Karachi: Karsaz bombings suspect arrested
KARACHI: A former Jihadi leader was arrested by police for his alleged involvement in the October 18 Karsaz bombings but he had to be released during initial investigation of the case as no sufficient evidence could be found against him. Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a former Amir of Afghanistan-based Jihadi outfit Harkatul Jihadul Islami, was handed over to police remand on March 15. Prior to the end of police remand, Investigation Officer of the case DSP Nawaz Ranjha appeared before Administrative Judge of Anti Terrorism Courts in Karachi Justice Khawja Naveed Ahmed and submitted a police report under Section 497 (2) of Cr.PC, mentioning that no sufficient evidence was found against the suspect, therefore, he may be released since he could not be charged for the abovementioned offence. But, IO added, they had reasons for further inquiry in the case.
Saifullah, who once fought against Russian invasion of Afghanistan, was arrested from Lahore on February 26 following the publication of Benazir is book reconciliation: Islam, Democracy & the West.
The late PPP chairperson had mentioned Saifullahís name in her book, accusing him of being involved in suicide bombing to assassinate her at the PPP rally on October 18 in Karachi. She further alleged that he (Saifullah) had also tried to overthrow her second government in connivance with Army officials in the mid 90s.
Qariís counsel Hashmat Ali Habib, who also fought legal battle in superior courts for ascertaining the whereabouts of Qari Saifullah during his detention, said that Saifullah was falsely implicated by the police in Karsaz blasts merely on the publication of his name in late Benazir is book.
Giving details regarding Saifullahís arrest, he said he (Saifullah) was first illegally detained by intelligence agencies in Pakistan for three years without any charge following his extradition from United Arab Emirates in August 2004 on the request of Pakistani government, as it believed that he was also involved in masterminding twin suicide attacks on President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in December 2003.
After incarceration of almost three years, he said, Saifullah was arrested on February 26 and booked in connection with a suicide blast case in the limit of Gulberg police station (Lahore) but was acquitted due to lack of evidence.
The counsel said that Benazir had also named former chief minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former Intelligence Bureau chief Aijaz Shah and others as suspects but no action had so far been taken against them as they happen to be influential, but his client who had nothing to do with such offence had been implicated in the case.
Saifullah also served legal notice on the publisher, printer and sellers of Benazir is book, claiming US$200 million in damages for allegedly involving him in the Karsaz bombings of October 18 last year.