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‘Facilitator’ of Data Darbar suicide blast captured

Updated May 21, 2019

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n a major operation, the Counter Terr­orism Department (CTD) of Punjab and Intelligence Bureau have arrested the “facilitator” of Data Darbar suicide bomber. — Reuters/File
n a major operation, the Counter Terr­orism Department (CTD) of Punjab and Intelligence Bureau have arrested the “facilitator” of Data Darbar suicide bomber. — Reuters/File

LAHORE: In a major operation, the Counter Terr­orism Department (CTD) of Punjab and Intelligence Bureau have arrested the “facilitator” of Data Darbar suicide bomber.

A senior official who is part of the joint operation told Dawn that law enforcement agencies arrested Moh­sin Khan, son of Beh­ram Khan, who belongs to Shab­qadar area in Charsadda.

Mohsin told investigators that Tayyabullah alias Raa­ki, a resident of Mohmand district in KP, had received suicide bom­ber Sadiqullah Momand, an Afghan national who entered Pakistan through Torkham on May 6, and escorted him to Lahore for the May 8 strike that left 12 people, including five elite force personnel, dead.

The facilitator (Mohsin), handler and the suicide bomber stayed in a house in Bhati Gate area before hitting the target.

The official said they had links with Hizbul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan/Jamaatul Ahrar (TTP/JUA), which had also claimed the responsibility of the attack.

Soon after the blast, multiple Joint Operation Teams (JOTs) comprising officers from CTD and IB were formed to work simultaneously upon various leads. The JOTs started following all possible leads. The investigators collected evidence from the crime scene on scientific lines to ascertain the identity of the bomber, the type and quantity of the explosives used, etc, the official said.

Interviews of victims, witnesses and suspects were also conducted. Investiga­tors also focused upon digital forensics.

Human intelligence sou­rces were activated throughout Lahore and other parts of the country, particularly in area around Data Darbar.

The investigations revealed that Mohsin, who had recently moved to Lahore in the garb of a labourer, was living in a room rented out by Noor Zeb in the Walled City, inside Bhati Gate, Lahore.

It also transpired that Mohsin had been radicalised by Tayyab during their stay in Saudi Arabia a few years back, the official said.

On the fateful morning of May 8, he said, Tayyab escorted the suicide bomber from Mohsin’s place to a point near the blast site.

During arrest, the LEAs recovered from Mohsin a huge cache of explosives, and two portable MP3 players.

“This time the suicide vest and explosives were transported by hiding them inside the casings of portable electronic MP3 players to avoid being caught,’ the official said.

Evidence showed that the handler Tayyab left the area soon after the blast. The CTD and officials of other LEAs have launched massive manhunt across the country for his arrest.

“It is a big success of the CTD and IB to solve this case in a very short time,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2019