ISLAMABAD - The Sindh police chief yesterday revealed before a Senate penal that the group of militants involved in Safoora carnage in Karachi wanted to bring 'Islamic Caliphate' in the country.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sindh Haider Jamali told the Senate Standing Committee on Interior that terrorists involved in deadly Safoora bus attack had connection with the Islamic State (IS). He said that the culprits involved in Safoora incident were highly qualified, some having Masters and PhD degrees in Islamic studies. They were influenced by the Caliphate philosophy of renowned scholar Dr Israr Ahmed.
Giving briefing to the committee that met under the chair of Senator Rehman Malik at the Parliament House, IGP Sindh said that culprits behind Safoora tragedy had formed their own terrorists group and remained consecutively associated with banned militant organisations, including Lashker-e-Jhangvi, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
Some months back, unknown terrorists had indiscriminately fired at the Shia Ismaeli community bus near Safoora in Karachi and as a result of which, a number of innocent people had died and many injured.
"There were 25 culprits involved in the incident and out of them 14 had been identified while eight arrested," IGP told the meeting, adding that the group during investigation had confessed to its involvement in 37 incidents of terrorism. He said that head of the group and main mastermind was Abdul Aziz who belonged to Kotri, Jamshoro and had fled to Syria. “The other mastermind in the group was Azhar Minhas who belonged to Jhelum, police chief added. Both originally belonged to Lashker-e-Jhangivi," he maintained, adding that they, during the last four to five years, were working for Al-Qaeda and later had joined IS or Daesh last year. He said the group was involved in terrorism incidents in interior Sindh and Karachi, including target killing, attack on US-based female and kidnapping for ransom incidents.
The Sindh police chief said that mastermind Abdul Aziz himself conducted recky for two months to accomplish Safoora incident and a number of Shias in the country were on the target of the group.
The meeting was told that the militants never used cellular phones and communicated through laptops. "We found six laptops from their possession, it took some time to decode them as a single email was communicated with 10 different names," Jamali informed the participants. He said that Sindh police succeeded to reach the culprits through two GSM locators given by the federal government.
IGP also said that Lashker-e-Jhangvi also killed former SP Karachi Chaudhry Aslam. While Senator Shahi Syed, a member of the committee, said that the son of Imam Masjid (prayer leader) of the locality killed the former SP. He deplored that terrorists used to take refuge in mosques.
Haider Jamali also told the committee that there was an 80 per cent decrease in terrorism-related incidents in interior Sindh and Karachi and 53 per cent in killing incidents. "186 accused of Lyari Gang had been killed in police encounters," he said. He said that 180 police officials had scarified their lives in terrorism incidents in Sindh. Total of 167 incidents of terrorism and 816 gang wars took place in Sindh this year. "PM and Chief of Army Staff has appreciated the Sindh police during apex committee meeting over its role in maintaining law and order in the province," he said. He said all law enforcement agencies, including Rangers and police were on the same page in Sindh to revive better law and order in the province and especially in Karachi. He sought 28 billion rupees from the government to meet deficiency of funds needed for Sindh Police. He said that 64,000 police personnel would be deployed in Sindh during Muharram.
Responding a question of Senator Mukhtiar Ahmed Damrah, IG said that the police had arrested some doctors and facilitators who were giving treatment to some injured Afghan nationals in hospitals of Karachi.
Home Secretary Sindh Mumtaz Somroo informed that 18 terrorists had been hanged in Sindh after the ban was lifted on hangings.
He said that a study was being conducted for police reforms under the supervision of IGP.
Rehman Malik remarked that IS was a bigger threat than Al-Qaeda. He rejected a proposal and said that it was improper to include Pakistan in the list of terrorist countries despite 6000 evidence. He asked UN to give up its dual policies.
Brigadier Amjad Basharat of ANF told the committee that the production of poppy in Pakistan had been almost eliminated after strong legislation that was 10,000 hectare in 2011. He said that 329kg heroine was confiscated in a raid in Rawat near Islamabad. The chair recommended that blood test prior to admission in educational institution should be made mandatory to detect any kind of addiction among students.
The chair summoned the entire provincial police chief in the next committee meeting for a briefing to get implemented previous recommendations of the committee on madrassa reforms, amendments in Pakistan Penal Code and proposed Cyber Crime Bill. The chair also showed its displeasure over the publication of an advertisement against the Rangers in Sindh and asked that the conspiracy must be unearthed. He formed a subcommittee that would look into the coordination on anti-terrorism efforts among all provinces, publications of advertisement against Sindh Rangers and the financial issues faced by Sindh Police.