Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)

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Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)

LEADERS: Fazlur Rehman Khalil; Farooq Kashmiri Khalil




The Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), or the Movement of Holy Warriors, is a militant organization based in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. The group is led by Farooq Kashmiri Khalil, an ex-military commander belonging to the disputed state of Kashmir. However, the main driving force behind this group is Fazlur Rehman Khalil, who served as the leader of the group since it was formed in 1985. The governments of India and the United States allege that both Kashmiri and Rehman have strong links with al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.

The HUM, in its early years, was involved in fighting against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. However, subsequently it shifted its focus to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), with the aim of liberating the state from India. The group is also referred to as Harakat ul-Ansar (HuA), Faran, Al Hadith, Al Hadid, and Jamiat-ul-Ansar.


The Harakat-ul-Mujahidin, as most analysts argue, has been in existence twice. It claims to be formed in Pakistan in 1985. Soon after its inception, members of the HUM reportedly were sent to Afghanistan for the jihad (holy war against those who do not believe in Islamist fundamentalism) against the Soviet forces protecting the communist regime in the country. The fight against the Soviet Union continued till 1989, when the Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan. However, the group did not disintegrate. Instead, it focused its effort on participating in the jihad against Indian forces fighting in Kashmir.

The group allegedly merged with other militant groups in the region. At this time, as reported by the Indian government, most of the group's funding was provided by Inter-Services intelligence (ISI)—Pakistan's secret service. It is even reported that the Clinton administration had asked the Pakistani government to sack numerous key members within the ISI who were allegedly involved with the HUM. Most experts argue that it was ISI that was responsible for merging HUM with another Pakistan-based terrorist organization, Harakat-ul-Jihadi-i-Islami (HUJI), in 1993. The new group operated with the name Harakat ul-Ansar (HuA). During this period, the HUM conducted a number of operations against the Indian troops as well as civilians in Kashmir. Other leaders, including Maulana Masood Azhar and Ahmed Omar Sheikh, gained significant prominence within the group. They are thought to be the masterminds behind many of the killings and abductions organized by the group.

In 1997, the U.S. government labeled and banned HuA as a terrorist organization, issuing various reports stating that the group had strong links with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, an already banned terrorist outfit that the government held responsible for a number of attacks on United States targets around the world. Although, the United States disagreed, Indian security forces and intelligence agencies claimed that the group was still operating under its earlier name, Harakat ul Mujahidin. In the subsequent years, the HUM was suspected to be the main driving force behind several killings in Kashmir. Analysts argued that the group had also started assisting in other jihad operations around the world, including those in Algeria, Egypt, Chechnya, and Bosnia.

Many members of the HUM were also involved in the infiltration into Kargil and Drass (parts of Indian-administered Kashmir) in 1999. Reports from the Indian Military and Intelligence agencies suggested that the infiltration was masterminded by leader of the Pakistani Army, Pervez Musharraf (as of 2005, the self-appointed president of Pakistan) and supported by the Pakistan government. After heavy fighting for days, the militants were driven back into Pakistan.

It was after the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., that the U.S. government categorized the HUM as a terrorist organization and officially banned it. According to published U.S. State Department reports, as of 2005, the group also operates under the name Jamiat ul-Ansar (JUA) and has a few hundred members.


HUM aims at establishing Islamic rule in the Indian-ruled state of Jammu & Kashmir by liberating it from India. Osama bin Laden and other members of al-Qaeda are the key sources of inspiration for HUM's ideology. Although, the group was formed with the mission of fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s, it quickly shifted focus to jihad against Indian security forces in Kashmir.

Every new recruit to this group is compelled to follow the hardcore Islamic doctrine of jihad. The group condemns all non-Muslim ideologies and propagates Islamic supremacy. It is also against secular influences from the Western world.

Soon after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in the late 1980s, the HUM set up training camps in Pakistan to assist other militant groups fighting the liberation of Indian-governed Kashmir. During this time, the group borrowed its ideology from a number of extremist organizations apart from al-Qaeda. These included other groups based in Pakistan such as the Harakal ul-Jihad-i-Islami, and the International Islamic Front for jihad.

