ISLAMABAD, Sept 28: Security forces have arrested a man described by an official as the ‘most wanted terrorist’. The man has been identified as Asif Chotu, the chief of the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi outfit. He was arrested in Rawalpindi.

The arrest was confirmed by a source in the interior ministry. “However, it is not being officially announced due to security reasons and to help investigation into the linkages and terrorist network in the country,” he said.

Police have linked Choto to recent attacks on Shias in Karachi and Sialkot. The head money on Choto is stated to be Rs25 million.

The most deadly attack linked with Choto was made on a Shia mosque in Sialkot in October 2004 that left 30 people dead and injured many others, the security official said.

The latest terrorist attack in which he was allegedly involved was on a Shia mosque in Karachi on May 30 this year. The attack triggered a riot that left six people dead.

The police have reportedly said that they found a letter written by Choto in the possession of one of the alleged attackers arrested by the security forces.

The source said the concerned quarters had been directed to keep silent and avoid conveying any information to the media about Choto’s arrest.

When contacted, Director-General Inter Service Public Relations, Lt-Gen Shaukat Sultan, expressed ignorance about the arrest. “You should better ask the interior minister on this,” he said.

Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said he had no information about the arrest and identification of the arrested terrorist.

However, he confirmed that the arrested terrorists was not Riaz Basra, the former chief of the LJ who was number one in the list of wanted persons in the country.

He said Basra had already been arrested and was in custody.

A security official said another banned LJ militant, Rashid alias Shahid Satti, was also arrested with Choto.

The LJ, which was banned in 2001, has been held responsible for many attacks on Shias since its formation in 1996.

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