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Police claim netting five TTP men

December 03, 2010

A Pakistani officer shows seized ammunitions during a media briefing in Lahore on December 3, 2010. Pakistani police has arrested five suspects linked to the attack on a spy agency building in eastern city of Lahore last year, a senior official said. – Photo by AFP

LAHORE: The Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) claimed on Friday to have arrested five suspected militants involved in the suicide attack on Rescue 15 police  and ISI buildings in 2009.

The attack had claimed lives of 29 people, 19 police officials and a senior officer of an intelligence agency among them, besides injuring 416 others. Several public and private buildings and vehicles were damaged in the attack that followed massive firing on May 27, 2009.

The alleged militants were identified as Sarfraz Ahmad of Chak 116, Faisalabad, Shabbir Ahmad (Chak 29, Thikriwala), Umer Hayat (Chak 423, Tandlianwala), Hafiz Mahmood (Chak 100, Karri-wala Dak Khana Khas, Faisalabad) and Abid Akram (a resident of 33/A Qazi Park, Shahdara Town, Lahore).

CCPO Aslam Tareen told the media at the Qila Gujjar Singh Police Lines that the arrested men were activists of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s group -- Al-Toheed Al-Jihad led by Dr Umer Kundi (who belonged to Lodhran’s Kehror Pucca tehsil).

Dr Kundi was the mastermind of the attack on police 15 building and was also assigned the task of generating funds through kidnap for ransom and robberies for the TTP to run its affairs.

He said Sarfraz and Shabbir had opened heavy fire on the policemen deputed at barriers/check post in front of the police 15 building seconds before the explosive-laden vehicle attack in May 2009. All of them had kidnapped and killed people in Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Sialkot, he said.

The CIA police, he said, had arrested the suspects in Ravi Park, Shahdara, where they were planning more attacks in the provincial capital. A huge cache of weapons and four suicide jackets had been recovered, he said.

“Their next target were the offices of the Lahore police, the army and other law-enforcement agencies,” said Mr Tareen who added that they had finalised plots and were awaiting suicide attackers. The police also recovered hand-grenade pins, mortar shells and sophisticated weapons.

The CCPO said the suspects got training from North Waziristan’s Dittakhel tehsil and were assigned re-organisation of the group in Punjab after the death of Dr Kundi. Abid Akram replaced Kundi for next ‘assignments’ in Punjab.

He said the vehicle used in the police 15 building attack was snatched from Hangu district at gunpoint and a case was registered in the Hangu police station on Feb 2, 2009, against unidentified people.

The CCPO said the terrorists had been using Allied Hospital, Faisalabad, for secret meetings.

He said Abid Akram, Dr Babar Cheema, Babar Bajwa, Dr Sarfraz and Asif Chattha kidnapped 14-year-old Arsalan from Samundari Road, Faisalabad, and killed him after four months on not getting the ransom. They threw the boy’s body in canal.

In April 2008, Abid Akram, Afzal Butt and Nadeem Butt kidnapped textile mill owner Muneer Ahmad from Khurrianwala (Faisalabad) and released him after getting a Rs100 million ransom.

Abid, Ajmal, Shoaib Ishaq, Qaisar Cheema and Asad shot dead Mian Laeeque, a cloth trader of Faisalabad’s Montgomery Road in May 2009. They had a plan to kidnap him for ransom.

The CCPO said Abid, Ajmal, Shoaib, Qamar Shah and Asad kidnapped UK-returned Mian Bashir from China Chowk, Sialkot, in August 2009. They later released him after getting Rs2.5 million ransom. The kidnappers also sold his car at a throwaway price of Rs60,000 in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir.