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Police on Friday claimed to have arrested a "most wanted" militant linked with the banned Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) who at one point remained a close aide to the convicts of the Safoora Goth carnage.

At least 47 members of the Shia Ismaili community, including 18 women, were killed when the bus they were travelling in came under attack near Karachi's Safoora Goth in May 2015.

Speaking at a press conference at his office and later talking to Dawn, Karachi-West SSP Omar Shahid Hamid revealed that the detained suspect, identified as Ahsan Mehsud alias Roshan, was involved in major acts of terrorism and had also ordered reconnaissance of MQM-P leader Dr Farooq Sattar in 2013.

Acting on a tip-off, a police party led by Orangi SP Abid Ali Baloch arrested Ahsan from Mominabad area and recovered a large quantity of explosive material from his custody.

SSP Omar said the held suspect is an IT expert who had completed a diploma in computer science from a private IT institute in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and graduated from a private college in DHA.

His brother, Ali Mehsud alias Maaz runs a militant network in Wadh, Balochistan while his uncle, Hasan Mehsud is also an active member of the AQIS, the officer said.

SSP Omar told Dawn that the arrested suspect had remained a close aide of the Safoora bus carnage convicts namely Saad Aziz and the attack's mastermind, Tahir alias Sain.

Ahsan had also practiced shooting at a famous shooting club in DHA along with Saad Aziz, he said.

‘New cell’

While the AQIS was split in 2013 when Saad Aziz, Tahir Sain and others joined the militant Islamic State (IS) group and massacred members of the Ismaili community, Ahsan Mehsud remained associated with AQIS, said SSP Omar.

The senior officer believed that Ahsan had come to Karachi to form a new cell of AQIS to target law enforcers and members of other communities on sectarian grounds after an older network of the militants, which had launched a series of attacks on law enforcers in 2015, had been dismantled.

During initial investigation, the detained AQIS suspect had "confessed" to his involvement in several terror acts, he said.

Laptop funds

According to the SSP, Ahsan was sent to Waziristan for training in 2011 and he later received further training in Kuchlak area just outside of Quetta where he met a certain Dr Saad and five to six other militants hailing from Arab countries.

In Balochistan, he also met Abdul Qadir alias Haji Baloch who gave him Rs150,000 to purchase a laptop. Haji Baloch and his son Zubair were involved in various acts of terror and kidnapping for ransom.

'Bomb-making factory'

SSP Omar claimed that the held suspect’s uncle, Hasan Mehsud had turned his home in Gulshan-e-Iqbal into a "bomb-making factory" after his wife died and he sent his children to his native town.

“Trained militants of AQIS including Saad Shamsi, Umer Bengali, Usman and others ran this bomb-making factory,” the officer claimed.

Ahsan was included in the 'most wanted' list prepared by the Counter-Terrorism Department in 2015.

SSP Omar disclosed that Ali Mehsud had arranged a meeting of his brother Ahsan with Tahir Sain in Bahadurabad in January 2013. Tahir Sain is said to be the mastermind of the Safoora carnage who motivated Ahsan towards militancy.

Starting from February 2013, Ahsan along with his accomplice Tahir Sain carried out various attacks on police and Rangers personnel, members of the minority Bohra community and political workers in Karachi and Hyderabad. Also in 2013, the arrested suspect along with Saad Aziz and others attacked a car showroom in Saddar, SSP Omar claimed.

Meanwhile, Sindh Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja has announced a cash reward of Rs500,000 for the police party that apprehended Ahsan.