KARACHI, Nov 16: Police and government officials were tight-lipped on Wednesday about identity of five people detained for their alleged involvement in Tuesday’s bomb blast outside the PIDC House, in which three people were killed and 21 injured.

Well-placed sources said the suspects belonged to a militant organization calling itself the Balochistan Liberation Army. One of the five suspects, believed to be the mastermind of the bombing, was arrested from his hideout in Malir, the sources said, adding that improvised explosive devices and weapons were found in his possession.

Those arrested included a police official, Osman, working with the Anti-Car Lifting Cell. He was called late in the night and handed over to some intelligence agencies.

On information gathered during interrogation of the alleged mastermind, raids were being carried out in Karachi and other parts of Sindh for his accomplices, the sources said.

A top investigator said: “The main suspect is affiliated with the BLA. We are sure of their (BLA’s) involvement in the bombing.” Sindh Minister for Home Affairs Rauf Siddiqui confirmed the arrest of the alleged mastermind but refused to disclose his identity or affiliation.

However, contradictory to the claim by local investigators, a minister in Islamabad ruled out involvement of the BLA and its allied groups in the blast. He said the arrested suspect belonged to groups which had been actively involved in past terrorist activities in Karachi.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, President Pervez Musharraf said at a press conference in Islamabad: “We have arrested some people in connection with the Karachi bomb blast. The man who did it, we have arrested. So we are trying to find out who he is, who he is representing really, and what was his motivation.”

Following the president’s statement, Sindh police chief Asad Jahangir said tribal militants from Balochistan were now the focus of inquiries.

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