KARACHI: For the first time, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) released the images of the absconding suspects allegedly involved in the deadly attack on a bus belonging to the Ismaili community, seeking help from citizens in arresting them.
At least 45 people, including women and children, belonging to the Ismaili community were killed when around a half a dozen gunmen sprayed them with bullets in execution style inside a bus near Safoora Chowrangi in Sacchal on May 13 this year.
While five suspects, Tahir Hussain Minhas, Saad Aziz, Hafiz Nasir alias Yasir, Muhammad Azhar Ishrat and Asadur Rehman, are already in police custody for allegedly targeting the innocent people in the armed attack, CTD incharge Raja Omar Khattab shared the mugshots of the remaining eight suspects and the sketches of two with the media at his office on Wednesday.
Read: Safora massacre death toll rises to 45 as Ismaili community say their last goodbyes
While the names of the two were not disclosed, the eight suspects were identified as Ali Rehman alias Tony, Hafiz Muhammad Umer alias Haider Abbas, Hasan Masood alias Roshan, Muhammad Amir Khan alias Abbas, Irshadullah alias Niaz and Kamran Aslam alias Salman. The 'code names' of two other suspects were disclosed as Abdullah Mansoori and Dawood.
Addressing a press conference, Khattab said that the militants had plotted the attack two months before its execution, adding that Tahir was the mastermind of the attack. "They [militants] held seven meetings in different places before the assault and around 12 militants took part in the assault," explained Khattab. "Six of the attackers got into the bus, out of which, four opened fire on the passengers, one drove the bus while the sixth one was standing at the door of the vehicle." He said that the militants monitored the bus at least five times before attacking it. They prepared plan about the modus operandi of the attack and a route map for escape after committing the crime, he added. Talking about their attire, Khattab said that the attackers were wearing police uniforms, trousers and shirts and shalwar kameez. Four motorcycles, two cars, 9mm pistols and a Kalashnikov were also recovered from the possession of the suspects already arrested.
While the officials shared the complete details of the suspects, it was unclear how the police managed to arrest them. Khattab repeated that he and his team received some clues from the crime scene that helped them arrest the culprits. However, he did not reveal what the clues were.
Sabeen Mahmud case
Talking about Sabeen Mahmud, Khattab said that her killing was an individual act and that it was not the group's policy. "Saad Aziz had made a plan to kill Mahmud as he had attended Mahmud's sessions twice, in which she talked against the Lal Masjid and wearing burqa and in favour of organising Valentine's Day. That is why he decided to kill her," claimed Khattab. He added that four of his companions were with him when he targeted Mahmud.
Read: Attack on Ismaili Community: Sense of insecurity rising in Karachi, says JI Ameer
According to Khattab, the group has been involved in various attacks on the police in Karachi and Hyderabad. It attacked one of the biggest schools in Karachi by hurling a hand grenade and also attacked the Bohra community people and different imambargahs. Khattab said that the group was also involved in attempted murder of US national Debra Lobo. Moreover, the group was also involved in bank robberies for funds generation.
Khattab said that Tahir is the ringleader, belonged to alQaeda and used to operate from Karachi and Hyderabad, while Jalal alias Haji Sahib, who is a brother of Ramzi Yousuf, is the chief operational commander of the group and belonged to alQaeda’s Arab group. Haji is active in Karachi and Balochistan, and Balochis are in majority in his group. The group is involved in attacking NATO containers, kidnapping for ransom and other terror activities.
However, Tahir and Jalal separated their groups over monetary and some other internal disputes in 2014. “Tahir later made his own group without naming it but his group was inspired by Daish [ISIS],” explained Khattab. “However, Daesh [ISIS] did not approach them.”
According to Khattab, the JIT of the five suspects already arrested has been completed and the polygraph test also confirmed that they are speaking the truth. He further said that nothing could be said about this group’s connection with Indian spy agency RAW. The police also claim to have also obtained a hit list of the group that contains the names of media persons, fashion designers, NGOs and officials and personnel of government organisations.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.
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