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LEAs receiving threats for release of `woman terrorist`

December 19, 2011

– File Photo

KARACHI: The suspected militant, Shahid Khan alias Qari Shahid, said to be the Karachi chief of Punjabi Taliban, was killed along with accomplices when he fired two shots at law-enforcers with his pistol after being captured, sources privy to the raid on his hideout told Dawn on Sunday.

Police claimed that the 32-year-old militant was involved in a number of terrorist attacks, including the one on PNS Mehran base.

The sources said Qari Shahid, a former activist of a students’ organisation, was in fact captured by the law-enforcement agencies during a raid on a house in Korangi. However, they said, his attempt to kill the law-enforcers triggered a barrage of AK-47 rifle fire by the police, killing him and his two associates on the spot.

The slain militant being described by the security forces as the Karachi Ameer of Punjabi Taliban had a Masters degree in Political Science from Karachi University.

At the university he was extremely reticent but used to fight with ferocity with the rival student groups, investigators said.

The wife of the slain militant was no less ordinary woman, Sabiha, 26, either, the sources said.

They added that the couple along with their one-and-a-half-year-old boy had toured the PNS Mehran Base, pretending that they did not know one another. They even went to the back of the base from where the attack was launched, the investigators said.

They said the law-enforcement agencies had raided the Korangi house after they had picked up two suspects while seeking the whereabouts of a businessman, Riaz Chinoy, who had been kidnapped in October.

“We were initially treating it as a common kidnapping for ransom case but as the time passed and during the interrogation with the two suspects we realized that we were not dealing with ordinary people,” said a law-enforcement official seeking anonymity.

The ransom calls for Rs1 billion from Miramshah lent strength to our doubt, the official added.

The sources said that Sabiha was also present in the 100-yard house, located at the junction of Allahwallah Town and KDA Overseas Society, in Korangi where Mr Chinoy had been kept. His location had been changed twice before he was shifted to Korangi, they added.

The law-enforcement agencies had earlier picked up an accomplice of Qari Shahid who had once performed a guard duty at their Korangi hideout.

The information provided by the guard led to the raid though he had claimed that he had been taken blindfolded to the place and had been sent back in the same manner, the sources said.

He was quoted as saying that he didn’t actually have an idea where the house was located. But he added that he used to peep out from a window slit and see a pile of thick cables and a vacant plot. He also had told the investigators that there used to be moisture in the air.

However, the sources said, much information was provided by Qari Shahid’s widow who was forthcoming during the interrogation.

“We didn’t have to take the assistance of women police to make her talk, she has been giving us information quite willingly,” said an investigator.

Her two brothers had been killed in drone attacks on the outskirts of Miramshah.

Following Sabiha’s arrest, the security agencies had been receiving threatening calls from the Miramshah demanding the release of the arrested woman, sources told Dawn.

The investigators said Sabiha did her college studies in Karachi. Before her arrest, she used to read newspapers and editorials of a particular newspaper with deep interest on a daily basis, they said.

A cache of compact disks recovered from the house had been taken away by some intelligence agencies, the sources said.

Apart from the PNS Mehran Base and passing on a bomb to terrorists at Karachi University, Sahiba had also prepared a meal for the terrorists who wanted to attack the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine but got killed at the Sea View, the investigators said.

Shrine blasts

They went on to claim that in the twin blasts at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine October 2010, at least one bomb was planted and the explosives had been planted by Sabiha. The investigators quoted her as saying that she had left a small bag containing the bomb at the shrine.

The investigators said that both Qari Shahid and Sabiha were in contact with the mother of two Miramshah-based Tehreek-i-Taliban commanders Irshadullah and Waheedullah who lived in Karachi.

The cell phone data of the slain militant and Sabiha had contact numbers of the mother of the two commanders, they added.