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November 15, 2019

Two witnesses testify against suspected IS militant’

Karachi

November 15, 2019

Two prosecution witnesses deposed in an anti-terrorism court on Thursday against a suspected Islamic States militant accused of abetting a deadly suicide attack on the Sehwan shrine two- and-a-half years ago.

At least 82 people were killed and 383 wounded as a suicide bomber targeted the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan on February 16, 2017. The victims included children and women.

A judicial magistrate and a Counter Terrorism Department’s inspector testified against Nadir Ali during a trial hearing before the ATC-XVI judge. The magistrate said that the accused confessed to his crime before him and the inspector said that he had arrested him in Manghopir.

Earlier, eight witnesses, including a tappay daar, two doctors and survivors, testified before the ATC-16 judge. The hearing lasted for hours and the court’s time was extended to complete the proceedings.

The ATC had indicted Ali and Furqan as alleged facilitators of the attack in late September. Both the accused were arrested by the Counter Terrorism Department. The accused allegedly worked for the banned terrorists group IS, also known as Daesh.

According to the investigators, the accused and their absconding accomplices facilitated the attack. They were directed to do so by Mufti Hidayatullah, a chief of IS in Pakistan, who was reportedly killed by security forces in Kalat in July 2018.

The charge sheet said that Ali did a recce of the shrine for three days and passed on the information to Hidayatullah who then prepared a suicide bomber, identified as Barar Brohi, and sent him alongwith Ali to Sehwan.

More than four identified people, including Abdul Sattar, Ejaz Bangalzai, Zulqarnain, Tanvir and Saifullah, have been named as co-accused in the case. Investigators said that the accused had worked with terrorist groups in Balochistan and in southern Punjab.

The court adjourned the hearing till November 26 after the defence lawyers completed their cross- examination of the witnesses. The court has summoned other witnesses to appear and record their testimonies at the next hearing.

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