Out of business: Police nab extortionists linked to Afghan Taliban from Korangi

Published: January 19, 2013

Police seized four hand grenades and other weapons from the suspects after engaging them in an encounter in Bilal Colony in Korangi on Friday. The suspects had created their own shadow militant group and used to extort money from traders in the area. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: The police department’s counter terrorism team arrested two alleged extortionists with links to the Afghan Taliban, as well as, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), after engaging in an encounter in Korangi’s Bilal Colony.

At a press conference on Friday, SSP Raja Umar Khattab, chief of the Counter Terrorism and Financial Crime Unit (CTFCU), said that the law enforcers had seized four hand grenades, four pistols and a Kalashnikov from the suspects, Naqibullah and Adnan. At least eight other suspects, Alam Afghani, Naseebullah, Younus Afghani, Ahsan Bengali, Mujahid Afghani, Zaheer Ahmed, Naik Mohammad and Rasheed alias Lahori, managed to escape during the encounter, said SSP Khattab. Cases have also been registered against Naqibullah and Adnan.

Police officials said that the two men had created their own shadow militant group in Korangi, and were loosely affiliated with the TTP and the Afghan Taliban. Naqibullah was the vice chairperson of the group, said SSP Khattab, before adding that members of this group hailed from the Paktia province in Afghanistan. “After settling in Korangi Industrial Area, they put in place a mechanism to collect extortion on a monthly basis from industrialists and traders.”

Apart from extorting money from industrialists, the culprits were also involved in the narcotics trade, said the CTFCU chief. They would collect the money and then Naqibullah would go to Afghanistan to give it to commanders of other militant organisations. The police are trying to ascertain the amount of money they have sent across the border.

The suspects were also part of a group that was responsible for recruiting youngsters from the area for “waging jihad”. These youngsters would be sent to Afghanistan for training.

SSP Khattab said that Naqibullah and Adnan were also wanted in the murder of three political activists, a police constable, and a drugs peddler who was affiliated with a political party. The men were also planning the kidnapping of the owner of a rice factory after he had refused to pay them extortion money, added Khattab.

SIU raids Shershah

The Special Investigation Unit claimed that it arrested three men, Faraz, Niaz and Rasheed Khan, after a raid in Shershah on Friday. SIU officials said that the men were involved in killing a man, Haleem Shah, in Orangi Town, and were also wanted in other murder and robbery cases.

Meanwhile, the police arrested two men, Rahmatullah and Shahzeb, during a snap-checking operation in North Nazimabad. Police officials said that the two men were involved in various cases of target killings, extortion and street crimes.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2013.

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