Militants, facilitators behind shrine blast traced, CM told – Pakistan

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has constituted three different teams to catch the militants, their facilitators and those involved in carrying out reconnaissance for carrying out suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.

Sources said that the perpetrators of last Thursday’s blast that claimed the lives of over 88 people in Sehwan were traced from the call data records and the footage of CCTV cameras installed at the shrine.

Mr Shah formed the three committees at a high-level meeting he chaired late on Tuesday night. Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja, Principal Secretary to CM Naveed Kamran Baloch, Counter-Terrorism Department chief Sanaullah Abbasi, Brig Nadir Hussain of Rangers, Home Secret­ary Qazi Shahid Parvaiz and other senior officials were also present.

One of the three teams was sent to Punjab for arresting some people belonging to the banned Hizbut Tahrir who had been identified as “facilitators” of the man who blew himself up in the Qalandar’s shrine.

The second team was dispatched to Wadh and Jhal Magsi in Balochistan to trace some suspects who were in telephonic contact with those carrying out the attack.

The third team, of which the Rangers were also a part, was sent to Dadu, Shahdadkot, Jacobabad and Shikarpur for the arrest of those who took part in recce before the blast and had brought the suicide bomber to the shrine for carrying out the attack.

The sources said that the meeting was told that some 10 suspects were arrested in Dadu and Sehwan. Of them, six persons had been cleared after initial grilling and the remaining ones were being questioned.

The CM also constituted a high-powered committee led by the Rangers director general and comprising senior officials of police and other law-enforcement agencies to make security plans, hold regular meetings and share threat alerts.

This committee would have a subcommittee, which would keep the chief minister apprised about day-to-day activities.

He also asked all the agencies to investigate the blast separately and share their findings with each other.

Earlier, the chief minister was briefed about the suspected facilitators of the shrine attack who had been identified with the help of CCTV footage.

The chief minister was also informed that the investigators had obtained the record of the calls made from the shrine before and after the blast. The call record gave investigators solid clues to draw their conclusion.

Mr Shah was told that the police and security agencies in other provinces were cooperating with the investigators probing the shrine blast. “If we successfully worked out this case then we would be able to stop such incidents in future,” the CM told the meeting.

The CM also issued directives for ensuring the security of “soft targets”. He was informed that the police and other agencies deployed their people in plainclothes at important places, where CCTV coverage was also being improved.

He was also informed about the details of the operation launched in different districts of the province and the number of arrests made so far.

Zardari briefed

The chief minister on Wednesday called on former president Asif Ali Zardari and apprised him of the progress of the investigation into the blast.

He also briefed him about the measures being taken to reach the hideouts of the terrorists and their facilitators involved in the blast.

Mr Shah also discussed with his party chief about election affairs of the party organisation in Larkana and Sukkur.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2017

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