Police arrested five alleged terrorists from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in a coordinated covert operation in Khanewal and Dera Ghazi Khan districts.
“The terrorists belonging to TTP’s Noor Gul group were arrested on an intelligence tip-off,” Multan police chief Aamer Zulfikar told reporters. The Noor Gul group has not been heard of previously.
The terrorists were identified as Abdullah, Younus, Aqib, Salman Arf Qadri and Muhammad Tahir. The police also seized hundreds of kilogrammes of ammunition and heavy weaponry.
Investigations revealed that the TTP men were planning major attacks on Shia processions on Ramazan 21 all over Punjab. They also planned to kill the leader of the Millat-e-Jafaria Sajid Naqvi, Multan Tahafuz Azadari Council President Asghar Naqvi, and medical store owners in Kabeerwala tehsil of Khanewal. The militants also planned to kidnap the son of a renowned businessman in Multan.
According to the police, the terrorists also confessed to participating in attacks on a PAF bus in Sargodha and the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. Training for these attacks was received in North Waziristan. Weapon installations, sketches and maps were recovered from the TTP militants, the police added.
The terrorists arrested in Dera Ghazi Khan district belonged to a rural area, Basti Shalani, which falls in the jurisdiction of Taunsa tehsil. The area is seen as a hub for TTP terrorists as 15 militants involved in terror attacks in the last three years belonged to this region.
Intelligence agencies and police have arrested the most wanted terrorists from these areas and they had direct links with local Islamic seminaries.
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.