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Six `foreign-funded hitmen` planning sectarian killings held

By Our Staff Reporter 2016-07-01
KARACHl: The counterterrorism department of police on Thursday claimed to have detained a gang of six `foreign-funded sectarian hitmen` allegedly planning to assassinate religious leaders and scholars in Ramazan.

The Sindh CTD chief, Dr Sanaullah Abbasi, told Dawn that this gang had done reconnaissance of 200 people for killing.

`They are funded by foreign actors for a proxy war in Pakistan, particularly in Karachi, said the CTD head.

Dr Abbasi described the arrests as a `breakthrough`.

Earlier speaking at a press conference at his office, CTD SSP Naveed Khowaja said the CTD, acting on a tip-off, arrested the six suspects in different areas of the metropolis.

The officer identified the suspects as Mohammed Ali, Syed Sheeraz Ali, Syed Hamid Abbas, Syed Israr Ali, Pervez Husain and Mohammed Mumtaz.

`This group has been working as a sleeper cell over the past five years,` said the officer.

They were also allegedly involved in making an attempt on the life of central Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat leader Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi in Gulshan-i-lqbal in 2012 in which four policemen and two civilians were killed while Maulana Farooqi, ASI Ashfaq Cheema and another person were wounded.

The suspects were also involved in the targeted killing of ASWJ leader Dr Fayaz in SITE last year, the police officer added.

This group had done reconnaissance of at least 15 religious personalities to target them in Ramazan and were planning another attempt on the life of Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi at his home in Landhi.

`For this purpose, they got a home on rent in Landhi and sported long beards to give the impression that they were the followers of Mr Farooqi`s school of thought, and used to offer prayers at their mosques. They were also carrying fake identity cards to hide their real identity.` Replying to a question, the officer said that they did not belong to any religious or political group.

However, the SSP added they were probing to ascertain as to whether they enjoyed `foreign support` to increase sectarian killings in Karachi.

Sabri murder case Responding to another question, the SSP said it was not a correct impression that the murder case of renowned qawwal Amjad Sabri had been `solved`.

`Some suspects have been detained who have provided positive leads and the investigators are working on them to unearth the identity and motive of the killers,` said Mr Khowaja.

He added that the investigators were focusing on different aspects of the murder such as personal enmity and sectarianism.

He revealed that the investigators had also obtained video footages, which were helping them in investigation. He claimed that they were working on this high-profile murder case on a `scientific and technical` basis.