KU bombing planned by two banned groups, suspect in custody trained in 'neighbouring country': Sharjeel
Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said on Tuesday that the April 26 Karachi University suicide bombing was a joint plan by the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), in which a "neighbouring country" had played a role.
In April, a female suicide bomber, Shari Baloch, detonated herself outside KU’s Confucius Institute killing three Chinese teachers and their local driver. At the time, the BLA had claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a meeting on Monday with a Chinese delegation at the Chief Minister House, Sindh police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon had disclosed that an "important suspect" had been taken into custody.
In today's press conference, Memon said that the suspect, who he termed a terrorist, had revealed that the KU attack was the joint work of the BLF and the BLA.
He said that at the time, the BLA had claimed responsibility and had also released video statements "proudly" taking credit for the cowardly attack.
After that, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) collected CCTV footage, conducted geo-fencing and DNA sampling which led to the arrest of the BLF commander in Karachi, he said, identifying the suspect as Daad Baksh.
"During the investigation process, the suspect made important revelations. He said that he was the commander of a BLF sleeper cell in Karachi," the minister said.
The suspect also said that he had been conducting recce of different BLA targets on the orders of his organisation's commander, Khalil Baloch alias Musa, Memon said. He had conducted a recce of sensitive installations and of Chinese citizens working at KU, the minister added.
He went on to say that the suspect met with the husband of the female suicide bomber, Dr Haibastan Bashir, and another "important terrorist" named "Zeb" in Karachi, and helped to carry out the KU attack.
Memon said that the suspect had revealed that Zeb was the KU attack mastermind, who entered Pakistan from a "neighbouring country" and had been staying in Karachi with Baloch and her husband.
He said that while being interrogated, the suspect confessed to conducting reconnaisance in Gulbai along with his accomplice as well as firing at the vehicle two Chinese engineers in July 2021 which had left one injured.
He further confessed that he joined the BLF in 2013 and carried out multiple attacks on security forces in Balochistan's Balgatar area, Memon said. "In 2017, he fled to a neighbouring country at the directives of the BLF commander. He later returned and stayed in Karachi."
He went on to say: "In 2022, the terrorist went to a neighbouring country and was trained by Zeb in making IEDs at the BLF and BLA camp at the Majeed Brigade's headquarters in Captain Rehman Gul's basement."
"Zeb is an extremely dangerous terrorist and an expert at making IEDs," Memon said, adding that he had entered KU before Baloch and had left immediately after the attack was carried out.
The minister also said that Baloch's case was being investigated by a team of psychological experts. "Initial investigations showed that she was subjected to the worst kind of psychological abuse. Not just her husband, but her trainer also took advantage of her psychological condition," he added, saying that the use of drugs or medicine could not be ruled out.
He said all terrorists who join such organisations and try to destabilise Pakistan with the help of other countries "want to stop foreign investment from coming in".
"Work is underway on different projects. Important schemes such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are under way with the help of brotherly nations like China. These terrorist organisations, with their nefarious designs and a foreign agenda, want to destabilise the country. They want to give the message that Pakistan is not safe for foreign investment."
He vowed that terrorist organisations trying to create unrest "would be eliminated" by the country's security agencies.
Responding to a question, Memon said that the terrorists involved in the attack had foreign assistance but it would not be apt to name at country involved at this stage as the investigation was still ongoing.
"But whichever country is involved [...] our work is to trace and give strict punishment to those involved and give the message that nobody can cast a dirty eye on Pakistan."
He said that the country in question would be conveyed a message on a government level — in line with diplomatic norms — that their land was being used for terrorist activities. "I don't think it is appropriate to name any country," he said.
Suspect remanded in CTD custody
Meanwhile, an investigating officer (IO) produced Baksh today before an administrative judge of an anti-terrorism court amid tight security to seek his physical remand for interrogation.
The IO told the court that the suspect was taken into custody on a tip-off, adding that he had allegedly masterminded and facilitated the KU suicide bombing.
The officer said that the suspect's physical custody was required to interrogate him since important revelations were expected while his alleged accomplices were yet to be tracked down.
Therefore, he requested the judge to grant 14-day physical remand of the suspect in CTD custody for interrogation, completion of the investigation and other legal formalities.
Granting the request, the judge remanded the suspect in CTD custody till July 16, directing the IO to produce him on the said date along with an investigation report.