• Minister claims KU suicide attack carried out jointly by two banned groups
• Stops short of naming ‘neighbouring country’ accused of providing safe haven to attackers

KARACHI: The arrest of one of the alleged accomplices of the suicide bomber who carried out an attack on Chinese teachers in Karachi University in April of this year has led to the discovery of a terror cell operating in Karachi.

This was revealed in a news conference on Tuesday by Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, who claimed the accused was a commander of the banned Balochistan Liberation Front’s (BLF) sleeper cell in Karachi.

The minister said that the attack on teachers from Karachi University’s Confucius Institute was a joint operation of the outlawed BLF and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), whose Majeed Brigade had initially claimed responsibility for the attack.

Flanked by Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab, Sindh Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) chief Imran Yaqoob Minhas and other officials, Memon said Dad Bux was arrested from Mauripur by CTD, with assistance from Rangers and other security forces.

The minister added that during the interrogation, Bux made “extremely vital disclosures.”

“He is the commander of BLF’s sleeper cell in Karachi, which was involved in reconnaissance for different targets of BLA under directions of the outfit’s head, Khalil Baloch alias Moosa,” Memon said.

The suspect is an expert at preparing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), who had fled to Balochistan from Karachi after the attack and remained in touch with other militants through the Telegram messaging app.

Before the April 26 blast, Bux had carried out reconnaissance of important installations and the Chinese staff working at the university. He also held meetings with suicide bomber Shaari Baloch’s husband Dr Haibatan Bashir and another “important terrorist” named Zaib, Memon added.

The suspect in custody named Zaib as the attack’s mastermind, who arrived in Karachi from a neighbouring country and lived with Shaari Baloch and her husband at their rented flat in Delhi Colony.

Bux also confessed that he had received IED training from Zaib at the Majeed Brigade’s headquarters in “a neighbouring country”, the minister said.

Without naming the state in question, Memon said a foreign country was allegedly providing a “conducive atmosphere” to terrorists. He added that the federal government would formally lodge a protest with that country’s government.

Memon said the terrorists were using foreign soil to carry out attacks and that their network had spread to several countries, where the terrorists remained in touch with exiled separatist elements.

Bux had joined BLF in 2013 and was involved in attacks against the security forces in Balochistan’s Balgatar area.

Memon also added that the suicide bomber case was being investigated by psychological experts and during an initial probe, it was deduced that she was psychologically exploited by her husband and the “trainer”.

There was also a possibility that she was given drugs to carry out the attack, Memon said.

Rangers’ Col. Nasr Minallah said the attacker appeared to be “brainwashed” and an expert opinion had been sought to assess her psychological state.

“The woman [attacker] was not alone as one masked man accompanied her,” he said, adding that the terrorist cell involved in the attack has been exposed now.

CTD’s Raja Umar Khattab said militants have been brainwashing educated men and women to carry out attacks like the one near Safoora Chowrangi, targeting a minority community’s bus.

Suspect remanded

Separately, the administrative judge of anti-terrorism court on Tuesday remanded the suspect in CTD’s custody. The investigating officer informed the court that the suspect was taken into custody on an intelligence information, adding that he was the chief of Karachi chapters of the Baloch Liberation Army and the Baloch Liberation Front.

The IO had requested 14-day physical remand to interrogate him and track his accomplices.

Granting the request, the judge remanded the suspect in the custody of CTD till July 16, directing the IO to produce him on the next date along with an investigation report.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2022

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