Mastung suicide bomber identified as Hafeez Nawaz from Abbottabad

Bomber spent two years in Afghanistan before carrying out attack, says DIG CTD

Mohammad Zafar July 19, 2018
Victims in blood-smeared clothes were taken to hospitals in Mastung and Quetta, where they were greeted by tense crowds of mourners. PHOTO:AFP/File

QUETTA: The suicide attacker who killed at least 150 participants of a corner meeting last Friday in Mastung district of Balochistan has been identified as Hafeez Nawaz, a member of outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), who hailed from Abbottabad but was living in Sindh’s Thatta district for many decades.

“A hand of the bomber was found from the blast site which led us to his identification as Hafeez Nawaz, son of Muhammad Nawaz. He hailed from Abbottabad district of Khyber-Pakhtunkwa but lived in the Sakro area of Thatta in Sindh,” said the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) DIG Aitzaz Goraya on Wednesday.

Goraya was addressing a press conference with regard to the Mastung suicide blast in which the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP)’s candidate for provincial assembly Nawabzada Siraj Raisani was apparently the target. More than 200 were also injured in the atrocity.

CM relief, rehabilitation fund to be set up for Mastung victims: Marri

“Initial Investigation and evidence reveal that after joining the terrorist group Hafeez along with his brother and sisters left for Afghanistan and had been living there for the last two years.

“Intelligence agencies are investigating Hafeez’s activities in Afghanistan. The CTD Karachi helped us in tracing his family background,” he added.

Sharing details of people who helped the suicide bomber reach the corner meeting, the CTD official said ‘some local people’ in Mastung provided him shelter and facilitated him to reach the place where Raisani’s corner meeting was taking place but rejected reports of arresting two facilitators.

He said the bomber was sitting on the fourth row of the BAP’s public rally and was carrying the party’s flag. “When Nawabzada Siraj Raisani started his speech he moved forward and detonated his suicide vest near the stage.”

To a question regarding Da’esh claim with regard to Mastung blast, Goraya said it has been noticed that two or more groups simultaneously claim responsibility for a blast. This also happened in the case of 2016 Civil Hospital and Quetta Police Training Centre attacks.

“The LeJ is working under the umbrella of ISIS (Da’esh) and both terrorist organisations have been facilitating each other in carrying out attacks in Balochistan,” he said.

CM relief, rehabilitation fund to be set up for Mastung victims: Marri

He said the CTD, Frontier Corps, police and other law enforcing agencies (LEAs) have been investigating the blast and intelligence based operations (IBOs) are being conducted to arrest the facilitators.

He urged people to share any information on the blast but appealed to the media and social media users not to spread false news.

To a query about the Punjab Forensic Laboratory investigators who visited the blast site a few days back, the DIG said the forensic teams have been investigating the blast from all aspects and details of explosive material used in the suicide attack will be shared.

Briefing to Senate panel

Separately, Additional IG Balochistan informed the Senate panel on Interior on Thursday that the suicide bomber had arrived in Balochistan from Karachi. “The attacker was earlier part of banned LeJ but later he joined Da’esh,” he said.

The official revealed that two facilitators of the alleged bombers had been identified as Mufti Haider and Hafiz Naeem and efforts were being made for their arrest.  He said five to ten kilo of explosive was used in the attack but its nature is yet to be ascertained.

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