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July 26, 2017

JIT to be formed for Lahore blast probe

Top Story

July 26, 2017

LAHORE: As feeling of sorrow overwhelmed the people in the provincial metropolis after the Ferozepur Road suicide bombing, the Punjab government on Tuesday decided to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the incident.

The additional home secretary and officials from the CTD and intelligence agencies would also be part of the special team.Although, the law enforcement agencies, including the CTD, failed to trace the facilitators of the Ferozepur Road blast, the operation helped in arresting two terrorists of TTP/ Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, who were reportedly planning another attack in the provincial capital. The CTD also claimed to have recovered IEDs/grenades from their possession.

According to the CTD spokesman, an intelligence-based operation was conducted on Tuesday evening during which two terrorists – identified as Ali Noor and Sartaj Khan – were arrested from the Walton Road.

The spokesman said they were preparing to launch an attack on law enforcement agencies personnel next week, adding that the accused terrorists had been shifted to some unknown location and were being interrogated. He confirmed that the arrests were not related to the Ferozepur Road bombing.

Meanwhile, senior investigators of CTD, police and intelligence agencies visited the blast site again on Tuesday and collected more forensic evidence. They also reconstructed the blast scene to ascertain the movement and modus operandi of the suicide bomber and his facilitators.It was still not confirmed whether the suicide bomber reached the scene on foot, bike or using some other vehicle.

The investigators say the Ferozepur Road is a busy artery and it is hard to identify the bomber in the absence of CCTV cameras there. The only CCTV pole of the Punjab Safe City Authority in the vicinity is not still connected with the control room and, therefore, law enforcers missed the blast footage.

The CCTV cameras installed on the Mall Road had helped identifying the suicide bomber and finally the facilitators were arrested within 48 hours. However, the investigators are groping in the dark in the case of latest bombing.

A senior investigator said the recent terror attack had similarities with the Bedian Road blast carried out to target a census team. The suicide bomber resembled the Ferozepur Road attacker and the modus operandi was also the same.

The CTD is also trying to match the DNAs of both the bombers to ascertain their relationship. The blast site was washed after collecting maximum forensic evidence and recording statements of eyewitnesses. In the recent blast, the investigators found hairs and a part of leg. The recovered body parts have been sent to the forensic lab for identification.

The road, which had been closed soon after the incident, was also opened for traffic.The investigators kept on tracing the communication of suicide bomber’s handlers through geo-fencing. The registration of bikes and a car was also confirmed as it belonged to the blast victims.

It is also worth mentioning that Azmatullah, a rickshaw driver, was also missing since the blast. His mother told media men that her son’s cell phone was switched off. Police said the DNA test would help in identifying her son.

At least 26 persons, including nine policemen, were killed while 55 others received injuries in the Monday’s terrorist attack.Two of the martyred policemen were brothers and recruited in the force one year ago.

A man and his wife were also among the victims. They had left their house in Walton for Ichhra for shopping of their daughter’s marriage. They have been identified as Niamat and Shahzadi Bibi.

Our correspondent adds from Burewala: Scores of people, including the top district officials, attended the funeral of Khurram Nazir, one of the martyrs of the Lahore blast, at the main graveyard of the city on Tuesday.

Nazir was a network operator at the Arfa Software Technology Park, commonly known as Arfa Karim Tower, and had married some six years ago. He left a widow, three daughters and a son. His father, Nazir Ahmad, said terrorists could not change the minds of the people and “we will fight till the last drop of our blood”.

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