CTD constitutes special team to probe 2011 assassination of Saudi diplomat in Karachi

Published November 14, 2021
Police officials inspect the bullet-riddled vehicle of a Saudi diplomat after a deadly attack in Karachi on May 16, 2011. – AFP/ File
Police officials inspect the bullet-riddled vehicle of a Saudi diplomat after a deadly attack in Karachi on May 16, 2011. – AFP/ File

The Sindh Police's Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has constituted a special investigation team at the request of the Saudi government to probe the assassination of a Saudi diplomat in Karachi in 2011.

Hassan Al Qahtani, an official at the Saudi consulate, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Karachi's Defence Phase VI on May 16, days after Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in a raid in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011. The Saudi official was shot dead by at least four attackers riding two motorcycles, who intercepted his vehicle after he left his residence near Khyaban-i-Shahbaz.

The attack had come days after two grenades had been lobbed at the Saudi Consulate building in Karachi.

At the time, a police officer had told Dawn that a ‘Bahrain connection’ could not be ruled out as a possible motive for the two attacks, but it was also being investigated whether these were in revenge for the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The New York Times, quoting a Pakistani security official, had reported that Qahtani was working on Saudi dissidents who had found refuge in the city and this most probably was the reason behind his killing.

According to an order issued on Saturday by Counter Terrorism Department DIG Omar Shahid Hamid, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, a special investigation team has been constituted to probe the assassination as it is a matter of "extreme national importance".

The order states that the investigation team would be led by CTD DIG Omar Shahid Hamid, while its members would include DSP Investigation CTD Naeem Ahmed, Officer Incharge Transnational Terrorist Cell Raja Umar Khattab, Officer incharge Shia Militants Cell of the CTD Ali Raza, investigation inspector CTD Sarfraz Ahmed and representatives of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and Rangers.

The first meeting of the team is expected to be convened on Monday at the office of SP Investigation CTD, Karachi.

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