Main suspect in Lahore blast still at large

More suspects rounded up from Sindh, K-P


Site of the explosion in Johar Town. Photo: EXPRESS

LAHORE:

The Counter-Terrorism Department Punjab (CTD)’s investigation into Johar Town car blast was stalled on Friday after the police arrested a few petty criminals but could not find a trace so far that could serve as a link or lead to involvement of a militant organisation or agency.

The investigation was pinned around David Paul, the suspect arrested at Lahore airport after being offloaded from a Karachi-bound flight, as he was the last link in the ownership of a black Corolla car, believed to be used in the bombing on Wednesday.

The arrests made so far were one way or the other connected to David Paul. Paul dealt in brokery business, hoteling and scrap, of various items and had a history of travelling between Dubai and Pakistan. He also had an intra-country travel history too.

The CTD has been taking into custody his relatives and the people, who had been in contact with him for considerable time in recent past. A raid was conducted at his residence reportedly in Mahmudabad, Karachi, where his belongings like laptop etc along with two family members were taken into custody.

Another arrest was made in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The suspect was also linked to Paul.

Read Foreigner held in probe into Lahore blast

An investigator, privy to the development, said that the evidences or leads exposing involvement of a militant group had not been found yet. And, this is the most frustrating for them as the CTD’s pattern of investigations by default had become deconstructing chain of an organisation or group.

This was quite natural for them also as most of the terrorism incidents during the recent past had been unleashed by a few militants. The investigator added that over two days had passed but no organisation, so far, had claimed responsibility for the blast.

Paul had been arrested because he was linked to the black car used in blast. He told CTD that he had handed over the vehicle for use on the request of a friend, who lives abroad. It is a common practice as they shared their logistics support while travelling around, he added.

He said that the person taking the vehicle from him was wearing a mask so he could not identify him.
The other arrested suspects so far had similarities with profile and business of Paul.

The prime suspect, the car driver, is still at large. When the investigators tracked his footsteps, they found that he rode a white car after parking the car at the blast site. Unfortunately, the CTD could not find the driver’s escape route or the vehicle he used.

Read more Man, son killed in Lahore blast buried

Two teams of the CTD, one was chasing for evidences with the angle that he used local transport to escape from the provincial metropolis and the other focusing on use of private vehicle. The CTD also grilled the officials that had checked the vehicle at Babu Sabu entrance of the metropolis.

The suspected driver had a dialogue with the officials for at least nine minutes. When the officials asked him to open the backside of the vehicle, he said that exterior lock was not working and his car was tampered.

The official belonged to Anti Vehicle Lifting Staff (AVLS). He said that he checked the documents and let him go when satisfied.

The investigator also said that the movement of the car was tracked and the time lapsed analysis from entrance at Babu Sabu to the blast site, suggested that there was not enough time to install explosives after entering the city.

He also added that the explosives were installed near the engine of the vehicle as it was the worst damaged part of the four-wheeler. Installation there was tricky and complicated and took time.

This also ascertained the installation of explosives outside city angle.

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