KARACHI: Police on Mon­day claimed to have killed two ‘masterminds’ of last month’s deadly att­ack on the Karachi Police Office (KPO), while two other suspects affiliated with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were arrested after an ‘encounter’ on the outskirts of the metropolis.

Sindh Information Min­i­s­ter Sharjeel Inam Memon, flanked by senior officials of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), said that in order to eliminate the network behind the KPO attack, the CTD, federal intelligence agencies and other LEAs had established a joint special team, which successfully traced this network to the bordering area between Karachi and Hub, Balochistan where they were hiding.

“This network had provided help, planning and reconnaissance to the KPO terrorists,” said the minister.

The CTD and other security institutions received a tip-off on Sunday night that members of this network would enter Karachi from the “muddy roads” of Hub.

When four suspects riding two motorbikes arrived at Mai Ghari area in Manghopir at around 3am on Monday, the CTD team already deployed there signalled them to stop. Instead of stopping, the suspects resorted to firing and in an ensuing gunfight two militants were shot dead while two others surrendered themselves. A suicide jacket was recovered from them, which the BDS defused.

The killed militants were identified as Aryadullah alias Hasan and Waheedullah alias Khalid alias Huzaifa.

“Both killed militants were masterminds of the KPO attack,” claimed the minister. The held suspects were identified as Abdul Aziz alias Mohammad Ali and Mehran alias Meharban.

The killed terrorists were residents of Karachi’s Ahsanabad area while the held militants were residents of the metropolis’s Gulshan-i-Hadeed and Shah Latif Town areas respectively. They had fled to Balochistan after the incident.

“The held suspects have revealed that they and their killed accomplices belonged to the banned TTP,” said Mr Memon.

A week prior to the attack, the three suicide bombers had come to Karachi by bus and stayed at the home of the killed militant Waheed in Ahsanabad. Suicide jackets, arms and other weapons were brought to Karachi through a truck from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Tank area.

The information minister claimed that the killed and held militants were coming to Karachi to carry out another terror act as he perceived that they did not achieve their objectives during the KPO raid.

Sharjeel Memon said that the CTD and intelligence institutions had jointly traced all major terror incidents in Sindh, particularly Karachi, though at times the provincial government faced adverse criticism.

Responding to a volley of questions, the minister disclosed that Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had set up a committee to ascertain possible negligence of the police during the KPO attack.

He said it was not possible to check thousands of trucks and buses which came to Karachi from other parts of the country, adding that it was also the responsibility of other administrations, particularly the KP government, to keep an eye on such vehicles and militants.

He claimed that the provincial government was planning to install scanners at entry/exit points of Sindh.

In an apparent reference to former PM Imran Khan, Mr Memon accused him of providing “moral support” to the TTP militants.

To a question, CTD official Raja Umar Khattab said that no Baloch militants were among three killed attackers of the KPO. He said two of them were identified as residents of KP while the third one remained unidentified. His code name was ‘Yasir’ but his identity could only be established through DNA testing. “Most probably, he was an Afghan,” opined the CTD official.

The autopsy of both men was carried out at Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2023

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