LAHORE: Reports by two separate intelligence agencies have revealed that banned militant outfits are planning to carry out potential suicide attacks against high-value targets across the country. The targets are said to include ministers, chief ministers, the Iranian embassy and prominent Shia Leaders.
A premier federal Intelligence agency has revealed in its report that the Sirajuddin Haqqani group, Jundallah, Laskar-e-Jhangvi and Harkatul Jihadul Islami have united with regards to carrying out potential suicide attacks across the country, The Express Tribune has learnt.
A joint secret meeting was held in Muzaffarabad on Januray 5, 2011 at the residence of Chhota Ilyas, leader of a banned outfit. In the meeting three groups of suicide bombers were constituted. Reports state that 13 suicide bombers will be with commander Hafiz Lieq, 11 suicide bombers with Hafiz Khursheed while seven suicide bombers will be with Bashir Alam (code name).
Reports further stated that the participants of the meeting formed closer links with the Sirajuddin Haqqani group; targets for the initial attacks were also decided at the meeting.
Another report by another intelligence agency said that a special squad consisting of six suicide bombers has been assigned the task of assassinating the three chief ministers and their close relatives.
Harkatul Jihadul Islami chief Qari Saifullah, who was detained in Rawalpindi jails till some time back, has entered Punjab with two accomplices, Mir Murtaza and Doctor (code name). They have brought an explosive-laden vehicle with them and their target is said to be Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The group intends on attacking the convoy of the PM on his visit to south Punjab, according to the report.
Qari Saifullah was arrested by security agencies along with his three sons in Ferozewal, near Lahore. Since August 2010 he was kept at an undisclosed location in Chishtian tehsil of Punjab; he was set free in the first week of December, sources said.
Qari Saifullah Akhtar was arrested and extradited from the United Arab Emirates on August 07, 2004 on charges of plotting a suicide attack on General Musharraf in Rawalpindi in December 2003. He was detained for two years and nine months by agencies but was thereafter released without the filing of any criminal charges. Qari Saifullah is the alleged mastermind of the October 18, 2007 suicide attack on the procession of Benazir Bhutto in Karachi. On February 26, 2008, Saifullah was detained by the Musharraf regime for interrogation into Bhutto’s assassination.
On March 2008, Qari Saifullah was released on bail by the Sindh High Court but was arrested the same day under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance and shifted to a safe house in Karachi. Two months later on June 8, 2008 he was released by the Sindh home department as the term of detention set under the MPO had expired.
The banned oufits have prepared plans to carry out high profile terrorist activities and intelligence agencies have asked the police to enhance security of all high profile targets. Since all these banned outfits are Sunni the top flight Shia leaders and Iranian diplomats are said to be in particular danger.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2011.