Five suspects held in Chinese consulate attack case

12 Jan 2019


KARACHI: AIG Amir Ahmed Shaikh briefing the media on the attack on Chinese consulate.—PPI
KARACHI: AIG Amir Ahmed Shaikh briefing the media on the attack on Chinese consulate.—PPI

KARACHI: Police on Friday announced arrest of five suspects allegedly involved in an attack on the Chinese consulate in Nov 2018 and claimed that its planning was carried out by the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) in Afghanistan with the help of the Indian intelligence agency RAW to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and growing Sino-Pak ties.

Three heavily armed militants carried out the gun-and-grenade attack on the consulate in a high-security zone of Clifton on Nov 23, in which two policemen and two visa applicants (father and son) were killed before the suspects were gunned down. One private security guard of the foreign mission was injured.

Additional Inspector General (AIG) of police Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh told a press conference that Malir police, Special Security Unit of police and “sensitive” agencies” conducted a raid in Sadiq Baloch Goth in Taiser Town on Friday morning, arrested five suspects — Abdul Latif, Hasnain, Arif, Hashim and Aslam — and seized arms, hand grenades, rockets, explosive material and ammunition from their possession.

Planning was done in Afghanistan with support of RAW, says Karachi police chief

The raid was carried out on information about the presence of the BLA militants and that they were planning a ‘major terrorist’ act in the city, he said.

According to the AIG, during interrogation, the suspects divulged details about the planning, reconnaissance and provision of arms before the attack on the Chinese consulate. They told investigators that BLA leader Aslam alias Achhu (reportedly killed in a recent suicide attack in Afghanistan) and Bashir Zaib carried out planning and training for the attack in Afghanistan at the behest of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Latif and Hasnain provided results of reconnaissance of the Chinese consulate to one of the militants killed during the attack, in Aug 2018, and Arif provided arms and explosive material to the attackers who stayed at his residence in Baldia, the police official said. Aslam helped the attackers in getting ‘fake’ computerised national identity cards.

“Hashim and Aslam are important leaders of the BLA and close aides of Aslam Achhu and they had remained involved in the planning for the attack,” Dr Shaikh said.

Sensitive agencies and police conducted raids in different parts of Sindh and Balochistan and obtained important information about the attack and Friday’s raid was its continuation, the AIG said.

Arms brought through train

He revealed that the arms used in the attack were brought through a train from outside the city and said it indicated that luggage of train passengers was not being properly scanned. Police would bring this fact to the notice of the railway authorities.

Dr Shaikh said the militants had different fake CNICs, suggesting the need to strengthen Nadra system to prevent such things in future. The attackers used different vehicles and visited Karachi in August, September, October and November for reconnaissance.

The AIG said they had reports that the mastermind of the attack, Aslam alias Achhu, had recently been killed in Afghanistan but still they needed ‘hard evidence’ to verify his death.

“Aslam Achhu selected his relatives to carry out the attack,” the official said.

He believed that the three militants wanted to make Chinese staff of the consulate hostage and their motive was to harm the CPEC and growing Pak-China ties.

The AIG claimed that BLA was a “small entity”.

He said after reported death of Aslam alias Achhu, Bashir Zaib was reportedly leading the BLA in Afghanistan.

One of the held suspects, Arif, said to be a cousin of Aslam Achhu, had remained an active member of the Baloch Students Organisation (BSO) in Karachi, Malir SSP Irfan Bahadur said, adding that law enforcement agencies considered the BSO a “sister organisation” of the BLA.

Mr Bahadur said all held suspects were “educated” persons.

The Baloch insurgent group had mostly carried out attacks in Balochistan and it was operating in Karachi through the BSO, he said.

He said that now only one suspect, Amanullah, was absconder in the Chinese consulate attack as all others had been arrested. Amanullah, brother-in-law of Aslam Achhu, was also reportedly killed in Afghanistan recently but the SSP said they could not confirm it.

Inspector General of Sindh police Dr Syed Kaleem Imam announced a Rs2 million reward for the police party that arrested the suspects.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019