Karachi: Oct 18 blasts suspect remanded in police custody
KARACHI: The administrative judge of the anti-terrorism courts in Karachi on Saturday remanded Qari Saifullah Akhtar in police custody till March 27 for allegedly masterminding the attacks on the homecoming procession of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto on Oct 18, 2007.
Qari Saifullah was arrested with his sons in Ferozwala near Lahore on Feb 26 and handed over to the Crime Investigation Department of Sindh by the Punjab government on March 14. He was produced before the court amid tight security.
Judge Khawaja Naveed Ahmed remanded the accused in police custody till March 27 for further investigations and directed the investigation officer to produce him on the next date of hearing.
The investigation officer told the court that police wanted to interrogate Qari Saifullah about the Oct 18 blasts. The police also produced the last book of the late Benazir Bhutto and said she had written in the book that Qari Saifullah had hatched a conspiracy in 1995 when her government was dissolved.
Ms Bhutto in the book had also named Qari Saifullah for being involved in the attacks on her homecoming procession in October in Karachi and described him as one of the militants who had been after her life.
He had reportedly been operating terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and was also allegedly linked with many terrorist attacks in the past.
Although Qari Saifullah’s link with the Oct 18 blast was yet to be established by the authorities, his earlier involvement in an unsuccessful coup plot of 1995 had presented him as one of the most deadly pro-Kashmir militants who, from the security establishment’s standpoint, had gone astray.
Qari Saifullah was stated to be the head of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, a banned religious outfit.
He was also a member of a group that was busted by the military intelligence at the time and the group included four military officers accused of plotting to first take over the army’s headquarters by killing top military commanders and then to dislodge the Benazir government.
The group, headed by Maj-Gen Zaheerul Islam Abbassi, with Brig Mustansir Billa, was formerly charged by the field court martial with conspiring to assassinate military commanders and Benazir Bhutto with the help of a group of pro-Kashmir militants. They were detained in the Attock Fort. However, Qari Saifullah was released later.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.