MANDI BAHAUDDIN - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar yesterday accused India of financing terror attacks in Pakistan, including the suicide bombing which killed Punjab home minister and 19 others in Pakistan last weekend.

He also accused India of shelling innocent civilians in villages along the line of control.

His comments are expected to further inflame tensions between the two countries just days before a meeting on Sunday of their top security advisers in New Delhi.

India is talking about peace but promoting terror, he told Pakistan Rangers at a passing-out parade at their Mandi Bahauddin academy

“Who is behind terrorist attacks (in Pakistan)? It is very clear to us. There are elements within us, who target innocent people for money they receive from our enemy… this is the same enemy who we come face to face (with) courageously at the Wagah border daily,” Online news agency reported.

“(Our enemy) talks of friendship on the one hand and on the other, it fires shells on civilians along the LoC and working boundaries. We have to win the war on terror at any costs,” he added.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in cross-border skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani troops at the line of control in the disputed Kashmir region since 1948. Both counties have been blaming each other for violation of ceasefire accords and now each are accusing the other of financing terrorism.

Pakistan’s security agencies are now closing in on those behind the Attock attack, he said.

“The Attock blast probe will take some more time but security agencies are closing in on the suspects. The culprits are on our target, we are just waiting for completion of the investigation and they will be brought to justice soon,” he said.

The intelligence agencies had warned Shuja Khanzada not to visit Shadi Khan, his ancestral village, amid fears of an attack. Village baithaks or gatherings are public in nature and Khanzada, like many politicians, had declined an offer of bodyguards, the interior minister said.

“Security information is meant to be discrete and our agencies are not trained in this regard,” Nisar said. But, he added that his government allocated Rs45 billion for civil security forces.

In reply to a question about the government’s conflict with the MQM, he denied claims that PML-N leaders were trying to persuade some figures in the Muttahidda Quami Movement to ditch their leader Altaf Hussain – the so-called “minus Altaf formula”.

2 terrorists held in

Khanzada case

Two key members of a terrorists network involved in the attack on late Col (r) Shuja Khanzada have been arrested from Faisalabad while a motorcycle has been seized from the Punjab Home Minister’s political office. The motorcycle bears no number plate.

On the other hand, the investigation team formed to probe the matter held a meeting while Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Assistant Director Shahzad Ahmed paid a visit to the site.

The investigation team, headed by Sargodha Regional Police Officer (RPO) Zulfiqar Hameed, will visit the attack site today (Thursday). A key meeting of the team was held at Attock Rest House, which discussed different significant aspects of the suicide blasts.

The meeting was attended by Sohala Police College Commandant Syed Mohsin Ali, Attock DCO Chaudhry Habeebullah, DPO Nadeem Hussain and other officials of FIA and Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).

Explosives expert Shahzad Ahmed visited the site after the meeting. He said that evidences have been collected and a report would soon be compiled.

Meanwhile, 13 elite police officers appointed for the security of slain Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada have been suspended over negligence. According to police sources, no police commando was present when the suicide blast took place at the minister’s political office in Attock district s Shadi Khan village.

Moreover, five people including a woman have been arrested during search operation in the area.

On Sunday, at least 19 people including Shuja Khanzada and Deputy Superintendent of (DSP) Hazro Police Shaukat Ali Shah were martyred when a pair of suicide bombers detonated their explosives.

Khanzada was a vocal public advocate of stringent action against the militants, and endorsed the government’s recent decision of bring back the death penalty for terrorism cases.

Last month, he had announced the killing of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq in a police encounter.

Provincial police chief Mushtaq Sukhera said the bombing was a reaction of a yearlong police crackdown against the terrorists, which Khanzada had been leading from the front.