Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has revealed that “an intelligence agency of an enemy country” was “directly involved” in last week’s blast in Lahore and that all the alleged culprits behind the bombing as well as their facilitators have been apprehended.
“An agency of an enemy country was directly involved in this activity and it provided all the financial support to this network,” Buzdar told a press conference on Monday in Lahore.
“All evidence collected from the crime scene and local terrorists indicate that international characters are involved in terror financing of this terrorist network,” he added.
Three people died and 22 others, including women and children, sustained injuries when an explosives-laden vehicle exploded near the house of Hafiz Saeed, leader of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), in Lahore’s Johar Town neighbourhood on June 23.
On June 25, the police took a foreigner into custody at the Lahore airport after offloading him from a Karachi-bound flight for interrogation in connection with the blast.
Talking with reference to the investigation, the CM said the police and the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) had now successfully apprehended the entire network of terrorists.
“Ten Pakistani male and female citizens [allegedly] part of the network have been arrested. The mastermind behind the terror incident has also been identified. A joint investigation team (JIT) is conducting investigations and the arrested criminals will be given exemplary punishment,” he added.
“All international and local actors have been identified. All the terrorists involved in reconnaissance, installation of explosive material, buying the vehicle and its handing over, have been arrested during raids in different areas. This is a big achievement.”
Buzdar said the CTD investigated the incident scientifically and identified the alleged perpetrators within 16 hours. “It was a test case for the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to apprehend the terrorists and their facilitators and the LEAs succeeded.”
The chief minister also expressed satisfaction over the performance of the Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA). The requirements of the PSCA would be met on a priority basis, he added.
Punjab Inspector General Police (IGP) Inam Ghani, who was present at the press conference, said no suspect apprehended in connection with the blast was on the fourth schedule.
“The vehicle [used in the attack] was snatched in 2010; recovered in 2011 and was now being used on the basis of 'superdari' (custody),” he said in reply to a question.
He said one arrested suspect belongs to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) but spoke Punjabi fluently. He disclosed that police had stopped this vehicle and checked it at a picket.
“The last terrorist activity occurred in Punjab in November 2020 and now the Johar Town blast was aimed at tarnishing Pakistan’s image. However, the police and the CTD worked hard to trace and arrest the terrorists,” he said.
Earlier the police claimed that it had arrested the man – who parked the explosives-laden car used in Lahore’s Johar Town blast – from Rawalpindi.
According to Express News, the suspect was identified as Eid Gul. Law enforcement officials claimed that after Gul’s arrest, another suspect, David Paul, had also been identified as a terrorist.
“Peter David Paul had himself brought the car used in the terrorist incident from Gujranwala seven days prior to the blast and handed it over to Eid Gul,” the officials claimed.
The police further said that vehicle’s registration number was LEB 9928 and had been reported stolen 11 years ago on November 29, 2010 from Gujranwala’s Cantt Police Station.
The investigation revolved 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 was a broker; was also into hoteling and scrap of various items and had a history of travelling between Dubai and Pakistan. He also had an intra-country travel history.
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