Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on Wednesday claimed to have arrested a doctor working at Karachi's Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital over his alleged links to a militant outfit, along with four other suspects.
Dr Abdul Rehman was held over charges of "facilitating and treating" militants linked with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), said CTD SSP Junaid Ahmed Shaikh.
Acting on a tip-off, the police arrested Dr Rehman and Mufti Malik Rizwan while they were collecting donations from a mosque in Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighbourhood.
“The held suspects were generating funds for the banned TTP,” the officer claimed. "They had received militancy training from Afghanistan.”
According to SSP Shaikh, Rehman is a qualified doctor who has remained an ‘active’ worker of the TTP. He obtained his MBBS degree from a medical university in Bahawalpur, and later specialised in orthopaedics.
“He has remained involved in treating injured terrorists secretly and he was arrested after constant monitoring,” the counter-terrorism force official said.
Separately, the CTD arrested two suspects, Hameedullah and Inam Dad from Machar Colony and seized two pistols from their custody.
“They belonged to Wali Mohammed group of TTP,” said the CTD SSP, adding that they were planning acts of terror when they were arrested on information provided by an informer.
From doctor to a militant
During initial probe by CTD, it transpired that Dr Rehman, who is presently working at Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital, originally belonged to Sindh's Ghotki district where his father worked in a bank.
He studied up to intermediate in Ghotki and was then admitted to Quaid-e-Azam medical college Bahawalpur where he completed his MBBS in 2001. He obtained an FCPS degree in 2015 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan in Karachi.
According to SSP Shaikh, Rehman told interrogators he developed a friendship with a fellow student, Shah Faisal, who was the emir (chief) of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) in the medical college in Bawahlpur while studying there.
Rehman started attending dars (religious sermons) at the medical college that were arranged by JuD along with other students. After completing his MBBS in 2001, he received militancy training on persuasion by Shah Faisal, the SSP revealed.
He told CTD investigators that his parents were not aware of his militant tendencies and they once snubbed him. Rehman then started his house job at Bahawal Victoria Hospital in Bawahlpur which continued for a year. He subsequently passed the Sindh Public Service Commission exam and was appointed a government doctor in 2007 in Khanpur, where he took a two-year leave for militancy training.
He was later posted in the orthopaedic ward at Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital in Karachi where he continued practising till his arrest.
SSP Shaikh told Dawn that Dr Rehman disclosed during initial probe that he used to visit Central Prison Karachi after every two months “officially” for treatment of prisoners. It was here that in 2014 he met and developed a friendship with a TTP suspect, Amin Shirin, who was suffering from a backache.
“He facilitated and provided logistics to militants in the prison,” SSP Shaikh claimed, adding that they have informed both the Civil Hospital's administration and health department about his activities and arrest.
Giving details of another suspected militant, Malik Rizwan, the CTD SSP said that he originally belonged to Mansehra and had studied up to intermediate in Karachi. He then studied at a famous seminary and memorised the Holy Quran. He also completed a course to become a religious scholar and Mufti and started teaching pupils at the seminary.
Mufti Rizwan told interrogators that during his studies at the seminary, he became friends with a student who has links with TTP in Orakzai Agency where he went in 2009 and met the TTP leadership. He had told his family that he was going on a preaching mission.
In 2011, he went to South Waziristan to receive militancy training.
Rizwan told CTD interrogators that his elder brother, Zafar Iqbal, had remained associated with TTP and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and with his (brother) help he also visited Afghanistan.
He informed investigators that he had also remained a prayer leader at different mosques in Defence, KDA and PNS Karsaz and also provided Quran tuitions.
MQM-H suspect arrested
In another action, the CTD arrested a suspect named Shafiqudin alias Kala for his suspected involvement in an attack on security forces.
“Shafiq alias Kala was involved in a deadly attack on Rangers in Korangi on June 6, in which one Rangers personnel was martyred while two others were injured,” SSP Shaikh claimed.
“He belonged to MQM-Haqiqi and had remained involved in 23 criminal cases in Korangi area.”