Saturday October 16, 2021

RAW, NDS clearly linked to Dasu attack on Chinese nationals, FM Qureshi says

"The [RAW-NDS] nexus cannot bear China and Pakistan's growing cooperation," foreign minister says

Web Desk
August 12, 2021
Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, on August 12, 2021. — YouTube
Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, on August 12, 2021. — YouTube

ISLAMABAD: India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) are clearly involved in the Dasu incident, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Thursday.

At least 12 people, including nine Chinese nationals working on the Dasu hydel project were killed when a bus carrying them fell into a ravine following an explosion.

The investigation into the tragic incident was carried out with the assistance of a 15-member Chinese security team.

FM Qureshi, addressing a press conference, said: "Afghanistan's land was used in concocting the plan; the planning and execution link clearly to the RAW and NDS nexus."

"The nexus cannot bear China and Pakistan's growing cooperation and increasing Chinese investment in the country," the foreign minister said, adding: "Alhamdulillah, they failed in their attempts."

Pakistani authorities have traced the handlers of the incident and the investigation revealed that the car used in the incident was smuggled into Pakistan, the foreign minister said.

The probe also revealed that the terrorists' primary target was the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, but when they failed there, they chose Dasu next, he added.

The government arrived at a conclusion after taking into account several aspects of the investigation, said Qureshi.

The authorities reviewed 36 CCTV cameras along the 1,400 kilometre route that the bus had gone through, he said.

"We found a thumb, finger, and body parts [...] which were later analysed," said the foreign minister, adding that the authorities are fairly confident at this point that they must belong to the suicide bomber.

Qureshi said that the authorities also recovered mobile phones from the bus — which had security personnel and Chinese nationals onboard — and the data on them was also examined.

"We came to an initial conclusion that this was a blind case and could not be solved easily, but our institutions have successfully solved it," the foreign minister said.

He said more than 1,000 workers of the Dasu hydel project were scrutinised and interviewed.

Furthermore, the car used in the incident has been identified as to where it came from and how it was smuggled into Pakistan, he said.

The investigation

Taking over the media briefing, Deputy Inspector General Counter Terrorism Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Javed Iqbal said the convoy of vehicles that fateful day had left their base camp for Dasu at 7am. The incident occurred at the main Karakoram Highway (KKH) road, following which, CTD spearheaded the investigation along with other intelligence agencies.

"We found the parts of the car used in the incident. The finger and thumb of the alleged suicide bomber [Khalid aka Sheikh] were also recovered from the site and we did a forensic and chemical analysis of them."

The DNA and other samples of the person were cross-checked with the National Database and Registration Authority's (NDARA) database, but we found no leads there, Iqbal said.

Authorities then analysed more than 500GB worth of CCTV camera data, and this exercised helped us identify a vehicle, Honda Accord, he said, adding that Atlas Honda was contacted, but they confirmed it was not logically manufactured.

The mobile phones that we found belonged to the people who were on board the bus and we could not find any leads there either, he said, adding, "later, we scrutinised and interviewed the employees working on the project".

"We had exhausted all the angles that are used to solve a case," he said.

The authorities gathered information from across the country in the hunt for the vehicle, Honda Accord, and finally, we found a sticker of "Chaman 2 Motors" on the number plate of the car, he said.

Iqbal said the showroom's owner informed the authorities that he had procured the car seven or six months back — in November 2020. "When we backtracked the car, it emerged that it had been transported from Afghanistan."

The authorities then found a mobile phone through which they located the first suspect, Hussain. Later, we tracked him and through Hussain, we reached a second suspect, Ayaz, and arrested him from Karachi, said the top investigator.

Two sons of Hussain, who were included in the investigation, confirmed that their father had indeed procured the car back in November, he said.

Hussain and Ayaz, when interrogated, revealed that another suspect, Tariq, who belongs to the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and resides in Afghanistan, was also involved. He has gone back to the country after the incident, said Iqbal.

"RAW and NDS supported the people involved in the incident. Everyone in Pakistan who had planned the attack has been arrested," said the DIG.

Fourteen people are involved in the incident and Tariq is running this group from Afghanistan with the help of NDS and RAW, he said, adding that another suspect, Muavia, had planned the attack with Tariq.