Frontier Corps (FC) and police killed four terrorists, including a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) mastermind responsible for the recent spate of sectarian attacks, while arresting another seven during a targeted operation, launched on the directives of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
The directions came after the prime minister removed senior officials for their inability to stem terrorist incidents in the provincial capital, including Inspector General Police Balochistan Umar Khatab, who has been replaced by Mushtaq Sukahira, and provincial chief of the Intelligence Bureau Khalid Ahsan.
Talking to the media, Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said that the operation, which was closely monitored by the prime minister and Balochistan governor, was conducted after receiving credible information in the aftermath of the February 16 massacre in Hazara Town.
“The location of the terrorists was indentified after receiving information. When Frontier Corps cordoned off the area, the militants fired heavily on the security forces contingent. As a result four militants were killed in retaliatory fire,” said Durrani.
According to the home secretary, the deceased were identified as Shah Wali from Rahim Yar Khan, Abdul Wahab from Kohlu, Saleem Khan from Quetta and Anwar Khan from Karachi. He added that Shah Wali was the mastermind of LeJ who was involved in planning sectarian attacks on pilgrim buses, targeted killings in the city and the Alamdar Road bombing. Additionally, security forces have begun interrogation of the seven terrorists arrested during the operation, in addition to the 170 arrested from different parts of Quetta. According to an FC spokesman the search operation was conducted in Akhtarabad, Saryab Road and Chaki Shawani areas, during the early hours of the morning. He added that two security forces sustained injures during the operation. A huge quantity of ammunition and explosive materials has been seized from the terrorists, including three Klashnikovs, 24 rockets, two anti-personnel mines, ball bearings and 36 remote improvised explosive devises.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that elements carrying out terrorist activities in Quetta and Karachi want to derail the democratic process with the aim of postponing the forthcoming elections.
Talking to media after landing at Quetta airport, Malik said, “Soon I will make public the names of those people who are involved in this conspiracy against democracy.”
Hinting at a foreign involvement, Malik said “elements involved in the suicide blast adopted a new method of explosion by mixing diesel with different chemicals. I ask whether the LeJ can prepare such kind of bomb.” He suggested that Hazara dominated areas could be declared Red Zones to provide security to the community.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2013.