ISLAMABAD: In new developments, the police have arrested three women in connection with an alleged terrorist plot that involved a potential aerial attack using remote-controlled planes.
However, security agencies have had no success in tracking down one of the two suspects identified earlier.
The police and an intelligence agency had arrested one suspect and seized a large quantity of weapons including four remote-controlled planes filled with explosives during a joint raid in the early hours of Saturday.
According to the police, the raid was conducted at a house in Khayaban-e-Kashmir in Sector G-15/1 on a tip-off.
One suspect, Muhammad Shoaib, was arrested from the house while another suspect, Irthighazun Nabi Gillani, escaped after opening fire on the raiding party, according to the First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Tarnol police.
A Tarnol police official said there was no information on the suspect even after a day had passed but that the police were looking for him.
Preliminary investigations suggest the accused may have links to al Qaeda andTehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, police sources said.
Sources claimed the suspects had filled the remote-controlled fibre planes with explosives which could have been used to attack sensitive installations in Islamabad from a distance.
They speculated that the planes could have been a ploy to distract the police through a small aerial assault in a multi-pronged terrorist attack on the capital’s high security Red Zone.
The Tarnol police have not booked the suspects on terrorism charges yet. In the FIR, the police charged Shoaib and Gillani with attempted murder and for carrying arms and explosives. The police officer said the police are investigating to see if the terrorism charge applies in this case.
The police presented Shoaib before a local court on Saturday and took him in on a three-day physical remand.
According to the FIR, after Shoaib was arrested, he pointed the police to a blue plastic drum hidden under the ground inside the house. From the drum, the police recovered six semi-automatic guns, one repeater gun, two 9mm pistols, one 22-bore pistol, 16 electric detonators, nine grenades and several rounds of ammunition.
The police also seized around six kilogrammes of explosives, spy equipment and a wireless set. The Bomb Disposal Squad defused the explosives filled in the toy planes.
This was the fourth incident involving an alleged terrorist attack in the capital since Eidul Fitr in August.
On Eid day, a suicide bomber had managed to enter a Shia mosque in Bhara Kahu but was gunned down after his suicide vest malfunctioned. A security guard died during the incident. Investigations into the case and interrogations with arrested suspects have revealed the plot was hatched at a house in Bhara Kahu and involved people from Kurram Agency and Afghanistan. The plot’s mastermind is still on the run.
A week after the Bhara Kahu incident, the police had to negotiate for almost six hours with an armed man who blocked a section of Jinnah Avenue, a couple of kilometres away from the Red Zone. The gunman, identified as Sikandar, reportedly had links with a local militant outfit and a foreign spy agency.
The police also seized an explosives-laden car from Simly Dam Road in Phulgran, again near Bhara Kahu, on August 31. The police had claimed the car was wired with 170kg of TNT, ready to be blown up with a remote control, and could have been used for a car bombing in Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2013.