LAHORE - Initial findings of security agencies suggest that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami (LeJ-A) is behind the attack on a religious gathering in provincial capital of Sindh.

Four family members were killed when unidentified assailants opened fire at a religious gathering in Karachi’s Nazimabad area.

Sources in intelligence agencies familiar with the probe told The Nation yesterday that the initial findings point towards Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami led by Safdar Shah from Afghanistan.

Safdar Shah, who uses several alias names including Yousuf, Huzaifa, Khorasani, Muavyia, Ali, Shah Jee and Zeeshan, carries Rs 5 million head money and wanted by the Rangers and other security agencies of Sindh, is behind the hit on the religious gathering according to initial probe, disclosed the intelligence agencies sources. Safdar is ethnically Pashtun and a resident of Patel Para in Karachi.

The footprints of Shah Jee group’s sleeper units have been found in Hyderabad, Dherki, Sehwan Sharif, Larkana (Sindh) and parts of Balochistan borders with Afghanistan. More than three important members of his sleeper cells have been killed in Hyderabad and Sehwan, while some of them captured by the security agencies, they added.

The LeJ-A was formed by Usman Punjabi and Sabir Mehsud in North Waziristan after the killing of Baitullah Mehsud the founding head of outlawed TTP.

Usman Punjabi and Sabir Mehsud were killed by Abidullah Mansoor, a mid-ranking commander of TTP under Hakeemullah Mehsud who wanted to take over LeJ-A to gain importance in the TTP and to become a member of umbrella of terror consortium.

Abidullah Mansoor was later killed on the instructions of TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud because Mansoor invited too much trouble for the terror gang by making hostage Brigadier (r) Amirullah Tarar aka Colonel Imam an ex-spymaster and later assassinating him, disclosed the intelligence agencies sources quoting the revelations of a captured member of the group from North Waziristan during military operation.

LeJ-A which is an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi founded by infamous Riaz Basra, Malik Ishaq and Akram Lahori in 1996, mainly focuses on targets of opposite sect, law enforcing and security agencies.

Safdar Shah, according to the revelations of one of LeJ-A captured member, met with Al-Qaeda South Asia leadership in Paktia province of Afghanistan in the mid of 2015 to get their assistance to advance his terror bids. In another such meeting with Mullah Fazlullah gang he met with TTP on the run commanders in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces of Afghanistan, disclosed the intelligence agencies sources.

LeJ-A chief who was not been given much importance either by Al-Qaeda and TTP leadership, finally set up his operational bases on Pak-Afghan border with Balochistan with the assistance of Indian RAW and Afghan NDS.

The group has so far been found involved in small hit and run terror operations but making bids to expand its operational strength to register itself in the list of top terrorist gangs, informed the intelligence agencies sources quoting the revelations of the captured member of LeJ-A.

There are more than one dozen terror groups, part of TTP and its splinters operating under the patronage of RAW-NDS nexus from Afghan provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Nangarhar, Kunar, Paktia, Paktika and Nooristan, said the intelligence agencies sources.