, Nasir and Shakeel were present. Faisal Mota said that he along with other boys was going to kill Wali Khan Babar.
At about 8:30pm Rizvi, Faisal Mota, Faisal alias Nafsiati and Liaquat departed in a car while the other boys departed on motorcycles. On reaching Teen Hati near teashop they started waiting for the car of Wali Khan Babar. Shah Rukh alias Mani was coming behind the car of Wali. At about 2130 hours, Faisal Mota received a call from Shah Rukh who informed that Wali Khan Babar has reached nearer. On this, Faisal Mota asked Rizvi, Liaquat and Faisal Nafsiati that they will give cover to Zeeshan with him and boys on motorcycles including Naveed and Shakeel who had come with Liaquat will do the same job and Zeeshan and Asad will kill Wali Babar.
Hence, they started moving behind the car of Wali Khan Babar in their car and on motorcycles. When Babar’s car reached Liaquatabad No-1, there was severe traffic jam and vehicles were in standstill position.
At this moment Shah Rukh who was following Wali’s car, signalled Zeeshan towards Wali Khan Babar’s vehicle. Zeeshan moved towards the car of Wali Khan Babar while other boys came out of the car with their weapons and intimidated people by brandishing weapons in a bid to harass them.
In the meantime Zeeshan fired 6 or 7 shots on the face of Wali Khan Babar on his right side resulting in his death. After murdering Wali they all fled and reached the home of Faisal Mota.”
Almost 18 months down the road since Babar’s murder, six eyewitnesses in the case had been murdered by assailants in cold blood. Haider Ali, the only surviving eye witness was silenced to death only last week (on November 10) outside his residence in the soldier Bazar area of Karachi.