FAISALABAD: The banned Pakistan Tehreek-i-Taliban’s local militants had allegedly been assigned the task of kidnapping members of Shia and Ahmadi communities for ransom for fundraising.
The plan, according to sources, was revealed by five militants during their interrogation by intelligence agencies.
The five alleged TTP terrorists -- Usman Ghani alias Talha of Jameel Town, Ghulam Mohammadabad, Ali Azam alias Farooq of Razabad, Mubashar Nadeem alias Bao of Chak Jhumra, Usman of Lahore and Shahzad Ali of Gurunanakpura – had been produced before the media by the police at a press conference on Nov 5.
The sources said the plan to kidnap members of two communities was approved after an ‘edict’ in favour of such kidnappings for ransom issued by an unidentified cleric.
According to the sources, the militants told their investigators that they would raise funds for terrorist activities by looting houses of Shia community members and stealing PTCL cables.
They also confessed that they would send a part of their ill-gotten money to their group leader, Qari Imran, in Miramshah. The alleged terrorists said a car laden with explosives and weapons that was seized by Faisalabad police on May 24 and was later remained in illegal use of an SHO, Rana Asif, was to be sent to an address in F-8 Markaz, Islamabad, for kidnapping some Chinese nationals.
They said the task of kidnapping the foreigners was assigned to two militants Umar and Muhammad.
The terrorists told the investigators they were also asked to send some specimens of Frontier Constabulary (FC) uniform to Miramshah which were to be used in a terrorist activity in Bannu.
According to the sources, one of the arrested terrorists, Usman, was born in 1987. He had taken part in fight against Nato forces in Logar, Afghanistan. He remained with Qari Imran in Miramshah for nine months and got militant training before leaving for Afghanistan.
Similarly, Ali Azam was born in 1990 and had been trained to use different weapons, including Kalashnikov. He escaped from police custody in Faisalabad after seizure of the explosive-laden car. He later lived for two weeks in Miramshah and then in Shawal near Afghanistan boarder.
The alleged terrorists had also planned kidnap of an officer of a secret agency residing in Razaabad, Faisalabad, near the house of Salman alias Asad. They wanted to use the kidnapped officer in a bargain for release of Usman Ghani alias Hamza and Abdul Ghani alias Kaka, both detained in connection with a suicide-car bombing at a local CNG station. After their release, Qari Imran was to give them a list of government officers for kidnapping, Usman was quoted as saying.
The TTP men had also planned kidnap of a Chinese national from a hospital in Faisalabad and an MNA who was the son of a veteran politician.
They revealed that Qari Imran had given them task of action against the military and police personnel and Shia and Ahmadi and they had been collecting the contact numbers of their potential targets.
Ali Azam said he had also been given instructions by Qari Imran for monitoring of an office at Saleemi Chowk.
The sources said their six accomplices, including Abu Bakar alias Shamil of Multan, Salman alias Asad of Razaabad, Usman Sabir, Kashif alias Nikkar of Pensra, Salman of Razaabad and Mohammad Shahid of Raiwind, Lahore, were yet to be arrested.
City Police Officer Dr Haider Ashraf said efforts were on to nab the accomplices of the arrested militants. He said police were finding it hard to arrest these outlaws as they were not using any cell phones.