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January 12, 2019

Police announce arrests of five BLA facilitators in Chinese consulate attack

Karachi

January 12, 2019

Within one-and-a-half months after the foiled terrorist attack on the Chinese Consulate General in Karachi, the Karachi police and other law enforcement agencies (LEAs) have claimed a major breakthrough in the case by arresting five facilitators of the terrorists involved in the incident.

The police have also claimed that the plan to attack the consulate was hatched up in Afghanistan while Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) provided funds for it.

The arrested men are allegedly affiliated with the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). They were apprehended during a joint raid in the Malir area and identified as Abdul Latif, Hasnain Qayyum, Arif, alias Nadir, Hashim, alias Aleem and Aslam Mugheri. The LEAs also claimed to have recovered three hand grenades, three Kalashnikovs, two TT pistols, two rocket launchers, one-and-a-half kilogrammes of explosives and ammunition from their possession.

The Karachi police chief, Additional IG Dr Amir Shaikh, informed media persons about the arrests during a news conference on Friday.

“The plot to attack the consulate was hatched up in Afghanistan while Indian spy agency RAW funded the attack,” the Karachi additional IG said. He added that Aslam Acchu, a senior commander of the BLA, was the mastermind of the attack who was reportedly killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan in December last year. One of the arrested men, Arif, is a resident of Karachi and a close relative of Acchu, Dr Shaikh explained.

According to the city police chief, the BLA was being currently operated by its senior commander Bashir Zaib. The BLA had claimed the responsibility of the attack through a micro-blogging website three minutes after the attack, the officer said.

“The facilitators used to stay at different hotels in the Preedy and Lyari neighborhoods but the day before they carried out the attack, they spent the night at Arif’s residence in Baldia Town,” Dr Shaikh said.

“The terrorists brought their arms and ammunition for the attack from Balochistan through a train and kept them at Arif’s residence,” the officer maintained. “We are also looking to writing a letter to the railway authorities to ask them to enhance their security arrangements,” he said, adding that Arif is also wanted to police for murder and terrorism cases in Quetta.

“The attackers wanted to hold the Chinese consulate’s staff hostage as they had sophisticated weapons and hand grenades with them,” the officer explained. He added that the terrorists had continued trying to enter the consulate for at least 50 minutes before they were killed by the security forces.

The Karachi additional IG said the police had got crucial evidence during several raids in Balochistan and Sindh. He claimed that the attackers had facilitators in both the provinces who provided them logistic support and arms.

“The purpose behind the attack was to create a rift between Pakistan and China as well as to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Dr Shaikh asserted.

Two of the arrested men, Abdul Latif and Hasnain, had carried out the reconnaissance before the attack and even visited the visa section of the consulate, the city police chief explained, adding that the two facilitators were well aware of the routine activities at the visa section and due to their information, the attackers had also attempted to use the visa section to enter the consulate.

According to Dr Shaikh, the terrorists used multiple vehicles for travelling in the city and the recce of the consulate was done for four months between August and November 2018.

The officer said the terrorists had arrived in Karachi on the basis of bogus CNICs and a letter was being written to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) in this regard so that it could take steps to avert such activities in the future.

The attempted attack at the Chinese consulate was foiled on the morning of November 23 as three terrorists, who tried to enter the consulate, were killed by the security agencies. Two policemen and two visa applicants – a man and his son from Quetta – lost their lives in the incident while a security guard was wounded.

During the news conference, Dr Shaikh also commented on investigations in other cases of terrorism in Karachi. Investigations into the Quaidabad bombing, which took place on November 17 last year, are under way and soon good news will be heard, Dr Shaikh said. Regarding the killing of former MNA Ali Raza Abidi, the city police chief said the case was being investigated from different angles and it would be premature to say anything before the investigations were completed.

Meanwhile, Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Syed Kaleem Imam lauded the police party for successfully tracing and arresting the five BLA activists. The provincial police chief also announced a Rs2 million reward for the police party.

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