Karachi: Before Muharram, 4 LeJ would-be attackers held
KARACHI: Four activists of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), believed to be involved in many sectarian attacks in the city during the past few months, have been arrested, police said on Tuesday. A huge quantity of explosives and some weapons, which they were planning to use during Muharram, were also seized. The four men were arrested by the Crime Investigation Department’s Anti–Extremism Cell under the supervision of SSP Mohammad Aslam Khan. “During our crackdown against target killers and extortionists, we conducted raids in Sohrab Goth and Manghopir, where following brief encounters, we arrested the four men,” the SSP said.
They were identified as Mohammad Asif Hussain alias Abdullah, Mohammad Yasin alias Yaaru, Hafiz Mohammad Mubarik alias Umer and Hazrat Ali alias Ali Murtaza.
While searching their hideouts, the police recovered 25kg of explosive material, four hand grenades, two Kalashnikovs, three TT pistols, a 9mm pistol and 10 feet of detonating wire. The arrested men were shifted to the investigation unit for interrogation.
Asif Chotu group
“The four men told the interrogators that they were affiliated with the LeJ Asif Chotu group. They were trained in guerrilla warfare in Waziristan under the supervision of their Ameer Asif Chotu,” the police official disclosed.
They further told the investigators that after their training, they were assigned to kill members of their rival sects and also generate funds for their organisation by committing robberies and kidnapping people for ransom.
“They were assigned Manghopir, Qasba Colony, Orangi Town, Old Golimar, Taimuria and other adjoining areas. During the past few weeks, they have killed 15 people belonging to other sects,” the SSP revealed. The police official said the four LeJ activists were experts in making bombs. “They were planning to use the explosives, found at their hideouts, to carry out bomb attacks at religious gatherings in the city during Muharram.”
Shaukat Afridi case
The LeJ men also confessed to kidnapping a NATO oil supplier, Shaukat Afridi, in May 2008. Mohammad Asif Hussain alias Abdullah had masterminded the kidnapping.
Afridi and two LeJ activists were killed in a blast at a house in Baldia Town, when the Crime Investigation Department had conducted a raid there to recover the transporter. Hussain was not present there at the time.
Out on bail
The SSP said the four men had committed more than 80 robberies at various houses and shops to generate funds for their organisation. They were earlier arrested in cases of police encounters and possession of weapons and presently out on bail.
Threat still looms
The police official said the threat of terrorist attacks in the city during Muharram had not been averted as a few of the arrested men’s associates were still at large.