QUETTA: The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of police has thwarted a major terrorist attack planned in Quetta and arrested a key commander of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), officials said on Friday.

A CTD spokesperson said that Abdul Hadi, alias Amarullah, a key figure in the outlawed TTP, was apprehended. Known for orchestrating multiple armed assaults on police and security forces, Hadi was plotting a major terrorist strike in Quetta.

Acting on a tip-off, CTD officials conducted a raid between the night Thursday and Friday on the city outskirts, capturing Hadi along with a large cache of weapons and explosives.

Officials said the suspect was an Afghan national from Zabul province and was conducting terrorist activities in the region along with six others. He was reportedly responsible for an attack on a police vehicle in Pashtoon Chowk, Nawan Killi, which left a senior police officer and other personnel wounded.

During the course of interrogation, he disclosed his Afghan origin and admitted to conducting terrorist attacks in Quetta with six other Afghan nationals under directives from the TTP’s high command based in Afghanistan. He also provided crucial information about the whereabouts of six other terrorists currently in Quetta, leading to further raids in various neighbourhoods.

Section 144 imposed

In response to the emerging security threat, the Balochistan government on Friday imposed Section 144 in the Quetta district for 10 days to prohibit public gatherings.

Jan Achakzai, Balochistan’s caretaker information minister, emphasised that Section 144 was imposed to ensure public safety following continuous reports of security threats.

After the move, he said, obtaining a no-objection certificate from the deputy commissioner of Quetta had been made mandatory to hold election campaign meetings or other gatherings.

He said maintaining law and order was the top priority of the caretaker government, with instructions issued to all relevant institutions to ensure the protection of civilians.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2024

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