During the early hours of Wednesday, Sindh’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) gunned down two alleged terrorists of the banned Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) who were involved in the Saddar bomb blast. CTD officials also recovered weapons and explosive material from the suspects’ possession.
CTD Investigation Incharge Mazhar Mashwani told The News that they have been probing the case of the Saddar explosion that left a young man dead and 11 others injured. He said they have gone through the CCTV camera footage available and recorded the statements of witnesses.
During the early hours of Wednesday, information was shared with the CTD Sindh by a federally based intelligence agency regarding the presence of terrorists in the Keamari area. Taking action on the information, a joint raid was conducted at the hideout of the terrorists. On seeing the law enforcers approach, the suspects opened fire on the raiding team, who retaliated and an encounter ensued. After a brief shootout, police arrested two alleged terrorists in an injured condition, while their accomplices managed to escape.
The injured suspects were taken to a local police station, where they were pronounced dead. They recovered a kilogramme of explosive material, ball bearings, detonators, fuses, a detonating cord and a remote receiver. Officials took the explosive material to their headquarters.
Mashwani identified the suspects as Allah Dino and Nawab, saying that Dino was the mastermind of the Saddar blast and was also identified by CCTV camera footage that showed him riding a bicycle and parking it at the Saddar parking lot, where the explosion took place on May 12.
The CTD official also said that Nawab was the facilitator who provided the group accommodation, weapons and other necessities. The official added that further investigation was under way.
The bomb blast had occurred at around 11:20pm on Daudpota Road near Lucky Star, when a vehicle of the Pakistan Coast Guards was passing through. It is yet to be ascertained if the vehicle was the target.
The SRA had later claimed responsibility for the blast through social media. The explosion had damaged several cars and shattered the windowpanes of nearby buildings. A heavy contingent of law enforcers, including police and Rangers, had reached the site and cordoned off the area. “It was a terrorist incident, and the explosion was caused by an IED [improvised explosive device] apparently planted on a bicycle,” said an official, and added that 25-year-old Muhammad Umer, son of Sadiq, had been killed in the incident.
Who commands SRA?
The SRA, which has claimed responsibility for many terrorist attacks, was formed in 2010 by Syed Asghar Shah, an extremist Sindhi nationalist worker, originally a resident of Badah, District Larkana.
Shah had formed the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) with his old associate Shafi Burfat in 2000, parting ways with a big Sindhi nationalist party, the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz. JSMM head Burfat, originally a resident of a village of Sehwan, District Jamshoro, is residing in Germany with some of his associates. Those close to Shah believe that the SRA founder is hiding in a bordering town of Iran, from where he is running his terrorist cell.
The JSMM had openly announced their militant activities for their cause, initiated their political activities from the platform of the JSMM and formed the Sindh Liberation Army for their terrorist and sabotage activities.
Shah was arrested from Karachi’s Akhtar Colony in 2005 by a special investigating cell of the Sindh police. He remained behind bars for five years. In 2010, when he was released, he separated from his old partner Burfat and formed his own group, the SRA. Sources close to both groups say that with the passage of time, Burfat’s group weakened at their political as well as terrorist fronts, while Shah’s group gained more strength.
His group claimed attacking law enforcement agencies’ (LEAs) officials in various parts of Sindh and people of different ethnicities, carrying out blasts on electricity transmission lines and railway tracks, and targeting Chinese nationals, especially those working on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects. LEAs believe that there is active liaison between Baloch terrorists groups and the SRA, as they are cooperating with each other in attacks by providing logistic support and information of targets to each other.