Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing into the abduction of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani’s son has foiled a plot of suicide attack on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Some officials privy to the development told The Express Tribune that during an investigation to find out Ali Haider Gilani, the team not only traced a North Waziristan-based militant group operating in Lahore, but also discovered a plot to target Nawaz Sharif at his residence in Raiwind. The report issued by the office of Punjab Inspector General of Police revealed that during investigations a lead surfaced through technical monitoring about a plan to carry out terrorism somewhere in Lahore.
Afterwards an operation was conducted in Lahore to break the suspected terrorist network. This operation resulted in reaching to a terrorist group affiliated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan North Waziristan-based commanders Matiur Rehman and Muhammad Yasin alias Aslam.
Both Matiur Rehman and Yasin were involved in suicide attacks on former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Inter Services Investigation (ISI) Hamza Camp, General Headquarters (GHQ) check post and some other terrorist activities.
The names of both the militants are mentioned in the 16th edition of Red BooK-2013 prepared by the Counter Terrorism Department at page No3 & Page No11 respectively and the government has fixed an amount of Rs3 million on their heads.
The report further stated that the said group comprises two sub groups. One of the groups consists of Jaffar, Abdullah, Asad (all based in Bannu and surrounding areas); whereas the other group is linked with North Waziristan/Bannu based groups operating in Lahore.
A suspect, Faheem Meo, a resident of Raiwind, was found as linked with the terrorist group in Lahore. It emerged that militants were communicating primarily through the PCOs with minimal use of cell phones. The suspected terrorists were conducting the activities from within the premises of the headquarters of Tableeghi Jamaat in Raiwind, which made it virtually impossible for the team to track them down.
The team stayed in Raiwind for nearly a week and finally apprehended Faheem Meo, who informed about the location of another terrorist directly linked with Bannu/NWA based miscreants. The other terrorist was arrested and identified as Usman alias Saifullah Mehmood Iqbal, resident of Pajiaan, Raiwind.
It is important to note that Usman owns land adjacent to the house of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The team learnt through technical monitoring that the NWA-Bannu based terrorist had sent a group of 4-5 suicide bombers to Raiwind.
The team then intercepted 4-5 buses carrying Tableeghi missions from Bannu and arrested four alleged suicide attackers of Miran Shah, North Waziristan.
Moreover, names of 3 suspects of Lahore-based group also emerged. Two of them used codenames Tayyab and Talha; whereas one was identified as Javed alias Sufi, resident of Lahore. The team is making efforts to locate and apprehend these terrorists, who are presently at large. The suspects in custody have been handed over to security agencies.
It is important to note that arms cache which was to be used by the terrorists has not been recovered so far. Therefore, the threat still remains.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.