Startling revelations: Nine al Qaeda suspects arrested

Published: September 11, 2013

Investigators have also unearthed a workshop where they tested explosives. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: 

An intelligence agency has detained six members of al Qaeda’s suicide squad, their local handler and two of their technical collaborators.

Out of seven al Qaeda members, four have taken special jihadi training in Miramshah, headquarters of North Waziristan Agency, while the other three are also experts in different fields with five having expertise in information technology/communication, improvised explosive devices (IED), diploma associate engineer in automobile technology and media coordination.

The detained collaborators are local shopkeepers from an electronic market. They allegedly provided the electronic gadgets, used in suicidal missions, sources familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune.

From their physical appearance it is clear that some of the detained men are foreigners though the others are drawn from the provinces of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

Investigators have also unearthed a workshop where members of the squad would test out their instruments of death and destruction.

While their handler resided in Punjab University (PU) Hostel, the remaining members lived in different urban areas in Lahore.

The arrest of the handler was made after another squad member, who often visited PU Hostel, met his boss (handler) for giving updates and seeking more instructions.

Armed with this information, the intelligence agency placed the handler under surveillance and noted that when other students of the hostel left their rooms to attend their classes, this suspect remained present in his room.

Sources said that the handler was detained soon after his aide was apprehended.

Pictures of Aafia Siddiqui and other al Qaeda leaders were discovered from the handler’s room in PU hostel, reinforcing the suspicion that the man detained was an al Qaeda figure.

During the course of interrogation, it was revealed that the squad members had succeeded in preparing an explosive suicide vehicle (a car) which is still present in Lahore at an unidentified location with a fake licence plate. Though the vehicle poses a potential threat to citizens, it hasn’t been impounded by law enforcement agencies as yet.

The operation was conducted by a premier intelligence agency whose operatives picked up another member of al Qaeda “Fidayeen” mission on September 3 from a room of Punjab University Hostel No 1.

The militant, after the initial raid seemed to be an Arab national who arrived in Lahore for leading a “Fidayeen” (suicidal mission) about three weeks ago and was allegedly provided shelter by the Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT), the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). But the man was actually a resident of K-P.

The university had allotted a room to a Statistics Department student Ahmed Sajjad, who allegedly had an association with the IJT.

The university is considered a stronghold of the IJT — which has denied any link with the arrested suspect. “We had not given shelter to any suspected terrorists,” IJT spokesman Abdul Moqeet said.

Sources said the arrested youth was allegedly involved in subversive activities in Pakistan’s tribal areas and had come to Lahore to lead a mission.

Sources said Ahmed Sajjad had been an activist of a student organisation in the past but it had disowned him, adding that Sajjad was an MS student at the PU College of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences. They also said Sajjad was not present at the time of the raid.

Sources in the intelligence agency, however, confirmed that during initial interrogations, his link with al Qaeda has been established. They also claimed that the suspect was on a suicide mission.

‘Facilitated by JI’

A senior serving intelligence agency officer, who also led operations in which wanted al Qaeda figures Ahmad Khalfan Ghalani and Naeem Noor Khan alias Abu Talha were arrested, told The Express Tribune that JI has been directly and indirectly involved in providing accommodation to al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, supposedly No 3 in the al-Qaeda hierarchy was arrested in March 2004, from the house of a women’s wing leader of the JI in Rawalpindi, while another al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida was arrested in the same year from Faisalabad, and was given shelter by Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • Raj - USA
    Sep 11, 2013 - 11:19AM

    I believe that the authorities knew about these terrorists for a long time and just decided to arrest them.

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  • Candid1
    Sep 11, 2013 - 1:11PM

    @Raj – USA: Your beliefs are absolutely irrelevant, especially when removed from facts.

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  • Salman Ahmed
    Sep 11, 2013 - 1:55PM

    Please explain why this news item is not displayed in the PUNJAB section and is included in the KP/FATA sections of your website.

    From your story – they were living in LAHORE in the Punjab University Hostel and had been operating without hindrance in PUNJAB.

    Sad to see that so many of the AlQaeda operatives are now being caught from Punjab…what was the Punjab police doing over the past 5 years or so?

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  • Farhan
    Sep 11, 2013 - 3:13PM

    After, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi its Lahore’s turn. Wake up Punjab government, the militants are fast penetrating in to Lahore – a very important city for Pakistan.

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  • Tanveer
    Sep 11, 2013 - 3:42PM

    The need is to find the “mole” placed by ET in the intelligence agencies who is leaking such high value information… This news article contains information about how the intelligence agencies think and plan their activities – and this will help the terrorists to be ahead of agencies in planning next time.

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  • Ahmad
    Sep 11, 2013 - 4:15PM

    Astaghfirullah. They had Qaum ki Beti Aafia’s pictures in their rooms??? Isn’t she innocent and izzat of Pakistani people?
    well maybe it’s okay as perhaps they were plotting to release her from the States.

