ISLAMABAD, July 15: One of the alleged London suicide bombers met in 2003 with a man later arrested for a church bombing in Pakistan, an intelligence official said on Friday. Security agencies are investigating possible links between militant groups and Shehzad Tanweer, a Briton of Pakistani origin who is believed to be one of four bombers in the July 7 attack that killed at least 54 people.

One of the groups being checked is Jaish-i-Muhammad, linked to Al Qaeda and banned in 2002. The other group is Lashkar-i-Taiba, which unlike the Jaish is not known to have any operational ties with Al Qaeda.

An intelligence source said Tanweer visited Pakistan in 2003 and 2004. During the first visit, he met Osama Nazir who was arrested last December for the 2002 bombing of a church in Islamabad that killed two Americans among others.

“He met Nazir in a mosque in Faisalabad,” source said. Tanweer’s family comes from Faisalabad.

Nazir was a member of the Jaish and security agents called in Jaish chief Maulana Azhar Masood on Thursday for questioning.

“So far all leads are heading towards the Jaish,” an intelligence official said.

Another intelligence official said Tanweer, 22, had made a second visit to Pakistan in late 2004 and had stayed in Lahore from December until last February, during which he visited several mosques and madaris.

One madressa was in Muridke, on the outskirts of Lahore and home of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a hardline Islamic charity organization made up of cadres of Lashkar-i-Taiba.

“We are looking into whether Tanweer had any links with these people,” another intelligence official said.

But a spokesman for Jamaat-ud-Dawa denied any links with Tanweer and said the group did not condone attacks on civilians.

“He never came to us. It is totally wrong. It is nothing more than a propaganda of the British press,” the spokesman, Yahya Mujahid, told Reuters by telephone from Lahore. “We consider attacks on civilian and public places as unIslamic.”

Opinion

Wit and wisdom
Updated 14 Apr 2021

Wit and wisdom

Warmth and gregariousness came naturally to him.

Editorial

TLP protests
Updated 14 Apr 2021

TLP protests

For the good of the country, and its image as a nation where extremism has no place, such groups must be strictly reined in.
14 Apr 2021

PPP’s formal exit

THE PPP’s formal resignation from all offices of the PDM comes as no surprise after weeks of tension and public...
14 Apr 2021

Natanz attack

AS the P5+1 and Iran try to breathe life back into the JCPOA, as the nuclear deal is officially known, it appears...
Reform after Daska
Updated 13 Apr 2021

Reform after Daska

Electoral malpractice generates instability and delegitimises the mandate of the winner, triggering one crisis after another.
13 Apr 2021

Reinstating LGs

THE PTI government in Punjab is sending confused and conflicting signals to people when it comes to the critical...
13 Apr 2021

Remembering I.A. Rehman

THE quest for a progressive society in Pakistan, at peace with itself and its neighbours, suffered a big setback in...