Safoora attackers wanted to set up ‘caliphate’ in Pakistan: IGP Jamali
The Sindh police chief said on Monday that the Islamic State group was active in the province and that the ultra-extremist Middle Eastern group had links with the banned sectarian militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).
Briefing a parliamentary panel on Monday, Inspector General of Police Ghulam Hyder Jamali shared details of the arrested suspects and their alleged involvement in terrorism, particularly the Safoora bus attack, which had left more than 40 members of the peaceful Ismaili community dead in Karachi on May 13.
“They [the suspects] wanted to set up a self-styled caliphate in Pakistan,” Jamali told the Senate Standing Committee on Interior. He said investigations into the Safoora carnage revealed that Abdul Aziz, the kingpin of the group, had escaped to Syria and was involved in almost all the recent terror attacks along with his lieutenant Azhar Minhas.
“These two most-wanted men are affiliated with the LeJ and are influenced by late Islamic scholar Dr Israr Ahmad’s philosophy of Islamic caliphate.”
Read: Would not allow even a shadow of Islamic State in Pakistan: army chief
The police chief said the two men were associated with al Qaeda for the past four to five years and with IS, also known by its Arabic acronym Da’ish, for the last one year.
He said the arrested Safoora attack suspects had confessed to carrying out at least 37 major terror attacks. Of the 14 suspects, eight have been arrested with the help of GSM locators, he added. “Aziz had started reconnaissance two months before the May 13 attack.”
The police chief said six laptops were confiscated from the suspects and the police took some time to decrypt the machines. “The suspects were not using mobile phones and kept in touch with each other through computers.”
He claimed that the same group was involved in the assassination of Karachi’s ‘super cop’ SP Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam. He also disclosed to the Senate body that Shia community members were on the hit list of Da’ish.
IGP Jamali said all intelligence agencies and security forces were on the same page to eradicate terrorism from Sindh, which had resulted in an 80% drop in terror attacks and a 53% decline in targeted killings. The Sindh police chief told the committee that his force required Rs28 billion to combat terrorism. The panel, headed by Senator Rehman Malik, unanimously recommended national awards for the slain officials of the Sindh police. The committee also recommended that more GSM locators be provided to the provincial police.
Read: ’Secret Islamic State document found in Pakistan’
The parliamentary panel was critical of the controversial advertisements published by the Sindh police in some Urdu- and Sindhi-language newspapers. The advertisements claimed that six men had been picked up by ‘unidentified Rangers personnel’ and had gone missing.
The Sindh police chief said the advertisements against those fighting terrorists were inappropriate. The committee directed IGP Jamali to expedite investigation into the case.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2015.