ISLAMABAD, Sept 10: Three brothers and their families who lived in the outlying Sector G-15 are untraceable since the Islamabad police and intelligence agencies raided their house over the weekend and discovered spying implements and arms there, and arrested their cousin from the Indian-held Kashmir staying with them.
Their neighbours told Dawn on Tuesday that Dr Mujahid Gilani disappeared with his wife and the wife of Irtiyaz-un-Nabi Gilani from their Gilani Manzil, situated in Street 21, G-15/1, in the nick of the time, soon after Irtiyaz fled the scene firing at the joint raiding team and the visiting cousin Syed Mohammad Shoaib was arrested.
Zulqarnain Gilani, the third brother, occasionally visited the house, mostly in what appeared to be military uniform, said the neighbours. They said the three families occupied the basement and mezzanine of the house, while the main ground floor appeared not in use.
Disappearance of all the occupants of the house has deepened the mystery surrounding the raid and their alleged blood relationship with Aasiya Andarabi, leader of Dukhtaran-e-Millat, a vigilante group of Indian-held Kashmir.
Diplomatic sources say that the blood relationship of Irtiyaz Gilani with Ms Andarabi came to light when Indian intelligence intercepted a senior Hurriyet leader’s telephone call.
Shoaib, the arrested man, was said to be a distant relative of Ms Andarabi whose vigilante group is part of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference of the Indian-held Kashmir.
Sources close to the raiding team said Irtiyaz, who was misidentified as Irtiqaz in the FIR that police registered about the case, is a junior lecturer of electronics at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI). He graduated from the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering and Technology.
A visit to the Gilani Manzil, where four small surveillance drones were found among a big arms cache, showed it standing rather isolated, with neighbouring houses far and in between. Those living closest were reluctant to talk about their now mysterious neighbours. A few, however, opened up when assured their names would be kept secret.
One of them said that ‘professor’ Irtiyaz and Dr Mujahid had been regular occupant of the Gilani Manzil for three years. Dr Mujahid had worked in POF Hospital, Wah Cantonment, for years before joining a clinic at G-15 Markaz.
Their father is also a doctor by profession and working abroad. Shoaib, the man in police custody, arrived in Islamabad a few weeks ago from Saudi Arab.
“Their other brother (Zulqarnain) used to visit and stay in the house quite often. Usually he came in military uniform,” he said. “The inmates of Gilani Manzil kept to themselves and only male members were spotted on their way to mosque or their jobs.”
Another man residing in the same Street 21 recalled that on Friday nights all the three brothers were seen together with their families.
“But the newspapers and TV channels reported that only one (of them) was arrested, while Irtiyaz escaped,” he said, wondering about the whereabouts of the rest.
Sources close to the investigations said that the Gilani family hailed from Srinagar in the Indian-occupied Kahmir. It migrated to Mirpur in Azad Jammu and Kashmir in 1989 and moved to Muzaffarabad three years later, only to move Abbottabad after three months in the Azad Kashmir capital.
They shifted to Islamabad and started living at Gilani Manzil three years ago.
Shopkeepers of the Markaz told Dawn that Dr Mujahid started practicing as general physician in a clinic in the market just one month ago.
However, all sources were tight lipped about the activities of Zulqarnain.
A workshop, equipped with all sorts of tools and equipments, existed in the Gilani Manzil’s basement. Some sources suspected that Irtiyaz fabricated the remote-controlled planes recovered from the house there. He made alteration in the planes’ model by installing three to four boxes at top to carry explosives for terrorism, they said.
The sources said investigators traced some foreign accounts operated by the suspects and probe was in progress.
They think the suspects planned terrorist activity in collaboration with Al-Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.
A senior officer when contacted for confirmation expressed “complete ignorance” about Zulqarnain’s profession.
But the officer commented that the suspected activities in the Gilani Manzil could be a follow-up of the botched terrorist attempt at Bhara Khau, which led to the recovery of a vehicle packed with explosives from a house. People behind the two events might be connected, he added.
An FIR has been registered with Tarnol police station about the latest recovery by SHO Mohammad Ashraf.
While suspect Irtiyaz escaped firing at the raiding team, Shoaib was arrested and he led the team to the explosives and ammunition buried in the lawn of the house.
A police team again visited the house on Tuesday and dug up more spots inside and outside the house and also searched the house but found nothing, the sources said.