HYDERABAD: The vice-chancellor (VC) of Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) Dr Noshad A Shaikh clarified on Monday that medical student Naureen Laghari, who has reportedly been arrested after a security operation in Lahore, was not indoctrinated or recruited by terrorists from the university.
Talking to media at his office on Monday, Dr Shaikh cited the police version, saying that Naureen might have established contact with a terror outfit through Facebook.
The VC said Naureen was a brilliant student and, at the campus, she never exhibited extremist leanings. “We haven’t found any evidence that she was involved in extremist activities in the university,” he claimed.
He said that the university is extending complete cooperation to the law enforcement agencies regarding Naureen’s investigation.
According to the VC, two of Naureen’s three friends in LUMHS were non-Muslim. Few days after her disappearance, the university formed an inquiry committee to submit report on her activities. The report submitted to the VC did not find any involvement in extremist activities in the campus on her part.
On Saturday, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and security agencies conducted a joint operation in Lahore, in which four alleged militants, including a woman, were arrested. The female militant was identified as Naureen, who had gone missing on February 10 this year. According to initial investigation, Naureen had joined the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS).
According to sources, the arrested militants had been planning to target churches and Christian gatherings on Easter in the city.
SSP Hyderabad Police, Irfan Baloch had informed the media that the young woman was reportedly inspired by IS ideology. A closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed her leaving for Lahore alone. She had later informed her family through social media that she had reached the land of ‘Khilafat’ [Caliphate].
Local police believe the medical student had intentionally joined the militant group, adding that around a dozen female students of high-profile educational institutions, missing from different areas of the province, were believed to have joined IS. However, according to Naureen’s father, Prof Dr Abdul Jabbar Laghari, she had left home for university to attend morning classes on February 10 and had been missing since. Rejecting the claims of Hyderabad police and others, Prof Laghari denied having ever noticing extremist or violent tendencies in his daughter. He claimed she might have been kidnapped.
The SSP had claimed that after investigating Naureen’s friends, classmates and teachers, the police are convinced that she nurtured extremist tendencies and that she was also in contact with a terror outfit through Facebook and Instagram.
On Sunday, the family said that they have not been officially informed that the girl recovered from Lahore is Naureen. According to Muhammad Afzal Laghari, Naureen’s brother, no security officials, including the Hyderabad police, confirmed this.
“There has been no official confirmation,” SSP Hyderabad Irfan Baloch had told The Express Tribune.