The Sindh Crime Investigation Department (CID) claimed to have apprehended an alleged member of Hizbullah, a sectarian militant group, on Saturday.
The group, which was last heard of in 2010, seems to have resurfaced and is reportedly involved in the recent bank robberies in Karachi.
The alleged member Abid Hussain was arrested during a raid on Tariq Road.
According to CID officials, Hizbullah has looked to bank’s cash counters as a source for funds of its militant operations in Parachinar, Kurram Agency, Dera Ismail Khan and Peshawar.
Last year, the CID arrested Hizbullah’s group commander Najam Shah from Karachi for his alleged involvement in several bank robberies. At the time, the department believed that the group had ceased operations in Karachi. However, investigations into the recent bank robberies and informants revealed that Hizbullah was involved.
SSP Fayyaz Khan told The Express Tribune that the group had increased its activities in Karachi to generate funds from bank robberies and street crime. According to Khan, the group’s handlers trained people in Parachinar to rob banks. Groups of nearly a dozen people each were dispatched to Karachi. “Their focus is mostly on bank robberies,” Khan said. “They get training for this and bring fake documents with them. They try to get jobs with security firms in Karachi. As soon as they get a chance, they rob a bank.”
According to Khan, the group is linked to the Sipah-e-Mohammad Pakistan and different criminal gangs in Karachi. “The operatives come to Karachi for a short period,” he explained. “As soon as they generate a ‘smart amount’ they go back to Parachinar.”
SSP Khan said that the alleged militant also provided information about the group. A Kalashnikov and two hand grenades were recovered during the raid, as well as Rs230,000 which had been stolen from a bank.
According to Khan, the man confessed that half of the money stolen from banks was sent to his handlers in Parachinar.
He said that the group is involved in over 70 per cent of the bank robberies in Karachi.
During the initial course of interrogation, he also confessed to have robbed Rs7 million from the Askari Bank in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Pirabad branch of UBL Bank in Orangi Town. He also confessed to other criminal activities, including looting trucks and motorcycles.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.
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