LAHORE: In a quick action, police and law enforcement agencies traced and arrested the alleged militant who had killed a policeman in the Taxali Gate area earlier in the day on Thursday.

Constable Ghulam Rasool, who was posted in the judicial wing of the Lahore police, embraced martyrdom in the Taxali Gate attack.

A senior police officer said the suspected attacker was riding a motorcycle and he was wearing a helmet. Some CCTV cameras showed him chasing Ghulam Rasool on the road. The suspect targeted the constable near a paan shop, fired three shots and escaped, leaving him critically injured. Ghulam Rasool succumbed to his wounds instantly.

During an investigation, police obtained CCTV camera recordings from various parts of the city wherein they spotted the suspect riding his bike and wearing a helmet and gloves. He was first detected on the roads of Gulberg from where he went to the Taxali Gate to target the constable. After the incident, his last location was detected in Baghbanpura where he disappeared.

It was third attack on police in Lahore in recent times; TTP’s Khorasani group claims responsibility

According to the investigation, the suspect used a 9MM pistol in the incident. Following the details, the Counter Terrorism Department and police launched a search operation in the surroundings of Baghbanpura to trace him.

In a statement released on social media with a title ‘Khoon Ka Badla Khoon’, the Khorasani Network of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility of the incident, saying the constable was killed by the firing of ‘Mujahidin’ at Taxali Gate.

After the incident, police and law enforcement agencies sprung into action and they traced and arrested the militant in a raid in the DHA near the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He was identified as Abdullah Jan who was operating as Usman Khorasani. Police sources said Usman was a part of ‘Khorasani group’ and was active in the TTP activities.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Police and other law enforcement agencies have put their heads together to counter the new wave of targeted attacks on policemen in Lahore after a third policeman was targeted and killed in the Taxali Gate area and the Khorasani group of the TTP allegedly claimed the responsibility.

This is not the first incident of police being targeted in recent times. On April 25, Constable Muhammad Ali was shot in an alleged ‘militants attack’ in Gulbahar Town near Wagah.

About five days ago, Sub-Inspector Rana Muhammad Arshad of investigation wing was martyred in an armed attack in the Misri Shah area where a motorcyclist opened multiple shots on him in an apparently targeted attack. The attacker was on a motorcycle and wearing a helmet. The TTP had reportedly claimed responsibility for the both attacks mentioned above on social media.

Thursday’ attack is stated to be the third such incident that has been reported in the provincial capital in recent times.

According to the police inquiries, the suspects had used 30-bore pistols in the first two attacks and a 9mm pistol in the last.

The investigators suspect that ‘one attacker’ might be behind all the three incidents and the police investigators are exploring all possible options, including the possibility that the suspect might be a ‘psychopath’ as was evident from his mysterious movements and activities.

However, the security agencies also launched investigations to check possible involvement of the banned militant organisations when ‘Khorasani Network’ claimed responsibility for the targeted killing of the constable at Taxali Gate on Thursday.

As the statement surfaced, the security agencies and the Punjab Police’s high command activated the forces besides the network of the special security agencies to investigate the case to check possible involvement of the TTP or any other banned militant organisations.

Inspector General of Police Punjab Dr Usman Anwar told Dawn the law enforcement agencies, including police and the officials from the sensitive agencies, were working jointly to explore all possible factors, including the involvement of the TTP as it claimed on social media to be behind the attacks on the three police officials.

Meanwhile, police issued new guidelines in the wake of the ‘targeted attacks’ for the police personnel, directing them to wear bulletproof jackets while discharging duties at the pickets, particularly, at the entry/exit points of the city. They were also directed to be armed with the weapons while discharging duties or leaving the offices after completing duties to avoid further any untoward situation.

The Khorasani group that claimed the responsibility for the attack on Thursday was formed by Abdul Wali, known as Omar Khalid Khorasani. Abdul Wali was thought to have been close to Osama bin Laden and al-Zawahiri of al-Qaida, according to media reports.

Khorasani hailed from the tribal region of Pakistan and got religious education from various madressah of Pakistan. He was a hard-core militant who started out as an anti-India jihadist and took part in violence in India-held Kashmir. He later joined Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in 2007. In 2014, Khorasani broke away from the TTP, formed his own group, Jamaatul Ahrar, and announced allegiance to the Islamic State in Afghanistan.

The group carried out some of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan, including a bombing in Lahore in 2016 that killed at least 75 people from the Christian community on Easter Sunday. Khorasani later dissolved Jamaatul Ahrar and rejoined the TTP in the group’s drive to reunify several estranged groups. He was killed in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan in 2022.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2024

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