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July 4, 2019

Chinese consulate attack: BLA key suspect brought to Karachi from Gulf state

National

July 4, 2019

KARACHI: A day after the United States declared the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) a terrorist group, Rashid Brohi, a commander of the proscribed BLA, who allegedly played a key role in the last year’s Chinese Consulate attack in Karachi, has been apprehended, The News learnt on Wednesday.

A senior counter terrorism officer privy to the matter who wished not to be named while confirming his arrest revealed that the suspect was taken into custody from a Gulf state with the help of Interpol and has been brought to Karachi. Officials of different intelligence and law enforcement agencies are interrogating him about his involvement in the consulate attack and about his organisational’s structure, modus operandi and terror activities. Brohi is a militant of the Balochistan Liberation Army and is believed to be a prime suspect in the consulate attack case, said the official.

Brohi has been accused of providing facilities to the attackers and had received Rs900,000 from the organisation before the attack. “Brohi was himself present to monitor the attack on Chinese consulate while providing all facilities to them,” the official said. “He had fled the country after the attack but was later identified by suspects arrested by law enforcement agencies during the course of investigation.”

Though the BLA has been a proscribed entity in Pakistan since 2006 following attacks on security personnel, the US Department of Treasury terrorism added it to a list on Tuesday stating that the State Department had designated the BLA and Hizballah operative Husain Ali Hazzima as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under the Executive Order (EO) 13224.

Three attackers of the BLA attempted to storm the Chinese consulate located in Block 4 of upscale Clifton neighbourhood on November 23, 2018, killing two policemen and two civilians on the spot. However, the security forces killed all the three attackers. Two policemen, Assistant Sub Inspector Ashraf Dawood, and Constable Amir, were martyred and a security guard was injured in the attack while two civilians, a father and son, named Zahir Shah and Abdul Karim, who had arrived for visa purposes, were also killed in the attack.

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) had claimed a major breakthrough in the case by arresting five facilitators of the terrorists involved in the incident. The police had 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 men 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 while claiming that the plot to attack the consulate was hatched up in Afghanistan while Indian spy agency RAW funded the attack, 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 had 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 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.