DERA GHAZI KHAN: A militant, reportedly the head of banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), south Punjab chapter, was killed on Wednesday in Dera Ghazi Khan in an encounter with police and law-enforcement agencies, according to a handout issued by the Punjab police.
Abdul Ghaffar Qaisarani, of Taunsa, who was wanted in a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2010 and a bank robbery in Taunsa in 2011, was killed in the operation near Ghazi Ghat, 19km from Dera Ghazi Khan, in the Drahma police remits.
Law enforcers had learnt that Ghaffar was traveling in a bus from Khanpur to Rajanpur. The personnel picketed Ghazi Ghat on the Indus and started checking vehicles.
During checking of the bus, Ghaffar threw a grenade and tried to escape. The grenade did not explode. Ghaffar then tried to flee while firing. Law enforcers shot and killed him before he could target any one.
A member of the operation team seeking anonymity told Dawn that Qaisarani had a hand-grenade and two sophisticated guns on him. He said Qaisarani, alias Saifullah, was associated with the banned TTP. He had been tasked with raising funds through bank robberies.
Qaisarani is survived by his widow, two daughters and a son. Dera police had been kept unaware of the operation. According to a handout issued by the police, Multan City Police Officer Aamir Zulfiqar Khan said Ghaffar -- alias Ghaffari, alias Moulvi Saifullah and son of Ghulam Husain was a resident of Taunsa and head of the banned TTP, southern Punjab.
He said the suspect had links with Imran and Arshad Punjabi, Taliban commanders in North Waziristan. He said he was wanted in a bank robbery, which took place in Taunsa and in another case of keeping explosive material.
The CPO said he was also wanted in another robbery at the Habib Bank Limited in the Sheetal Mari area of Multan a few days ago. Two security guards were killed in the robbery. The handout said Multan police had set up a picket near the Chenab on a tip off that a few terrorists, traveling by a bus, were arriving in Multan. The police signalled the bus driver to stop but he accelerated and tried to flee.
Later, a CIA team stopped the bus at a picket near Ghazi Ghaat and began physical search of the passengers. In the meantime, Ghaffar threw a hand-grenade after removing its pin to target the passengers. The policemen managed to capture the terrorist but he opened fire on the police as he was off-loaded from the bus. The police also retaliated and killed him.