The life and many deaths of Baba Ladla

Notorious Lyari gangster Baba Ladla has been reported dead, yet again.

The most wanted criminal and two members of his gang were killed in a shootout in Karachi’s Lyari neighbourhood, a Pakistan Rangers statement claimed.

We have been here before

Most recently, in Aug 2015, there were reports that Baba Ladla had been killed in Iran. Some TV channels went as far as showing clips of a body, claiming that it was Baba Ladla.

Back in May 2014 too there were reports of Baba Ladla having died in Iran, incidentally along with two friends, this time at the hands of Iranian border guards.

But such a confirmation has never followed before.

“The killing of Baba Ladla group [members] is a lesson for all those youngsters, who inspired by leaders like Baba Ladla are backing or linked to crimes, that they cannot escape the grasp of law,” the Rangers statement said.

Early life

Noor Muhammad, alias Baba Ladla, was born in 1977 in Chakiwara. He had three brothers. His father worked as a labourer.

, Baba Ladla wanted to become a police officer.

“Subsequently I applied for the post of a police constable and used to visit the Central Police Office daily for a year as some cops gave me the hope that I would get the job,” he had told the daily in a May 2012 interview.

As per the report, after a year of false promises by the cops, he turned to selling hash.

As Baba Ladla started to make waves in the drug trade and gain infamy, his father disowned him.

The makings of a drug lord

Drug trade, gang violence and proxy war have been the order of the day in Lyari for years now. “It was in the 1980s when Lyari began to be corrupted by the drug menace. Insignificant hooligans turned into drug traffickers and their mushroom growth was phenomenal,” an old guard of a leftist party had told krachireports.

It was during this time that Haji Laloo became a household name and certain areas of Lyari came to be regarded as drug dens, the report further stated.

Haji Laloo and Rehman Dakait formed a gang and recruited youth. Among these men was a young Baba Ladla.

After the two partners had a falling out, Laloo went on to form another gang run by his son, Arshad Pappu.

Baba Ladla became Rehman Dakait’s right-hand man.

After Dakait

In August 2009, Rehman Baloch was killed in a ‘mysterious’ police encounter, “A three-day mourning was announced, but a potential watershed moment was lost. Lyari’s peace had been disturbed for good, once again.”

Contrary to all expectations, Baba Ladla was not named the new chief of the gang with Uzair Jan bagging the nomination.

Nonetheless, in the tumultuous neighbourhood, Ladla continued to go from strength to strength, attracting friends and enemies alike along the way.

Among these friends was Uzair Baloch, another notorious leader of the Lyari gang war and chief of proscribed Peoples Amn Committee (PAC). After remaining close aides at one time, the relation between the two turned sour and they became rivals.

Baba Ladla joined forces with the Arshad Pappu gang, against PAC and Baloch — who is currently in judicial custody.

With the Rangers operation gaining traction, Baba Ladla fled to Iran in 2014.

They got to him eventually. Acting on a tip-off about the presence of Ladla, the Rangers started an operation in Lyari’s Phool Patti Lane area. According to Rangers, Baba Ladla was wanted by the police in more than 74 cases.

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