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  • Ishrat salim
    Sep 11, 2013 - 4:19PM

    @Tanveer:

    yeah.? these LEAs..they got information, but not yet found the explosive laden car and disarmed it…this is what others will learn from their operation….? they will have a big laugh…they have too many cadres and supporters, but we may loose too many poor people…which is better..?

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  • Truth detector
    Sep 11, 2013 - 4:48PM

    @Raj – USA If there is Olympic event of bogus commentary, you will be the gold medalist, no doubt.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 11, 2013 - 5:06PM

    Its no secret that JI provides material and PTI provides moral, emotional and intellectual support to terrorists.

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  • Bakhtawer Bilal
    Sep 11, 2013 - 5:22PM

    It is so weird to read in the news about the progress being made into the crimes committed. In no country would you be able to know what the intelligence agencies are thinking, what progress has been made so far, who in police is leading which mission etc. Our “azad sahafet” lays bare all facts. It certainly helps the criminals.

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  • Bacchus Piggawala
    Sep 11, 2013 - 5:30PM

    Do I see a conflict of interest in the current JI and PTI led govt in KPK? If they’re giving material support to terrorists and suicidie bombers, then does it not make sense that they would take such a strong stance against fighting terrorism and drones? JI-PTI supporters please clarify.

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  • Khurram Malik
    Sep 11, 2013 - 6:04PM

    ET what is your problem??. You are one of the most Biased newspapers of Pakistan and your comment approval policy is utterly biased.

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  • sabi
    Sep 11, 2013 - 6:32PM

    @Khurram Malik:
    ”ET what is your problem??. You are one of the most Biased newspapers of Pakistan and your comment approval policy is utterly biased.”
    What do you want to say?.

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  • Someone
    Sep 11, 2013 - 6:42PM

    @Bacchus Piggawala: Yaawwnnn, you’re gonna have to do better trolling than that. No one laughed.

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  • Sep 11, 2013 - 6:50PM

    It brings great joy to know that these terrorists were prevented from succeeding in their evil mission. We congratulate the Pakistani authorities on arresting these terrorists. They might have saved many lives in the process. It is obvious that our common enemies are fully focused on destabilizing the region with their acts of terror. Therefore, it only makes sense for us to remain unified against those who are working against our peace objectives in the region. We hope to build on our improving relationship, and at the same time, encourage everyone to refrain from indulging in conspiracy theories that form mistrust between our nations. We stand by the government of Pakistan and hope to continue our partnership in regards to our shared objectives in the region.

    Ali Khan
    DET, United States Central Command

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  • AKhtar Baloch
    Sep 11, 2013 - 7:38PM

    well done ISI!!

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  • Bilal
    Sep 11, 2013 - 8:13PM

    Without being in power, JI is providing shelter to enemies of Pakistan. Notorious terrorists are being captured from their houses. What one should expect if JI comes into power in Pakistan?

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  • sabi
    Sep 11, 2013 - 9:26PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Its no secret that JI provides material and PTI provides moral, emotional and intellectual support to terrorists.
    Well said. Both are two sides of the same coin.Sabotage every effort for permanent peace is the sole agenda of these sister parties.

    Recommend

  • Voice
    Sep 12, 2013 - 12:28AM

    Establishment used to propagate the same Jamiat Islami and its student wings like Al-badar for so-called Gaza-e-hind, this propaganda was to gather support for kashmir cause.

    Pakistan needs to dismantle all kind of religious parties, like Egypt is going to do and Bangladesh has done it.

    Other wise, its meaningless. Musharraf banned Sipah-e-Sahaba, and they created a new organization called Lej (lashkar-e-janghvi). so they will mushroom with new names, only solution is , state needs to ban any kind of religious political parties…..

    They are blackmailers…..

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  • Zulmi Cousin
    Sep 12, 2013 - 2:29AM

    Whats the point in arresting them? The Govt. is going to release them anyways in exchange for some hapless Rangers kidnapped by their brethern.

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  • MK
    Sep 12, 2013 - 5:20AM

    So….CENTCOM officials are commenting on tribune articles? I think I’ve seen everything now.

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  • Hamza Zuberi
    Sep 12, 2013 - 11:01AM

    @Bilal: We can expect that the protection and support will increase, but the arrests will stop.

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  • Mishrab
    Sep 12, 2013 - 12:11PM

    Why the Government do not ban JI & IJT immediately….

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  • Nadir N.M Mahmood
    Sep 12, 2013 - 1:43PM

    These revelations remind me of the “rein of terror” in the era of Zia ul Haq.

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  • Irshad Khan
    Sep 12, 2013 - 2:25PM

    It is well said that JI is the creator of Al-Qaeda and supported them with training, information and man-power supply.

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