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Key suspect in Sehwan suicide blast arrested

Key suspect in Sehwan suicide blast arrested

KARACHI: A key suspect of the Feb 16 suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan Sharif was arrested in Kara­chi on Friday and remanded in police custody by an antiterrorism court.

Eighty-two people were killed and 383 others wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the packed-to-capacity courtyard of the shrine of the Sufi saint.

The suspect, Nadir Ali Jakhrani alias Murshid, was arrested by the Counter-Terrorism Depar­tment and Rangers in the Manghopir area when he had just arrived there from Balochistan, said CTD DIG Amir Farooqi while speaking at a press conference and later talking to Dawn.

He said that those who had planned and carried out the bombing were associated with the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

The DIG said Nadir, 27, hailed from Saeed Khan Jakhrani village in Kashmore district. He is a former member of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) who later joined the IS.

He said that according to initial interrogation jointly conducted by officials of police, Rangers and other security agencies, the arrested suspect had identified the suicide bomber as Babar Brohi, a resident of Balochistan’s Mastung district.

The DIG told Dawn that Nadir informed the interrogators that he along with his accomplices — Ghulam Mustafa alias Doctor, Saifullah, Babar Brohi (suicide bomber), Aijaz Bangulzai, Tanveer, Farooq Bangulzai and Zulqarnain — made plans for the bombing in Dera Murad Jamali. He said he led the group because he was familiar with areas of Sehwan Sharif.

According to the DIG, Nadir told the interrogators that he and Saifullah had taken Babar from Kashmore to Sehwan Sharif through public transport. They first got a house on rent near the shrine and started getting information about timing of activities at the shrine.

CTD says the arrested man is associated with IS; police get five-day remand

The DIG said Nadir told the interrogators that members of his group used Threema — a mobile massaging application — for communication. He said that a day before the bombing he received a message from Ghulam Mustafa and they met at the city’s Jahaz Chowk at 10pm to finalise the plan for the bombing. On Feb 16, according to Nadir, he gave a suicide jacket to Babar and he along with Saifullah took him to the shrine and helped him enter it when there was no electricity in the area. Nadir said that according to the plan, he and Saifullah left Babar inside the shrine and went to Jahaz Chowk where Ghulam Mustafa was waiting for them in a car. He said that a few minutes later they heard the sound of a blast. Later on, he added, they went to the house of Saifullah in Rojhan Mazari, Punjab.

The CTD claimed to have seized arms and ammunition and explosives material from Nadir’s possession.

According to the DIG, Nadir told the interrogators that Ghulam Mustafa alias Doctor was the mastermind of the shrine suicide bombing. Ghulam Mustafa was later killed in an operation launched by security forces in Mastung.

Hailing from Abdullah village of Rojhan Mazari in Punjab, Ghulam Mustafa was said to be a close relative of Lal Mosque cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz. He once worked for the LJ and the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and later joined the IS. Nadir told the interrogators that Ghulam Mustafa was in-charge of IS activities in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab.

DIG Farooqi told Dawn that Dera Murad Jamali in Balochistan and Rojhan Mazari in Punjab had been spotted as centres of the IS in Pakistan where mostly former members of the LJ were working for the terror activities of the group.

The arrested suspect told the interrogators that members of his group wanted to attack the shrine because they considered activities at the shrine Bidat and Kufur.

The DIG said the arrested suspect belonged to a religious family which had links with a mainstream religious party.

Meanwhile, talking to Dawn, Additional IG of CTD Dr Sanaullah Abbasi termed the arrest of Nadir a major success in the Sehwan bombing case.

He said officials of different security agencies led by Rangers DG Maj Gen Mohammad Saeed had been working for months for the arrest of suspects involved in attacks on shrines and other places.

Ishaq Tanoli adds: The administrative judge of an antiterrorism court on Friday remanded Nadir Ali Jakhrani in two cases.

The CTD produced Nadir before the court and submitted that the suspect was arrested in Karachi’s Manghopir area.

The CTD maintained that two hand-grenades and an unlicensed weapon were found in his possession, adding that the suspect had allegedly provided shelter at his Khandkot house to the suicide bomber who later blew himself up at the Sehwan shrine.

The administrative judge handed the suspect over to the CTD for questioning on a five-day physical remand.

The CTD booked the suspect under section 4/5 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and Section 23(1)(a) of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013, read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017

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