LAHORE: The Counter Terrorism Department, Punjab, claimed to have neutralised a network of Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Hizbul Ahrar (HuA) which had carried out terror attacks in various provinces of the country.

The law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) saved Rawalpindi from a tragedy by arresting the suspected terrorists who were set to launch a suicide attack on the bus of an intelligence agency.

The CTD has been chasing the network for the last four months or so, after they carried out two dreadful attacks in two provinces on the LEAs and civilians, an official privy to the information told Dawn.

“It was the longest Intelligence Based Operation (IBO) in the history of the CTD Punjab which culminated in success,” the official said.

The CTD’s Rawalpindi teams arrested five terrorists, including a young would-be suicide bomber, Rizwanullah, besides eliminating their countrywide network.

Five militants held; group involved in attack on NDC bus in Attock, FC convoy in Nowshera

He said CTD had started tracking the network on May 3 this year after a suicide attack on a bus in Attock carrying engineers of the NDC (National Defence Complex), killing four people and injuring many others.

The CTD immediately started working on the case and collected vital pieces of evidence from the crime scene [Attock].

“When the evidence proved crucial in tracing the trail of the network, another suicide attack was carried out on FC (Frontier Corps) convoy in Nowshera (KP) on May 17,” he said.

Several innocent people were martyred and injured in this blast, he lamented.

The evidence from Nowshera blast site confirmed that the same network was involved in both the blasts.

The CTD kept working on the trail spreading across Punjab, KP and Afghanistan.

The suspects were travelling in a truck towards Rawalpindi to attack the bus of the intelligence agency in Rawalpindi carrying staff from office to drop them at their homes.

He said the terrorists were carrying two suicide jackets, four hand grenades, explosives, detonators, wires, safety fuses, four pistols, and several live bullets.

He said intelligence gathered revealed that they belonged to a new terror outfit Hizbul Ahrar.

“The group was formed by Mukarram Shah Mohmand of Mohmand Agency after a dispute with the Jamaatul Ahrar chief Abdul Wali alias Omar Khalid Khurasani,” he said.

Imran Khurasani alias Tahir, a resident of Mohmand Agency of Fata, became another important leader of HuA and a lieutenant of Mukarram Shah.

Imran, an operational commander of HuA, currently based in Afghanistan, made the plan to launch attacks in Pakistan and was designated as in-charge of the operations in the country.

He selected terrorist namely Sher Hassan, a resident of Mohmand Agency, presently settled in Darul Islam Colony (Attock) to carry out attack in the same city.

Since Sher Hassan was temporarily living in Attock, he saw it easy to spot the bus of NDC employees.

He made the video of the bus and sent it to Imran Khurasani in Afghanistan who sent him two suicide jackets through their accomplice Mohammad (code name) on a truck.

The jackets were dispatched from Afghanistan and were delivered in Attock on April 14 by truck driver/owner Maalik Jan and his brother Kamil.

Sher received the jackets as his accomplice Mohammad also reached there. They kept the jackets in another terrorist Sanaullah’s house first and later shifted them to accomplice Adnan’s house next day.

Some three days before the [planned] blast, Mohammad brought suicide bomber Khalid alias Saddam Shinvari to Attock.

The suicide bomber was sent from Afghanistan and he came through Torkham border. Terrorist Mohammad and Saddam stayed at the outhouse of Adnan.

On May 2, they did recce of the bus and next day Sher Hassan and Mohammad helped Saddam wear the suicide vest.

Then they gave him a hand grenade and a pistol. They wrote words “Muhammad bin Qasim on the suicide jacket”. Then made pictures of the suicide bomber and took him to the place of incident.

“As the coach slowed down at the place of incident, Saddam first fired shots at the driver and then exploded himself, killing the driver and three others,” the official said.

Mohammad and Sher Hassan, who were watching the terror act at a distance, left the place.

Commander Imran Khurasani then told Sher Hassan to make recce of security personnel in Nowshera.

Some three days before the blast, Mohammad came to him with a new suicide bomber namely Saida Jaan alias Qari Usman who arrived from Afghanistan through Torkham border.

Sher Hassan provided him with the suicide jacket which he had kept with him since April 14 this year.

A couple of days before blast, they drove the suicide bomber to Nowshera and kept him in a mosque room.

On May 17, Sher and Mohammad took him to Nowshera Cantt. Qari Usman went to the place of incident.

When the FC convoy came out of the gate and reached the railway crossing, Qari Usman went near the front troop carrier and exploded himself. He martyred and injured several military personnel, the official said.

However, the CTD personnel arrested them when they were planning another attack on the bus of the intelligence officers.

Initial investigation revealed that Rizwanullah had come from Afghanistan.

He stayed in suburbs of Peshawar before coming to Rawalpindi to carry out the suicide attack.

The Punjab IGP who has been briefed about the network has lauded the efforts of the CTD for smashing the network.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2018