The Sindh Police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on Sunday revealed that a pair of militants killed in an encounter in Karachi’s outskirts a day ago were affiliated with the outlawed militant Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) group and had planned a suicide attack targeting the 12th of Rabiul Awwal procession.
In a press conference at his office, CTD Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Asif Aijaz Shaikh said that the Balochistan CTD had shared information with the Sindh CTD and a federal intelligence agency that two most wanted IS-K militants — Syed Aimal Khan alias Hamza (resident of Pishin) and Abdullah alias Mamum (from Quetta) — who were involved in major terrorism incidents in Balochistan were present in Gulshan-e-Maymar’s Mulla Isa Goth.
Taking action on the tip-off, Shaikh said a joint team of the intelligence agency and the CTD led by CTD In-charge Raja Umer Khattab was set up.
Sharing details of the encounter, the DIG said that when the teams encircled the area and managed to break into the home where the militants were staying, the militants opened fire, causing injuries to CTD official Arshad Khan but other police officials continued with the gun battle.
As a result, Sheikh said one militant and another CTD personnel, Amir Rafiq, were injured. Another militant, he said, while attempting to flee the scene from the roof injured CTD member Irfan Mehboob. However, another police party positioned on the roof killed the militant on the spot in retaliatory firing.
The DIG said the CTD team also threw stun grenades and tear gas shells inside the home, adding that the injured militant also threw a hand grenade at the police party and kept on firing, resulting in bullet injuries to a fourth CTD officer, Mola Bukhsh. Shaikh said the militant was eventually killed in retaliatory fire.
Shaikh said a Bomb Disposal Squad team was summoned and after searching the place it recovered one suicide jacket, two hand grenades, two 9mm pistols, 80 ammunition rounds, detonators, ball bearings, magnet (a computer hardware disk magnet which is used to prepare an improvised explosive device) and one target list.
DIG Shaikh said the Balochistan CTD identified the slain militants, who were initially affiliated with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan but later on joined the IS-K.
He added that the duo were involved in a suicide attack on DIG police Hamid Shakeel in 2017 in Balochistan, another suicide attack in the parking area of Quetta’s Serena Hotel last year as well as several other major terrorism incidents against security personnel.
“They fled from Balochistan a few months ago and were hiding in Karachi,” said the CTD DIG, adding that they had moved to Gulshan-i-Maymar around three days ago.
“Analysis of explosive material and other things from their hideout showed that they were planning a suicide attack on 12 Rabiul Awwal processions and targeting important religious and political personalities,” Shaikh said.
He pointed out that the operation continued for three hours, which was directly monitored by senior officers of both the Sindh and Balochistan CTDs and a federal intelligence agency.
“This operation was successfully executed on time by the Karachi CTD through [good] intelligence sharing, and Karachi was once again saved from major terror incidents,” CTD head said.
Meanwhile, Sindh Inspector General of Police Ghulam Nabi Memon, who paid a visit to the injured CTD personnel at Aga Khan University Hospital, announced a cash reward and appreciation certificates for the team members.
IS does not exist as an organisation in Pakistan
CTD official Raja Umer Khattab said the department also had information on accomplices of the slain militants but they were not present in Karachi.
He said Islamic State militants (IS) gain entry into Balochistan from Afghanistan but the banned group does not have a network or organisational structure in Pakistan.
The CTD official believed that after launching an operation in Waziristan in the recent past, the hideouts of the militant organisations were “eliminated”.