KARACHI: Two suspected criminals arrested and put behind bars for their alleged involvement in incidents of street crime are found to be associated with an outlawed militant group and involved in the targeted killings of as many as 13 persons on sectarian grounds within a short span of around six months, a probe conducted by the Counter-Terrorism Department finds.

The CTD on Thursday announced at a press conference that the two held suspects — Waqar Abbas and Husain Akbar — were part of a network of sectarian militants belonging to the banned Zainebiyoun Brigade.

DIG Asif Aijaz Shaikh said that the CTD got a tip-off that suspects Abbas and Akbar were arrested and imprisoned in connection with street crime but they were part of a network of sectarian hitmen.

He said that the CTD got the custody of these two arrested persons after fulfilling all legal formalities.

Outlawed Zainebiyoun Brigade accused of killing 13 people over a period of six months in garb of mugging

During interrogation, the suspects not only disclosed details of their network but also led investigators to places where they hid weapons used in targeted killings, he added.

The DIG said that the suspects revealed that there were three teams of hitmen in the city while their ‘mastermind’ lived abroad.

“They confessed to have killed over one dozen people and injured 11 others,” he added.

‘Targeted killings in garb of muggings’

Giving details as to why the CTD launched a probe, the DIG said that there was a sudden upsurge in incidents of killings during robberies between September 2023 and February 2024.

It was said then that these people were killed by robbers over resistance. However, it transpired later that 17 of the victims were either associated with a sectarian outfit or belonged to a particular sect, he said.

The CTD carried out a technical and forensic analysis of the killings’ pattern and came to know that the outlawed Zainebiyoun Brigade was involved in these sectarian killings.

The DIG said that the investigators identified Syed Husain Mosavi, alias Muslim, as the group’s mastermind. “He lives abroad and used to give targets, funds, etc, to the teams of assassins,” he added.

‘Different teams for recce, killings’

The DIG said that the mastermind used to provide his team members with pictures of targets and other information. “Members of a team did recce of the target, collected all relevant information and passed on to the mastermind who then sent the details to a separate team of hitmen to carry out targeted killings,” he added.

He revealed that the terror network had completed reconnaissance of around 15 people and sent all information to their mastermind abroad.

However, the CTD found out that no such killing was carried out after Feb 21 after the arrest of the two suspects in connection with street crime and possession of illicit weapons.

‘23 facilitators, four hitmen identified’

Besides the mastermind and the two held suspects, the CTD said it had identified as many as 23 facilitators and four hitmen.

“Members of all these teams belonged to Gilgit-Baltistan and they had gone into hiding after the arrest of main killers,” said the DIG.

Responding to questions, the DIG said the held suspects were involved in killings of members of the outlawed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat.

Speaking about Zainebiyoun Brigade, another CTD official Raja Umer Khattab said: “Zainebiyoun Brigade’s network works like foreign agencies.”

However, he said that during the investigation no evidence with regard to involvement of any neighbouring country was found.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Price bombs
17 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

THERE was a time not too long ago when the faces we see sitting in government today would cry themselves hoarse over...
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
17 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

IT is no secret that visa applications to the UK and Schengen countries come at a high cost. But recent published...
After the deluge
Updated 16 Jun, 2024

After the deluge

There was a lack of mental fortitude in the loss against India while against US, the team lost all control and displayed a lack of cohesion and synergy.
Fugue state
16 Jun, 2024

Fugue state

WITH its founder in jail these days, it seems nearly impossible to figure out what the PTI actually wants. On one...
Sindh budget
16 Jun, 2024

Sindh budget

SINDH’S Rs3.06tr budget for the upcoming financial year is a combination of populist interventions, attempts to...