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Four well-educated men held on terrorism charge

Updated December 19, 2015

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KARACHI: Four well-educated people, including one who had studied at two American universities and was running his own educational institution, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the Safoora carnage and other terrorist attacks, according to a senior police officer.

The chief of police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), Raja Umar Khattab, said at a press conference on Friday that the wives of two of the arrested suspects, along with their accomplices, used to brainwash educated and rich women through sermons and videos about the militant Islamic State (IS) group and other terrorist outfits.

Mr Khattab said the four — Khalid Yusuf Bari, Saleem Ahmed, Mohammad Suleman Saeed and Adil Masood Butt — allegedly provided financial support and brainwashed the accused to prepare them for killing of members of the Ismaili community in a bus near Safoora Goth.

Adil Butt had studied in the US and had set up his own College of Accountancy and Management Sciences, which had three branches where around 2,000 students were enrolled.

Mr Khattab said a special team arrested Khalid Bari, an engineer who used to work for the Pakistan International Airlines, on the basis of findings of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of the Safoora carnage case.

Bari’s ties with Al Qaeda member Dr Akmal Waheed were established in 1996, he said. Previously, he was associated with Tanzeem-i-Islami led by late Dr Israr Ahmed but later left it.

Bari had also developed ties with the Karachi chief of Al Qaeda, Umar alias Jalal Chandio, the mastermind of the Safoora attack, Abdullah Yusuf, and Saad Aziz, Mufti Tausif, Saleem Ahmed, Suleman Saad and Adil Butt.

“They all were associated with a network of terrorists and provided financial and other support to the militants,” said the CTD chief.

Khalid Bari was an electronics engineer who studied at the Dawood College of Engineering and Technology (now a university). During initial investigations, he made several important disclosures, said Mr Khattab.

For instance, he told the interrogators that his wife had established Al-Zikra Academy where at least 20 educated and rich women were allegedly involved in brainwashing women besides generating funds for terrorist groups.

On the basis of his disclosures, another three suspects — Saleem Ahmed, Mohammed Suleman Saeed and Adil Butt — were arrested, said the CTD chief.

Saleem Ahmed used to collect donations for a militant group in 1992-93. During this period he also gave sermons which were attended among others by Abdullah Yusuf, the mastermind of the Safoora bus attack.

“Abdullah Yusuf and his brother Farhan Yusuf were associated with Al Qaeda,” said Mr Khattab.

Saleem also had close ties with Moid Islam, a member of Al Qaeda who was killed in an encounter with Rangers in Gulistan-i-Johar.

Mohammad Suleman Saeed is brother-in-law of Abdullah Yusuf and used to collect donations outside mosques and was also involved in delivering sermons in mosques and homes. He was also associated with Dar-ul-Fanoon Trust and used to provide funds to it.

“Adil Masood Butt is a highly qualified and rich man who studied at St Patrick’s and St Paul’s schools in Karachi and proceeded to the US where he did BBA from Indiana University in 1987 and MBA from New York Fordham University in 1992,” Mr Khattab said.

Adil Butt along with his partners established the College of Accountancy and Management Sciences (CAMS).

“The arrest of the four suspects revealed that a strong network of women was being led by Mrs Khalid Yusuf Bari who also distributed USBs containing videos about IS,” Mr Khattab said.

The arrests showed clearly that militant and terrorist organisations had established strong networks in educational institutions, he said.

The CTD chief said police were closely monitoring all universities in Sindh, including in Karachi. He urged the people to exercise extreme caution while giving donations which might be used for carrying out terrorist attacks.

Mr Khattab said that Khalid Bari had already been sent to the prison while investigations against other suspects were under way.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2015