Thursday May 23, 2024

Karachi ATC indicts five for attacking Chinese Consulate

By Zubair Ashraf
January 12, 2021

KARACHI: An Anti-Terrorism Court on Monday framed charge against five suspects for allegedly facilitating an attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi in 2018.

The accused include Ahmed Hasnain, Muhammad Aslam, Nadir Khan, Ali Ahmed and Abdul Latif, who are said to be associated with the ethnic insurgent group the Balochistan Liberation Army. They were taken into custody by the Counter-Terrorism Department in January 2019 for allegedly providing tactical and logistics support to the attackers.

According to the investigation officer, Latif and Aslam had confessed to the crime before a judicial magistrate a week after their arrest. However, during the hearing at the ATC-VII, all of the accused denied the charges and opted to contest the case. Three heavily-armed militants had attacked the Chinese Consulate located in the high-security zone of Clifton’s Block-4 on November 23, 2018. Four people, including security personnel and visa seekers, were killed in the ambush.

The attackers, later identified as Abdul Razzaq, Raees Baloch and Afzal Baloch, were also killed in the ensuing gun-and-grenade fight with the police. A large numbers of weapons, ammunition and explosives were recovered from the attackers. Besides the indicted suspects, the police had also booked BLA chief Hyrbyair Marri and other leaders Kareem Marri, Bashir Zaib, Aslam Baloch, Noor Bakhsh Mengal, Rehman Gul, Nisar, Gaindi, Sheikhu Sharif, Hamal, Agha Sher Dil and Munshi. All of them have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case.

The court on a the previous hearing had ordered the police to approach the Interpol for the arrest of Hyrbyair, who is living in exile and allegedly masterminded the attack from a foreign country. The judge also issued perpetual warrants of arrest for the absconders.

The judge had also ordered confiscation of all movable and immovable properties belonging to the absconders and directed the investigation officer to release their sketches to seek public help in tracing them. Previously, the IO had told the court that neither Nadra nor the Election Commission of Pakistan had any identification data of the absconders.

According to the charge sheet, the attack was carried out by the BLA in connivance with Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing to damage the relations between Pakistan and China and to disrupt the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

It added, the attackers were constantly in contact with Hyrbyair and other suspects, the alleged facilitators, of the terrorist attack. It said that four Kalashnikovs, two improvised explosive devices, detonators, hand grenades, explosive material and bullets were also seized from the attackers.