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October 12, 2013

Capital police bust al-Qaeda’s drone project

October 12, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Police and intelligence agencies, in a joint venture, have discovered a drone project, an invention of the al-Qaeda chapter in Pakistan, sources said on Friday, adding that the joint team of the Islamabad Police and intelligence agencies timely intervened and halted the al-Qaeda’s ambitious project.
“Yes, the al-Qaeda Pakistan chapter had acquired drone technology and was in the final stages of implemeting the plan when intercepted,” sources said.The Islamabad Police, during a recent raid in the Kashmir Housing Society in G-15 area, recovered a huge quantity of arms and ammunition. The house belonged to Professor Irtyaz Gilani, a graduate in electronic engineering from Ghulam Ishaq Khan (GIK) University who has also served in the Air Weapons Complex, Kamra. After leaving the job at Kamra, Irtyaz served as a lecturer at the International Islamic University, Islamabad, teaching electronics.
Gilani managed to dodge the raiding team and is still at large, intelligence agency sources said, while some other sources claimed that he had been held and shifted to an unknown place for thorough investigation. Police investigators have recovered evidence of his links with al-Qaeda. Evidence also suggested that Tanveer, a most wanted terrorist of al-Qaeda, had been staying at Gilani’s place since January 2013 till the recovery of VBIED from Bhara Kahu.
During the raid, it was observed that the house was purposefully built, having a dedicated lab in the basement which was being used to develop the ambitious project. The police found the layout of drone technology, which they believe was acquired from different sources.
Investigations revealed that work on the drone project was underway for one-and-a-half years and considerable progress had been made. Small drones, which had already been tested, were also recovered from the lab in the house.
“Complete parts of a drone, including the airframe, wings and propelling motor, were also

recovered which, if made operational, could carry a significant quantity of explosives to damage vital buildings and other sensitive installations,” people engaged in the investigation of the case revealed.
“The al-Qaeda people had collected all parts of the spy plane from different sources and completed the assembling process in the basement laboratory in G-15 when the joint team swooped on them,” the sources said.
“They conducted a successful test flight of the spy plane in the Margalla hills but the small drone could fly within a radius of only one kilometre,” the sources disclosed. A large drone had almost been assembled and was to be tested before the law enforcing agencies raided the laboratory.
It is obvious that the al-Qaeda wants to target highly guarded complexes through these drones where ground access is impeded by the conventional security measures.
It is very important to remember that besides a few high-security buildings, there is no mechanism in place to guard against any aerial attack. Having realised the weakness, the al-Qaeda worked on this ambitious plan to give a surprise to the international law enforcement agencies, which has been averted, courtesy timely intervention by the police.
It is believed that Professor Irtyaz Gilani had been chosen for the task due to his qualification as well as work experience. It may be of value to remember that Ali Gondal, an employee of the AWC, was arrested in 2005 for planning an attack on Gen Pervez Musharraf. He had planted rockets in Rawalpindi; however, they malfunctioned leading to his arrest.
Ali Gondal is Tanveer’s real brother and links of the troika indicate the presence of al-Qaeda in leading anti-state operations in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Professor Irtyaz Gilani was working on a high-level post at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra, having rich technical information about putting up drone aircraft, the investigation report said. But it was still a mystery from where he got parts of the drone, investigators said.
The investigation report claimed that Professor Irtyaz Gilani, Tanveer Gondal and Hammad Adil were directly involved in the brazen attack on the Minhas Airbase of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) at Kamra on August 16, 2012, adding that Professor Gilani provided technical information and inside position of vital installations and aircraft to Tanveer Gondal and Hammad Adil before and during the attack while Tanveer and Hammad provided logistical support to the attackers.
Law enforcement agencies are hunting for Tanveer, the wanted associate of Professor Irtyaz and an old member of al Qaeda.The police authorities confirmed the report.

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