India’s footprints are seen in every terror activity in the country, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Tuesday, noting that Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism for decades.
Addressing a joint press conference flanked by Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab Imran Mehmood, the interior minister said India’s malicious activities have gone "beyond that of an enemy state" just to hide its atrocities in occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
"India, through some way or the other, woos the international community and then engages in terrorist activities in Pakistan," the minister added.
Today, the inspector-general will brief you on a terrorism incident that Pakistan has decided to present before the international community and expose India's "nefarious" agenda.
"This incident took place some time back and we have caught all the culprits related to this. India has to some extent accepted the responsibility for it," he said.
In his briefing, AIG CTD Mehmood said the incident took place in Lahore's Johar Town at 11:09am on June 23, 2021.
As much as 200 kilogrammes of explosive materials were used in the blast and a car was used in it. The explosion resulted in the death of three people and injured 22 — including two police officers.
"To date, no terrorist organisation has accepted the responsibility of this attack. Since this was a residential area, cars and homes were severely damaged," the senior police official said.
As soon as this blast took place, CTD registered a first information report (FIR) and within 16 hours, the department "traced" the case. Also, in the initial 24 hours, CTD arrested three terrorists, Mehmood said.
The first character was Peter Paul David, Mehmood said, who was traced through the vehicle, he said, noting that the terrorist supervised the operation.
"He was affiliated directly with two RAW agents — Ali Budaish and Bablu Srivastava. These agents would terror finance him," the CTD official said.
Sajjad Hussain was David's assistant and assisted him in the Johar Town blast, Mehmood said, adding that Hussain also destroyed the phones used to communicate for the explosion.
The CTD official said David then directed the agencies towards another terrorist — Zia Ullah. "This guy was the main culprit's (Sami ul Haq) brother. He would also facilitate others in Pakistan and this was the main lead that helped us move forward."
He said that four to five days after, CTD officials tracked down two more culprits — Eid Gul and his wife, Ayesha Gul. Mehmood added that David gave the car to Gul for preparing it for the blast. Gul installed the explosive in the vehicle, he said.
"The video (shown earlier in the briefing) shows Gul coming out of the vehicle. Also, another person made videos of Gul preparing the bomb," the police official said.
Following Gul's pointation, the CTD was finally able to arrest Sami ul Haq — the main handler of RAW-sponsored terror activities in Pakistan — Mehmood said.
The CTD official said when Sami was identified, the law enforcement agencies were still unable to catch him, adding that he was also involved with RAW for at least 12 years.
"We then issued his red warrants through Interpol. Then, through intelligence reports, we arrested him when he was trying to enter Pakistan via Balochistan on April 24, 2022, along with his brother-in-law."
Mehmood added that his brother-in-law, Uzair Akbar, assisted Sami in terror activities and his red warrants were issued as well. Then, CTD also got information about Naveed Akhtar — who did the surveillance and selected the target.
"Naveed was a labourer in the Middle East and was in jail because he could not pay his fine. A RAW agent approached him and told him that he would pay his fine, but then, Naveed would have to engage in terror activities against Pakistan."
Mehmood said as Naveed was arrested, several terror activities were thwarted. "When we arrested Sami ul Haq, Naveed was unaware of his arrest. Sami ul Haq told us that he was about to meet Naveed on May 10. We were then able to apprehend Naveed as well."
Responding to a question, the interior minister said that the government would further tighten scrutiny of the deported Pakistanis in light of the case.
AIG CTD Punjab Imran Mehmood revealed that the terrorists wanted to target a house located in the nearby residential area. “The basic motive of the terrorists is creating panic among the citizens.”
The federal minister, however clarified that the incident took place near the residence of Hafiz Saeed, chief of the banned Jamatu Dawa. “It is considered that Saeed’s house was their target.”
Saeed was not at home, the minister said, adding that his family could be the terrorists’ target.
Due to the presence of police officials in the area, the vehicle could not reach its alleged target, Sanaullah further said.
The police officer added that they have obtained red warrants for four of the suspects so far, apart from the three who had been taken into custody.
He said that they have “undeniable evidences” that could establish India and its premier spy agency RAW were involved in the incident.
The minister further suggested that there should be coordination system between the CTD’s in all the provinces.
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