The U.S. and Indian governments have alleged in the past that the ISI of Pakistan provided major funding to HUM until the Pakistani government cracked down on the operations of the outfit as a result of international pressure after the September 11 attacks in the United States. It is also suspected that other terrorist groups, madrassas (Islamic schools), and private donations supplement their funding.



Fazlur Rehman Khalil served as the leader of HUM right from its inception until the year 2000. As of 2005, Rehman is one of the most prominent terrorists in the world. He is reportedly hiding, especially since the U.S. government stepped up its efforts to capture him. He is thought to have close ties with Osama bin Laden and the former Taliban regime of Afghanistan. Many experts and monitor groups believe that he has mentored many Taliban members.

Reports suggest that Rehman was one of the signatories who signed Osama bin Laden's fatwa (declaration of war) against all Americans in 1998. Western and Indian intelligence agencies claim that Rehman has been responsible for setting up a large number of terrorist training camps across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Other prominent leaders of HUM include Farooq Kashmiri Khalil (who took over as leader of HUM after Rehman stepped down), Maulana Saadatullah Khan, and Maulana Masood Azhar (founder of the terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed).


The ISI (Pakistan's intelligence agency), allegedly merges HUM with Harakat ul-i-Islami (HUJI) to form the Harakat ul-Ansar (HuA).
Prominent leaders of HuA, including Pakistani national Maulana Masood Azhar, captured by Indian security forces.
Five western tourists abducted and allegedly killed by Al-Faran (a splinter group of HUM).
The U.S. Government declares HuA as a terrorist organization.
HUM calls for a fatwa (holy war) against the United States.
HUM members hijack an Indian Airlines flight and take it to Kandahar, Afghanistan. They demand the release of Azhar and other leaders in exchange for the hostages, which is eventually met by the Indian government.
U.S. government declares the HUM as a terrorist organization.

Analysts suggest that the group, over the years, has also developed strong links with Muslim insurgency groups in the other areas of the world. These include Abu Sayaff, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from the Philippines, as well as a few groups operating in the Middle East.

Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM) a.k.a. Harakat ul-Ansar


HUM is an Islamist militant group based in Pakistan that operates primarily in Kashmir. It is politically aligned with the radical political party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam's Fazlur Rehman faction (JUI-F). The long-time leader of the group, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, in mid-February 2000 stepped down as HUM emir, turning the reins over to the popular Kashmiri commander and his second-in-com-mand, Farooqi Kashmiri. Khalil, who has been linked to Usama Bin Ladin and signed his fatwa in February 1998 calling for attacks on U.S. and Western interests, assumed the position of HUM Secretary General. HUM operated terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan until Coalition air strikes destroyed them during fall 2001. Khalil was detained by the Pakistanis in mid-2004 and subsequently released in late December. In 2003, HUM began using the name Jamiat ul-Ansar (JUA), and Pakistan banned JUA in November 2003.


Has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir. Linked to the Kashmiri militant group al-Faran that kidnapped five Western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995; one was killed in August 1995, and the other four reportedly were killed in December of the same year. HUM was responsible for the hijacking of an Indian airliner on December 24, 1999, which resulted in the release of Masood Azhar. Azhar, an important leader in the former Harakat ul-Ansar, was imprisoned by the Indians in 1994 and founded Jaish-e-Muhammad after his release. Also released in 1999 was Ahmed Omar Sheik, who was convicted of the abduc-tion/murder in January-February 2002 of US journalist Daniel Pearl.


Has several hundred armed supporters located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions and in the Kashmir valley. Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris and also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war. Uses light and heavy machineguns, assault rifles, mortars, explosives, and rockets. HUM lost a significant share of its membership in defections to the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) in 2000.


Based in Muzaffarabad, Rawalpindi, and several other towns in Pakistan, but members conduct insurgent and terrorist activities primarily in Kashmir. HUM trained its militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Collects donations from Saudi Arabia, other Gulf and Islamic states, Pakistanis and Kashmiris. HUM's financial collection methods also include soliciting donations in magazine ads and pamphlets. The sources and amount of HUM's military funding are unknown. In anticipation of asset seizures in 2001 by the Pakistani Government, the HUM withdrew funds from bank accounts and invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate, and production of consumer goods. Its fundraising in Pakistan has been constrained since the Government clampdown on extremist groups and freezing of terrorist assets.

