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`Shikarpur LJ chief` among four militants held

By Imtiaz Ali 2017-03-18
KARACHI: The CounterTerrorism Department of the Sindh police claimed to have arrested four suspected militants belonging to the outlawed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, including a would-be suicide bomber, from different city areas on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference, CTD SSP Munir Ahmed Shaikh said that the department got information following the suicide bombing at the Sehwan shrine that some members of the Hafeez Brohi group had entered Karachi to carry out attacks.

He said that acting on a tip-off the police arrested Abdul Aziz Shaikh and Aslam Gul in Sohrab Goth and Keamari, respectively.

Later, on information providedby a held suspect, two brothers, Asadullah and Obaidullah, were picked up on the Superhighway when they were trying to enter Karachi, he added.

He said that suspect Shaikh was the chief of banned LJ in Shikarpur. `He was once arrested in a criminal case there in 2016, he said, adding that he was also associated with the banned Jaishi-Mohammad.

During an initial probe, the held militant revealed that he had remained a facilitator in several acts of terrorism in upper Sindh.

He used to prepare `teenaged suicide bombers`. He collected funds for the Al-Rehmat Trust, which is linked to Jaish-i-Mohammad, and then distributed these among the members of the banned outfit, said the CTD officer.

He had conducted reconnais-sance for carrying out a bomb attack at an Imambargah in Lakhi, Shikarpur. He was also a close aide of Asif Chhotoo, the IJ militant who was killed in a recent police encounter in Punjab.

The officer said that the meetings to discuss all major attacks took place at Shaikh`s pickle shop in Shikarpur.

Would-be suicide bomber About the suspected would-be suicide bomber Aslam Gul, he said he was sent to Waziristan for training by his friend`s father, Siraj, also belonging to the LJ, who managed to escape.

Af ter being trained, he was sent to Karachi to carry out a suicide bombing, he said, adding: `He was brainwashed by his trainers that he would go to paradise after com-mitting the suicide attack.

About the held brothers, SSP Shaikh said that their third brother, Abdul Ghani, also belonged to the IJ and he was already in custody.

CTD chief Sanaullah Abbasi told Dawn that a joint investigation team would be formed to grill the held militants.

He advised parents to keep an eye on their kids enrolled in seminaries.

He said that the father of the would-be suicide bomber had sent him to a seminary to study.

However, he was brainwashed and sent to Waziristan to become a suicide bomber.

Guard`s involvement in SP Aslam`s killing confirmed In a separate press conference,CTD officer Raja Umer Khattab said that Kamran, a guard of slain SP Chaudhry Aslam, was `indirectly` involved in a suicide bombing that killed him and others.

Before being killed, Kamran got an insurance policy worth millions of rupees.

The officer said that Kamran, who was also killed in the suicide bombing, had become an active member of the outlawed Lashkari-Jhangvi some years after being employed in the police.

He also shared findings of a JIT report of four LJ militants Qari Mohammed Javed, Wazir Husain, Zafar Ali and Hissan Ali who were recently arrested from Mehran Town following an encounter.

He said it was suspect Javed who told the police that Kamran was a close aide of Imran Bhatti, an I J militant who had carried out an attack on the Defence house of SP Aslam. He also told the investigators that Kamran`s and Bhatti`s graves were side by side.

The CTD official said that Javed had joined the LJ-Naeem Bukhari group in 2007 in Qayyumabad.

He was a plumber and met Bukhari several times.

He revealed that a process had been initiated for screening and vetting of possible supporters of the banned outfits in police.

To a question about reports that an educated girl of Hyderabad had joined the militant Islamic State group, the CTD official said the claim, made on the social media, needed to be verified.

He added that they had spotted a network of women who were allegedly raising funds for militants through social media platforms in Karachi, but of late they had not found any evidence that that network was still active.

LJ`s links with drug dealers The CTD official said that when LJ faced shortage of funds in 2013-14, it developed ties with drug dealers to generate funds.

He said suspect Zafar Ali, who originally hailed from Ghotki, had contacts with a drug trafficker, Rasheed, when he was living in the Dalmia area.

He said that Naeem Bukhari had arranged a meeting of Zafar with an `international drug dealer` who started providing a portion of his money to the LJ.

About the fourth militant Hissan Ali, he said he had joined the banned outfit in 2007 and he used to deliver money to the houses of deceased militants to provide financial assistance to their families.