KARACHI: The Counter-Terrorism Department on Sunday said that the two militants killed in Saturday’s encounter in Gulshan-i-Maymar were affiliated with militant Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-K) group and were planning to carry out a suicide attack on the main procession of Eid-i-Miladun Nabi.

Speaking at a press conference here, CTD DIG Asif Aijaz Shaikh said the killed militants were identified as Syed Aimal Khan and Abdullah and a suicide jacket and list of targets were recovered from them.

He, however, maintained that the ISKP did not exist in the country as an organisation like it was in Afghanistan.

He said the CTD-Balochistan shared information with an intelligence agency and CTD-Sindh that the two “most wanted militants belonging to the IS-K who were involved in major terrorism incidents in Balochistan” were living in Mulla Isa Goth in Gulshan-i-Maymar.

Acting on their tip-off, a joint team led by CTD official Raja Umer Khattab, reached the area and as soon as they hit the iron gate of their hideout with an armoured personnel carrier (APC) the militants started firing.

He said that during an exchange of gunfire, in which police resorted to use tear gas and stun grenade while the militants lobbed hand-grenade, four CTD men suffered bullet wounds. He said that both the militants were hit by bullets and died in the encounter that lasted for three hours.

The Bomb Disposal Squad was called, which searched the whole place and found one “prepared suicide jacket, two hand grenades, two 9mm pistols, detonators, ball bearings, magnet (a computer hardware disk magnet, which is being used for preparing IED) and a list of targets”, he said.

The Balochistan CTD identified the killed militants and said that they were initially affiliated with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, but later joined IS-K.

The DIG said the deceased were involved in a 2017 suicide attack on DIG Hamid Shakeel in Balochistan, suicide attack in the parking area of Serena Hotel in Quetta in 2021 and several other major incidents in the neighbouring province. “They fled Balochistan a few months ago and were hiding in Karachi. They moved in the Gulshan-i-Maymar hideout just three days ago,” he said.

“An analysis of explosives and other material recovered from their hideout suggests they were planning a suicide attack on 12 Rabiul Awal processions and targeting important religious and political personalities,” the DIG claimed.

“This operation was successfully executed on time by the CTD-Karachi through better intelligence sharing and Karachi was once again saved from a major terror strike,” the CTD head said.

Speaking on the occasion, CTD official Khattab said that IS militants came from Afghanistan to Balochistan but its network did not exist in Pakistan.

He said that such militants had no ‘coordination’ with Balochistan’s separatist groups.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2022

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