Source: U.S. Department of State. Country Reports on Terrorism. Washington, D.C., 2004.

The HUM, as part of its strategy, has also changed names and combined with other militant outfits to avoid ramifications of the ban placed by the U.S., Indian, and Pakistani governments. The group stepped up its operations against Indian forces after the arrest of some of its key leaders such as Maulana Masood Azhar and Ahmed Omar Sheikh in 1994. Omar Sheikh was convicted of the kidnapping and murder, in 2002, of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Since the arrest of the leaders in late 1999, the HUM's tactics were primarily aimed at kidnapping/killing Indian security force personnel and foreign tourists from Kashmir in a bid to release the captured leaders. Azhar, Omar Sheikh, and others were finally released in December 1999, when HUM members reportedly hijacked an Indian Airlines flight carrying more than 150 passengers from Katmandu, Nepal. The flight was taken to Kandahar, Afghanistan (then ruled by the Taliban regime).

Soon after his release, Azhar formed the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan. Intelligence agencies and monitor groups report that the HUM's operations have been severely affected since most of its members joined the JeM in 2000. They also argue that due to the crack down by the Pakistani government, the group has allegedly removed its funds from bank accounts and invested them in legal businesses in Pakistan.


Harakat ul Mujahidin's leaders have often spoken about their enmity against India. It is also reportedly against the peace process between India and Pakistan. In 1999, Fazlur Rehman Khalil publicly opposed the visit of A.B. Vajpayee (Prime Minister of India, at the time) to Lahore, Pakistan. Before the visit, Rehman stated "Islam's enmity with India is ideological and not just territorial. More bodies of Indian officials would be sent in coffins from Kashmir on the days Vajpayee visits Lahore."

Indian authorities and leaders have consistently linked the HUM with al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In October 2001, soon after the terrorist attacks in the United States, the then Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh stated in a press conference that, "The al-Qaeda network, it will be interesting to know for you, has a number of terrorist organisations that are operating in Jammu and Kashmir and in India. So, when al-Qaeda is targeted, these terrorist organisations are all targeted. Amongst them is Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and also there is one organisation that operates in Bangladesh called Harkat-ul-Jehad of Islam. These are organisations that are part of the al-Qaeda network that have already been announced."

At this time, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf reportedly denied the existence of any of the militant groups in Pakistan. News reports have often quoted him comparing these organizations to "freedom fighters" fighting for the independence of Kashmir.


The Harakat ul Mujahidin (a.k.a. Harakat ul Ansar) gained prominence among the various militant groups operating in Kashmir during the 1990s. They have reportedly carried out a number of terror operations against the Indian military and civilians in Kashmir (Jammu & Kashmir). However, Western and Indian intelligence agencies assert that since 2000, most of its members have joined the Jaish-e-Mohammed—another terrorist organization formed by Masood Azhar, a former leader of HUM.

The HUM has been designated a terrorist outfit by most governments in the world.


Web sites

CNN.com. "India Launches Major Ground Assault in Kashmir; Talks Set with Pakistan." 〈http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9905/29/india.pakistan.02〉 (accessed October 19, 2005).

Embassy of India, Washington D.C. "Profile of the Terrorist Group Involved in Hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814." 〈http://www.indianembassy.org/pic/PR_1999/December_99/PR_Dec_27_1999.html〉 (accessed October 19, 2005).

Ministry of External Affairs, India. "Transcript of Press Conference by Shri Jaswant Singh, External Affairs and Defense Minister." 〈http://meaindia.nic.in/mediainteraction/2001/10/11mi01.htm〉 (accessed October 19, 2005).

SAPRA India. "Indian Airlines Plane Hijack: Background Articles." 〈http://www.subcontinent.com/sapra/terrorism/harkat〉 (accessed October 19, 2005).