Islamabad: Six arrests saved twin cities from major disaster, says Malik
ISLAMABAD: Law enforcement agencies averted a “major disaster” in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, arresting six suspected terrorists including three would-be suicide bombers, Interior Affairs Adviser Rehman Malik told a press conference at the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) headquarters on Tuesday.
Three vehicles – two 4X4 vehicles each carrying 400 kilogrammes of explosives and a saloon car carrying 200 kg of explosives – were also seized in the action that followed information by an intelligence agency, he said. “We unearthed a local network of terrorists in a pre-emptive action,” Malik said. “The vehicles were brought from the Frontier area.” One of the arrested men was involved in two previous terrorist attacks, he said – one in Aabpara Market and the other at the F-8 Markaz.
“All the arrests were made on the same day after the authorities declared red alert in the twin cities,” Malik said, adding that the government did not know the intended targets. He said he could not rule out the involvement of “foreign hands” in the attack on the Danish embassy last week. “Some foreign elements are active in the country,” he said, adding that the chassis number of the vehicle used in the attack had been tampered with.
FIA Director General Tariq Pervez said questioning of the suspects was in the initial stage and the FIA could not issue a conclusive statement until the investigation was complete. He identified the arrested men as Intikhab Ahmad Abbasi alias Abdul Mannan from Murree, Muhammad Kabir alias Yasir from Abbotabad, and Zafar Ali alias Abdullah from Kohat, and would-be suicide bombers Abid Khan from Tank, Qamar Zaman from DI Khan and Muhammad Ishaq alias Kamran from Tank.
The explosives and material seized were the same as those used in the Pakistan Air Force Base Sargodha and General Post Office Lahore attacks, he said, adding that the size of the ball bearings being used was also the same.
Regarding the timing of the arrests coinciding with the lawyers’ long march, Malik said the government would facilitate the rally they had planned in Islamabad rather than stopping it. Peace deal He denied making a statement that the Swat peace deal had been scrapped, saying he was only referring to the continued violence by militants. The FIA director general said there had been 16 suicide attacks in the settled areas of Pakistan in 2008 so far, compared with only nine in 2007.