LAHORE: Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) claimed to have arrested six members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) in an intelligence-based operation. The suspects were allegedly planning to target the third season of Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches at Gaddafi Stadium.
The LEAs claimed one of the arrested suspects, identified as Luqman, was a potential suicide bomber. The detained men were believed to be involved in the Bedian Road blast, Ferozpur Road blast and killings of senior officers of an intelligence agency in Sargodha and Dera Ismail Khan.
Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab (CTD) had received a tip-off on March 9 that a terrorist attack would target PSL matches at the Gaddafi Stadium. Acting on the information, the CTD, in collaboration with other LEAs, deployed their officials of intelligence wing at entry, exit and other pickets in the city. The CTD also conducted raids in Gujranwala, Lahore and other districts. LEAs raided a madrassah near Gajjuamta and arrested the suspected terrorists including Luqman.
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During initial investigations, LEAs found that the suspects were involved in Bedian Road and Ferozpur Road suicide blasts. At least six people were killed in a suicide blast on Bedian Road, while as many as 26 people, most of them police officials, were killed in the Ferozpur Road blast.
A senior officer of a law enforcement agency told The Express Tribune that investigation agencies were clueless about Bedian Road and Ferozpur Road blasts. “They could not even advance a single inch in the cases despite their hectic efforts.” In both blasts, LEAs had analysed all the evidence including CCTV footages, forensic and geo-fencing, but could not spot the facilitator of the suspects. Leave the spotting of facilitators aside, in both cases, they could not even determine the modus operandi of the attacker; whether he was on foot or riding some vehicle, in which direction he came from or who was in contact with at the time of the blast. LEAs were also not able to determine the details of the recent Raiwind Road blast. All three incidents were claimed by TTP Ahrar, he added.
He said if the arrested suspects were related to these blasts, it would prove to be a breakthrough in investigations.
He said Mall Road, Ferozpur Road and Raiwind Road blasts had many similarities including modus operandi, choosing of the target and the use of explosives etc. “These arrests could also provide leads in the Raiwind Road blasts too.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2018.
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