Thursday June 20, 2024

Bisham attack: Islamabad asks Kabul to hand over TTP terrorists

The interior minister said the TTP operated the Bisham terror attack on Chinese citizens from inside Afghanistan

By Ag Afp & News Desk
May 27, 2024
Rescue workers and security officials examine the site of the attack on Chinese workers. —PPI/file
Rescue workers and security officials examine the site of the attack on Chinese workers. —PPI/file 

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi has said that Pakistan has evidence that Afghanistan’s soil was used for an attack on Chinese engineers in Bisham, and it is a matter of great concern for Islamabad.

He demanded that the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan should hand over banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists involved in the Bisham terror attack to Islamabad.

Addressing a joint press conference along with officials of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta), Naqvi said: “Whether Afghanistan try the terrorists [in the court of law] or not, it should hand over the militants to Pakistan.”

At least six people, including five Chinese nationals, were killed after a suicide bomber rammed into the bus transporting the staff working on the Dasu hydropower project in Bisham, Shangla district, in March this year.

In view of the investigation report, the interior minister said the TTP operated the Bisham terror attack on Chinese citizens from inside Afghanistan.

“[Pakistan has formally] requested the interim government in Afghanistan to arrest the leadership of [banned] TTP,” he added.

Briefing the media about the progress of the probe, Naqvi said: “Probe agencies have prepared an investigation report.” He said they had concrete evidence that the TTP carried out the terror attack on the Chinese engineers and Afghan soil was used for it.

The minister said they wanted friendly ties with Kabul, adding that “it is only possible if they cooperate with Islamabad”.

Responding to a question, he said the government had contacted the interim authorities in Kabul but “good results are not coming from there”.

The interior minister said Pakistan gave great importance to its ties with China, adding that both friendly nations support each other at different global forums. “The security of Chinese nationals is very important to us.”

He said the government “is taking all possible measures to ensure the security of Chinese nationals” in the country.

To another question about the suicide attack on the Chinese nationals, Naqvi said that it was a planned attack. “The government knows very well which forces want to create a law and order situation in the country.”

The minister said such threats coming from across the borders make regional security more complex.

Mohsin Naqvi said Pakistan had beefed up its security at borders, adding that the government was well aware of the elements behind such incidents, which wanted to harm relations between Pakistan and China. He said support was being provided to TTP-like terrorists in border areas.

He said Chinese security was very important and new standard operating procedures (SOPs) had been made in this regard and were being strictly implemented.

The minister said that in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the Counter-Terrorism Department was doing great work and they had developed themselves in very short span of time.

Mohsin Naqvi said the Pakistan government had requested the interim Afghan government to arrest Bakhtiar Shah, Qari Asadullah and Khan Lala and specially TTP Ameer Noor Wali Mehsud, TTP Malakand Commander Azmatullah Mehsud and other senior leaders of the TTP.

National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) Coordinator Muhammad Tahir Rai gave a detailed briefing about the investigation carried out so far. He said the entire incident was planned in Afghanistan and objective was to harm the Pakistan-China relations.

He said 11 accused namely Adil Shehbaz, Shafiq Qureshi, Zahid Qureshi, Nazeer Hussain, Faizullah, Fasihullah, Imran Swati, Sakha-Ullah, Abdullah, Abdul Rehman and Kamal Khan had been arrested so far. He said the accused were in police custody on physical remand. The remaining accused including Hazrat Bilal would be arrested soon.

Tahir said a cellphone, which the suicide bomber had been using to communicate with his local handlers, led to the arrest of suspects. The investigation and evidence show the militants had been taking instructions from TTP leaders in Afghanistan. He said one of the SIMs was issued in the name of Adil Shah, a resident of Mansehra, and the other one in the name of Shafique Qureshi. “Adil Shah was in contact with terrorist Hazrat Bilal.”