Two alleged KPO attack facilitators indicted

December 08, 2023

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) has indicted two alleged facilitators of a terrorist attack on the Karachi Police Office (KPO) in February this year.

Abdul Aziz and Mehran Ahmed were arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) for allegedly facilitating the February 17 attack that killed four people, including Rangers Inspector Taimor Shehzad and police constables Muhammad and Ghulam Abbas, and injured 18 others, most of whom were security personnel.

Army soldiers stand guard outside the Karachi Police Office compound a day after an attack by terrorists in Karachi on February 18, 2023. — AFP

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman and social media handler Mohammad Khurasani and two other militants — Moulvi Sher Zaman and Umer Farooq — were nominated in the FIR by police for “masterminding, aiding and facilitating” the attack. Two of the absconders, Zaman and Farooq, have already been declared proclaimed offenders in the case, with perpetual warrants issued for their arrest.

As the case came up for hearing before the ATC-XIII judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, the two detained suspects, Aziz and Mehran, were produced from the prison. The judge framed the charges on the accused, who pleaded not guilty and opted to be contest the case. Subsequently, the judge summoned the prosecution witnesses to record their testimonies on the next hearing.

According to the charge sheet filed by the investigation officer (IO) of the case, two facilitators of the attack, Aariyadullah and Abdul Wahid, were killed in a shootout with police in Manghopir on March 13, while Aziz and Mehran were arrested. The four suspects were travelling from Balochistan to Karachi with an intention to carry out terrorist attacks, when they were intercepted by law enforcers. It read that Aziz had facilitated the KPO attack by purchasing a Toyota car for Rs1 million from Hub, Balochistan for the attackers, which the three terrorists used for travelling to the Saddar Police Lines, where they entered the KPO building from the backyard by cutting barbed wires.

The IO mentioned that two other persons on a motorcycle accompanied the attackers and showed them their target, following which they got out of the car. One of the attackers, Zala Noor, had blown himself up, while the other two, one of whom was identified as Kifayatullah, were killed by the security forces during the gunfight. The officer said Khurasani and two other TTP militants orchestrated, aided and facilitated the attack. Khurasani had claimed the responsibility for the KPO attack on social media.

In the light of the statements of the detained suspects, Khurasani, Zaman and Farooq were charge-sheeted under the section 512 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for committing offences punishable under the sections 11-F (proscription of person), 22-I (aid and abetment) and 22-L (punishment for an absconder) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). More sections, including 120-B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) and 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage to the amount of one hundred rupees) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), were incorporated in the case after completion of investigations.

Initially, an FIR was lodged at the CTD police station on behalf of the state under the sections 34 (common intention), 302 (murder), 324 (attempted murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 427 (mischief causing damage amounting to Rs50) and 460 (breaking into a house for murder) of the PPC, and the section 3/4 of the Explosive Substances Act, read with the section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the ATA.