Khanzada attack in retaliation of LeJ chief's killing: sources

Punjab home minister is trapped under rubble following blast at his political office in Attock

Abdul Manan August 16, 2015
Rescuers gather at the site of a blast at Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada's political office in Attock on August 16, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: A preliminary report regarding the blast at Punjab Home Minister Col (r) Shuja Khanzada’s political office in Attock on Sunday suggested it was in retaliation for two major actions of Punjab Police in the province, sources told The Express Tribune.

The preliminary report which was presented to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif by law enforcement agencies and Punjab IG Mushtaq Sukhera suggested Khanzada was attacked in retaliation for the killing of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) chief Malik Ishaq.

"The attack on Punjab home minister is in reaction to the killing of LeJ chief and a senior al Qaeda commander for Punjab last month," a source said.

Read: Blast at Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada's political office in Attock kills 8

Malik Ishaq, the founder of LeJ, a banned militant outfit blamed for some of the bloodiest sectarian attacks in Pakistan, was killed along with 13 others — including his two sons — in a ‘gunfight with police’ on July 29. After Ishaq's death, Khanzada, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were put on high alert.

Further, following the encounter, PM Nawaz avoided visiting his Jati Umra Raiwind residence in Lahore. and Punjab CM restricted his movements as well.

“Punjab Police foiled a terrorist attack at provincial office of Intelligence Bureau at Zafar Ali Road, The Mall, Lahore,” the source said, explaining the second action which caused retaliation.

Read: Muzaffargarh gunfight: LeJ founder Malik Ishaq killed in ‘police encounter’

“The police raided terrorists' hideouts at Shahdra and killed al Qaeda linked terrorists in an encounter,” the source added.

Further, the source said the suicide attacker came from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as Attock is on the border of K-P and Punjab.

“Shahbaz was briefed that Police College in Sihala may be next target,” the source added. Further, the source said LeJ might kidnap senior police officers from Punjab particularly Rawalpindi.

Punjab Home Minister Col (r) Shuja Khanzada was trapped under the rubble and eight others were killed in a blast at his political office in Shadi Khan near Attock on Sunday.

Police said the blast appeared to be a large bomb, and it had caused the roof to cave in as Khanzada held meetings with supporters in his hometown of Attock. Khanzada is reportedly trapped under the rubble along with 24 other people as the entire structure of his office building collapsed.


US CENTCOM | 8 years ago | Reply As Pakistan intensifies its operations against terrorist’s outfits, the desperate enemy is hitting back. We saw a cowardly suicide attack that killed the Punjab interior minister along with several other government officials. Earlier this month the terrorists had attacked and killed a lower court judge in Islamabad and proudly claimed responsibility. The U.S. Mission in Pakistan strongly condemns the terrorist attack on Punjab Home Minister Col (r) Shuja Khanzada's offices in Attock and extends its deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of Sunday's violence. Such blatant disregard for human life is unacceptable and contrary to the aspirations of the Pakistani people for a secure, stable, and prosperous nation. The United States remains committed to the people of Pakistan and to the Pakistani government's efforts to fight terrorism. We support Pakistan's determination to bring to justice those behind the attack. State Department Spokesman John Kirby said US backs Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism. He said, “The attack is condemnable and the US would cooperate in the investigation if Islamabad seeks help.” Abdul Quddus
Zak | 8 years ago | Reply He was one of a few sensible politicians. He came from the army but he was truly a democrat at heart. Rest in Peace Sir !!
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