Police claim busting TTP Punjab network
By Arshad Dogar
LAHORE: Police on Saturday claimed to have busted the network of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Punjab by identifying six assailants who carried out two simultaneous attacks on Ahmedis’ worship places in Lahore on Friday.
Two out of six terrorists were killed during the Garhi Shahu attack. They were identified as Mansoor and Darvesh. However, the police are yet to unearth their whereabouts. Their body parts had been sent to a forensic laboratory for the DNA tests.
Another two assailants, who attacked Ahmedis’ worship place in the Model Town area of Lahore, have been arrested alive. One of them has been identified as Abdullah alias Muhammad, son of Attaullah Chachar. He is a resident of Sajay village in Khanpur Katora, district Rahim Yar Khan. Lately, he has been living in Quetta Town, Karachi, for studies. The other one has been identified as Muaz, who was arrested in a critically injured condition. He is under treatment at a local hospital in Lahore. The police are yet to ascertain his whereabouts as well, according to police sources. Two more alleged terrorists, who facilitated the attackers, are still at large.
Abdullah alias Muhammad was shifted to an undisclosed place for interrogation. Sources said he divulged to the police all details about their network and modus operandi used for the attacks. The four terrorists reportedly stayed in Lahore for seven days before carrying out attacks on May 28.
Addressing a press conference at the Central Police Office, the newly appointed spokesman for the Punjab Police, DIG Akram Naeem Bharoka, updated journalist on the latest developments. He said Abdullah told the police that he, along with Muaz, Mansoor and Darvesh, reached Lahore from Miramshah via Bannu on May 21, 2010 and gathered at Green Shed Brelvi mosque, situated near Hamid Terminal close to the Bhatti Chowk.
Abdullah and Muaz visited the Model Town worship place of Ahmedis, along with a local facilitator-cum-terrorist on May 21, while Mansoor and Darvesh went to Garhi Shahu for the purpose, along with another local facilitator on the same day. Then four of them went to Raiwind Tableeghi Centre and stayed there. Later, they went to Ibrahim mosque on Walton Road on May 26 and then, as per plan, went to the Bhatti Chowk on May 27 around 10am to meet their facilitators.
On Thursday (May 27), Abdullah and Muaz, along with their facilitator, again visited Model Town, and Mansoor and Darvesh, along with their facilitator, went to Garhi Shahu worship place. They spent night at Ibrahim mosque and on Friday, the four terrorists once again gathered at the Bhatti Chowk. From there, the facilitator of Abdullah alias Muhammad and Muaz took them to 87/C Model Town on a motorcycle. The other facilitator took Mansoor and Darvesh to Garhi Shahu for carrying out the attacks. The facilitators provided Kalashnikovs, explosive packed jackets, hand grenades and food items to the terrorists. The four attackers carried out simultaneous attacks around 1:35 pm, killing over 82 people and injuring over 150 others.
The death toll, according to a spokesperson for the Ahmedi community, had swollen to 95. However, the spokesman for the Punjab Police claimed that only 79 people were killed and over 120 others injured in the attacks. He claimed the four attackers and the two facilitators all belonged to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
The police spokesman said a younger brother of Abdullah works for a TTP terrorist, Badar, adding that another terrorist, Muneeb, had trained Abdullah for the terrorist activity. Answering a question, Akram Naeem Bharoka said the four terrorists had been assigned only the task of carrying out attacks on Ahmedis and they had no other plan in Lahore. A crackdown on the Raiwind Tableeghi Centre would also be launched, he added. The official, however, failed to give a satisfactory answer to a questioner as to why the state did not act as a complainant for the registration of the FIRs.
During the Model Town attack, the police also seized 18 hand grenades, one Kalashnikov, 55 live cartridges, 7 magazines, 177 empty cartridges and some other items. In Garhi Shahu, the police recovered two Kalashnikovs and four live hand grenades.
According to sources, three suspects were arrested from Rahim Yar Khan after the arrest of Abdullah on Saturday. A case no 233 has been registered against six terrorists at the Garhi Shahu police station under various sections of the PPC and the Anti-Terrorism Act on the complaint of a relative of an attack victim.
The Model Town police have also registered a case against two identified and their unknown accomplices on the complaint of a victim’s relative. The Lahore police also launched a massive search operation late on Friday night and on Saturday in suburban areas of Lahore and arrested dozens of suspects.
Moreover, security was beefed up at the worship places of Ahmedis in the provincial metropolis, especially in Garhi Shahu and Model Town, by deploying extra force. Police investigators also visited the crime scenes on Saturday to collect further evidence.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the arrested terrorist, Abdullah, went to Suffa Madrassa in Karachi for study and spent five years there. Then he planned to get training for Jihad, Sana said and added Abdullah got training in North Waziristan for two years after which he was dispatched, along with his accomplices, to carry out the attacks.
Answering a question, he said the terrorists had gathered the weapons and other explosive material in parts, adding that it was too difficult to check every individual entering Punjab. Agencies add: Meanwhile, the victims of Friday’s deadly attacks were buried in Chanab Nagar near Chiniot on Saturday. The police also raided the Raiwind area and arrested two suspects. Another suspect was taken into custody from Mozang, Lahore.