HYDERABAD: The police took at least 12 suspects into custody on Thursday for their alleged involvement in blasts outside the branches of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in rural Sindh.
A majority of the suspects reportedly belong to different factions of Jeay Sindh. The Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), one such faction, claimed that six of its activists were arrested.
A series of blasts took place outside NBP branches in 15 districts of Sindh on Wednesday. Several automated teller machines were damaged and eight people were injured. The Sindhu Desh Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attacks. The group was previously involved in damaging railway tracks and power pylons.
The police arrested the suspects from different areas of Hyderabad, after four separate FIRs were registered. The 12 suspects were booked under the Explosives Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act.
However, police refused to confirm the identities of the people it arrested. At least 10 men were named in the FIRs, while an additional nine were nominated as “unknown assailants.”
According to sources, Aijaz Gaho, Faqir Najeed Qureshi, Ibrar Kalhoro, Zulfiqar Siyal, Lala Qurban Sodho Safdar Mallah, Ramzan Jamali, Asadullah Sehto, Shahnawaz Bhutto, Hafeez Hakro and Abdul Hafeez Pirzado were arrested on Thursday.
When asked about Najeed Qureshi and Lala Qurban, Makki Shah Police SHO Ahmed Qureshi said that the two men were not named in any FIR filed at the police station recently. “I will need time to fetch their criminal history records.”
However, Najeed Qureshi’s brother, Shoaib Qureshi, who is a news director at Sindh TV, told The Express Tribune that the police took away his brother last night. “My brother is associated with Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz. But he never [got involved] in criminal activities.”
Shoaib said that Najeed was on his way to a hospital on Thursday night where his wife had given birth to a boy, when he was nabbed. “[His wife] is still in the hospital and is worried about her husband. The police are keeping us in the dark.”
Complaints were also registered at police stations in Matiari, Thatta, Badin and Jamshoro districts. Yasin Rahu, a bank manager in Shaheed Benazirabad, also lodged an FIR against the blasts. Tando Mohammad Khan police said that only a cracker bomb was hurled outside a bank in their district, which left no damages. No case was registered in that district as a result.
JSQM’s acting chairman Dr Niaz Kalani claimed that multiple JSQM workers were arrested. “[Police] always arrest our people and set them free after a few days,” said Kalani while talking to The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.