‘Mastermind’ of militant attacks among five killed in North Waziristan

Updated 08 Sep 2020

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“Zakeria was mastermind of 30 attacks since 2019 and wanted by law enforcers,” said the  ISPR statement.  — ISPR/File
“Zakeria was mastermind of 30 attacks since 2019 and wanted by law enforcers,” said the ISPR statement. — ISPR/File

PESHAWAR: The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Monday confirmed that a mastermind of militant attacks along with four accomplices had been killed during an intelligence operation in North Waziristan tribal district on Sunday.

The ISPR said in a statement that 10 notorious terrorists were also arrested during the operation near Mirali. It said the deceased terrorist, Waseem Zakeria, was the mastermind of 30 attacks, including targeted killing of government officials and security forces personnel.

The ISPR said Zakeria was also involved in an attack on a military convoy near Hasokhel. He belonged to the Haider Khel area of Mirali sub-division. “Zakeria was mastermind of 30 attacks since 2019 and wanted by law enforcers,” said the statement.

Zakeria was also believed to be involved in the assassination of Zubaidullah Khan, a CSP officer of the Federal Information Group, posted as director of the Pakistan Housing Authority in Islamabad.

Mr Khan was killed along with two others on the first day of Eid in Mirali in May this year. Gunmen riding a motorbike killed them when they were coming out of the mosque after offering Eid prayers.

The killing of the senior civil officer had raised concerns about the state of security in once-volatile North Waziristan which has seen an uptick in the number of attacks on security forces since the Zarb-i-Azb operation in June 2014.

A lawmaker from the tribal district told the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly last week that 200 people had lost lives to targeted killings since February 2018. There was, however, no official corroboration or denial of the claim by the lawmaker.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2020