CTD arrests ‘four key TTP men’ involved in Besham attack

Terms arrests 'big headway', claims mastermind confessed to involvement in attack

Ahtesham Khan April 29, 2024
Chinese workers were targeted by a suicide bomber who rammed into their vehicle on a mountainous road near one of the dam sites. PHOTO: AFP


The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) claimed to have arrested on Monday four key operatives belonging to the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) involved in the Besham terror attack in which five Chinese nationals were killed last month.

On March 26, a vehicle-borne suicide bomber targeted a convoy escorting Chinese engineers in the remote Besham area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, killing six people, including the vehicle’s driver.

The Chinese engineers were en route their camp in Dasu – the district headquarters of the Upper Kohistan district of K-P - from Islamabad. Their vehicle was hit by an explosive-laden vehicle, coming from the opposite direction, near Lahore Nala on the Karakoram Highway.

According to a Chinese Embassy statement, a Chinese company’s bus, carrying staff working on the Dasu Hydropower Project, was hit by a terrorist attack at around 1pm. Malakand Deputy Inspector General Muhammad Ali Gandapur confirmed the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.

The Chinese engineers’ vehicle was thrown off the mountainous road into a deep ravine by the impact of the blast. The security forces reached the spot, shut the strategic highway for traffic on both sides and launched an investigation.

CTD arrests

Terming the arrests as a ‘big headway’, the CTD K-P spokesperson in a statement identified the suspects as mastermind Adil Shehbaz, and Muhammad Shafiq Qureshi, Zahid Qureshi and Nazeer Hussain. All hail from district Mansehra.

The spokesperson said that “terrorist Shehbaz has admitted to playing a pivotal role in the execution of the Besham attack”.

He said action against the militants was taken after a joint investigation team (JIT) unearthed the terrorist network in assistance with all law enforcement agencies.

TTP hand confirmed

A week after the attack, the CTD confirmed that the terror attack was backed by the TTP. The report submitted stated that the authorities have nabbed the main facilitator who brought the suicide bomber from Afghanistan. It added that the explosives-laden vehicle was brought through Chaman to DaraZinda town in Dera Ismail Khan district for Rs0.25 million.

The CTD sources also said that the vehicle used was non-customs paid and was parked at a petrol station for a fee of Rs500 per day. Two facilitators were also arrested from Balochistan.

The report added that the CTD arrested over a dozen militants and facilitators of the Dasu suicide attack. Multiple raids have also been carried out to arrest the reported mastermind of the attack, Hazrat Bilal, who is also wanted in prior attacks on Chinese engineers.

China demands probe

The Chinese embassy and consulates general in Pakistan strongly condemned the terrorist attack and urged Pakistani authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident and severely punish perpetrators.
In a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador Jiang Zaidong and other officials, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the interior minister assured them that the government would hold a high-level and swift probe into the attack and take the culprits and their facilitators to task.

PM orders investigation

PM Shehbaz instructed a thorough joint investigation into the Bisham terrorist attack, utilising all state resources.

The prime minister said, “Terrorism is a trans-national threat that has been instrumentalised by the enemies of Pakistan to stymie Pakistan’s progress and development. The acts targeting Pakistan-China friendship are particularly aimed at creating mistrust between the two iron brothers.”


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