Karachi: 5 Jundullah suspects held
KARACHI: The police on Tuesday claimed to have foiled a major terror plot by arresting five suspected Jundullah militants allegedly planning to carry out attacks on Ashura.
SSP Raja Khattab of the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA), during a press conference, said that the same militant group was responsible for the Chehlum bombing near the JPMC.
The police official said they had received reports suggesting that certain militant outfits had planned terror attacks during Muharram. He said they were investigating into the reports when they were tipped about the presence of Junduallah militants in the Artillery Maidan area.
The police subsequently raided their hideout and arrested the suspects after a brief shoot-out. Those held included Syed Kamran alias Waqar alias Bilal, Salaar Mohammed alias Khalid alias Danish, Amjad Khan alias Kargil alias Ahmed alias Shahjee, Farhan Khan alias Hussain and Muhammad Munir alias Azeem.
While the suspects were moved to the investigation unit, the police searched their hideout and recovered five pistols. More importantly, a hit list of religious scholars, prominent personalities and also a map of the Central Prison Karachi were found at the spot.
Khattab claimed that the suspects belonged to the banned Jundullah. They had planned on carrying out a terrorist attack during Ashura, he said, adding that the suspects were also involved in a terror attack on the City Courts.
Elaborating, Khattab said that on June 19, the detained suspects attacked the City Courts in broad daylight, killing Police Constable Loung Khan and aiding the escape of their accomplices Shakeeb Qureshi, Murtaza Inayat, Wazeer Mohammed, who were allegedly involved in the Ashura blast of 2009. However, one of the fleeing suspects, Murad Shah, had been killed in the shoot-out.
The suspects were also said to be involved in the Chelum blast that took place at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and a robbery of Rs8 million.
During interrogation, the suspects disclosed that they were trained in Waziristan and called to the city by their Karachi Ameer, Fasihur Rehman, who had rented a quarter for them in Artillery Maidan. They also stated that their leader had asked them to congregate at the Orangi Town Masjid, where a man revealed to them the plan for the Ashura attack.
SSP Khattab said that the Jundullah Karachi Ameer is the mastermind of the group and an expert at stuffing explosives into cement blocks, which are attached to remote cellular devices. Fasih, the SSP added, was also involved in the previous Muharram attacks that claimed several lives.
He added that the terrorist organisation was formed in 2003 and had no links with the Iran-based militant outfit of the same name. The pioneers of the organisation were past Jihadists, who were later commanded by Hamza Joofee alias Haji Mumtaz of Al-Qaeda. Khattab said that Joofee used them to provide funds for the outfit and future planning.
The group started its activities in Karachi in 2004 and in the initial stages consisted of around 19 people, all of them belonged to Shah Faisal Colony, Landhi, Korangi and Model Colony. The terrorists started targeting law enforcers and would generate funds by committing bank robberies.
The terror plots hatched by the outfit included an attack on the Gulistan-e-Jauhar police station and a botched attempt to detonate a hi-roof van laden with chemical explosives outside the US Consulate.
The attempt was thwarted after the explosives were discovered and subsequently diffused. They also allegedly bombed Sonu Nigham’s concert and launched a major attack on the convoy of the then corps commander Karachi.
Following this series of attacks, law enforcers had arrested 10 activists of Jundullah, while their remaining accomplices had fled to Waziristan and taken shelter in the Northern Areas. However, they returned to Karachi in 2007-08 and resumed their terrorist activities by robbing banks.
The militants are believed to have robbed around 10 banks and killed several police officers. The money looted from the bank was then transported to their Ameer Hamza Joofee, who used it to finance the organisation’s militant activities.
The Special Investigation Unit (now CIA) conducted another crackdown in which DSP Asghar Dehri and ASI Raja Tariq were killed during a shoot-out with the militants. However, the police managed to arrest five suspected Jundullah terrorists and three of their accomplices.
The remaining suspects fled again to Waziristan and sought shelter at Hamza Joofee’s camp, but were sent back to Karachi in 2009 on the orders of their new commander, Raza alias Hyder Bahi alias Shuja. After coming back to the city, these militants attacked AO Clinic Rangers personnel and carried out the Ashura bombing.
The leader of the Jundullah group, Hamza Joofee, and the new Ameer, Arif alias Raza alias Hyder Bahi alias Shuja, were both killed during a US drone strike in August, 2011, said SSP Khattab. The militant outfit is now being operated by Fasihur Rehman alias Hamad alias Adnan, who is being hunted by the CIA.
The SSP said the name of those killed in drone strikes included Hamza Joofee alias Haji Mumtaz of Al-Qaeda, Ghulam Mustafa alias Ansaar Bahi, Ajab Khan alias Zakir, Arif alias Raza alias Hyder Bahi alias Shuja, Abu Bakar alias Arsalan and Israfeel alias Jawed.
He added that some of the absconding members of Jundullah included Fasihur Rehman, Mehmood alias Talha, Saqib alias Shahab, Rasheed Khan Pathan, Shaqeeb Farooqi alias Faizan, Murtaza Inayat, Dilawar, Baba (Code name), Wazeer Mohammed alias Shakir and Ishaq Gul.