Five arrested LeJ militants brought from Dubai

23 Oct 2015

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The suspects arrested with the help of Interpol are believed to be involved in killings, Mominpura massacre in Lahore. —AFP/File
The suspects arrested with the help of Interpol are believed to be involved in killings, Mominpura massacre in Lahore. —AFP/File

LAHORE: A militant allegedly involved in over two dozen terrorist attacks and his four accomplices were brought to Pakistan from Dubai on Thursday.

The suspects arrested in Dubai with the help of Interpol are believed to be involved in targeted killing of 12 people and the Mominpura massacre in Lahore.

The Punjab government had announced Rs2.5 million head money for Haroon Rasheed Bhatti, a proclaimed offender and founding member of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). He was a close aide of Malik Ishaq, the former chief of LeJ.

He is said to be involved in a massacre in Mominpura, Lahore, that left 25 people dead and more than 50 injured.

He is also believed to be behind the killing of DSP Tariq Kambo and his guard, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat leader Maulana Shamsur Rehman Moavia, Dr Shabihul Hassan, advocate Shakir Ali Rizvi, bank manager Syed Waqar Haider and Dr Qaiser Abbas.

According to police, his other victims include eye surgeon Dr Syed Ali Haider and his son Syed Murtaza Ali Haider, Khateeb of Masjid Moti Bazaar Khurum Raza Qadri, Allama Nasir Abbas Multani of the Tehreek Nifaz-i-Fiqah Jafaria and Syed Ali Hassan Qazalbash.

Bhatti is also accused of being involved in attacks on playwright Asghar Nadeem Syed, journalist and television anchor Raza Rumi and advocate Masood Abid Naqvi.

Police said all attacks had been carried out at the behest of the Malik Ishaq group of LeJ. Malik Ishaq, his two sons and 11 associates were killed in a police encounter near Muzaffargarh in July.

According to police, after obtaining secret information about the presence of Haroon Rashid Bhatti in Dubai, CCPO retired Capitan Amin Wains contacted Interpol a month ago.

After getting a reply from Interpol, he constituted a police team, led by CIA SSP Umar Virk, to go to Dubai to arrest Bhatti.

The team conducted a raid in Dubai in collaboration with Interpol, arresting Bhatti and his accomplices Ahmed Yar, Ghulam Mustafa, Tariq Nawaz Dhilon and Ayaz Ahmed.

The CIA team brought Bhatti and his accomplices to Lahore on Thursday and drove them to an undisclosed place for interrogation.

SSP Virk told reporters at Lahore Airport that the LeJ activists had been operating from Dubai and planning attacks on Muharram processions in different areas of Lahore.

According to a TV report, Bhatti was the last key leader of LeJ as all of its other leaders have either been killed in police encounters or arrested.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2015

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