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April 12, 2019

Jundullah man holed up since 2008 caught

Karachi

April 12, 2019

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Sindh police on Thursday claimed to have foiled a major terrorist attack in Karachi by arresting a hardcore terrorist of a banned outfit.

CTD officials also claimed that the arrested man was despatched by his organisation from Afghanistan so he could help carry out a major terrorist attack in Karachi.

Senior counterterrorism officer Raja Omar Khattab said the suspect was identified as Muhammad Ishaq, aka Gul, a hardcore terrorist of the banned Jundullah. He added that they also recovered a suicide vest, which that was ready to be detonated, and two hand grenades from the suspect’s possession.

“He [the suspect] intended to carry out a major terrorist activity in Karachi, as he had reached the city via other parts of Sindh and Balochistan from Afghanistan.”

Khattab said the suspect’s name was already in the CTD’s Red Book, adding that he was a resident of Paposh Nagar in Karachi and was also a neighbour of the chief of the Naeem Bukhari group of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, namely Attaur Rehman, alias Naeem Bukhari.

Talking about the suspect’s background, the CTD officer said he had joined Jundullah in 2006 and received training in militancy from Afghanistan, adding that he had also been involved in bank heists in the Rashid Minhas Road and Saudabad areas of Karachi in 2007 to generate funds for his organisation.

“That same year he kidnapped a trader from a Defence Housing Authority neighbourhood and a professor from the Green Town area near the Karachi airport for ransom. He was also involved in the murder of a policeman and a passerby during two bank robberies in Malir’s Saudabad area.”

Also in 2007, the suspect kidnapped a police informer from near Awami Markaz on Sharea Faisal, said Khattab, adding that the following year he was involved in a shootout with the police in the Shah Latif area in which some of his accomplices were killed and arrested, while two policemen, including a DSP, embraced martyrdom.

Providing details of the banned Jundullah, Khattab said the organisation was formed between 2003 and 2004 by the then Al-Qaeda commander Hamza Joffi, alias Haji Mumtaz, in Waziristan. Joffi was killed during a 2012 drone attack in Afghanistan.

The CTD officer said Jundullah had been one of the most active militant organisations in the country, particularly in Karachi, and had been found involved in different major incidents of terrorism in the city.

Khattab listed them as the twin blasts outside the Avari Towers, frequent attacks on police and other officials, the twin bombings outside the Pakistan American Cultural Centre, the attack on the Gulistan-e-Jauhar police station, the attack on a Rangers mobile, the attack on a former Karachi Corps commander, the 2009 bomb blast on a Yaum-e-Ashura procession in Saddar and bank robberies and kidnappings for ransom to generate funds.

The officer said the suspect had gone into hiding following a shootout with the police in the Shah Latif area in 2008 and had been holed up in Waziristan and Afghanistan, adding that some of the Jundullah militants had been imprisoned, some had been killed in police encounters and some were still in Afghanistan.

He said the Jundullah militants arrested in connection with the Ashura bombing managed to escape from the city courts in 2011, adding that one of them, namely Murad Shah, was killed on the spot and two more, namely Wazir Shah and Shakeebul Hassan, were killed later in a drone attack in Waziristan.

“The arrested suspect was with his accomplices when they were killed in a drone attack in Waziristan, but he survived and managed to escape. He is a hardcore terrorist and now he is being interrogated about his plan to carry out terrorist activities in Karachi for which he had arrived from Afghanistan.”

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