KARACHI - Police here on Friday claimed to have arrested five alleged militants who had facilitated the attack on Chinese Consulate in Karachi in November last year.
Police claimed that the accused arrested were associated with Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and they were identified as Abdul Latif, Hasnain Qayyum, Arif alias Nadir, Hashim alias Aleem and Aslam Mugheri.
The arrests were made in a joint operation with the intelligence agencies in Malir locality. The law enforcers said they had also recovered three hand grenades, three Kalashnikov rifles, two TT pistols, two rocket launchers, one-and-a-half kilogramme of explosives and hundreds of rounds from their possession.
Two policemen and two visa applicants – a man and his son who had come from Quetta – had lost their lives while a security guard was wounded when three attackers stormed the Chinese consulate in Karachi on Nov 23.
Karachi Police chief Dr Amir Sheikh told a press conference that the plan of the consulate attack was made in Afghanistan while India’s spy agency RAW provided funds and logistics support.
He said that a senior BLA commander named Aslam Achu was the mastermind of the attack who was later reportedly killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan in December last year. He added that one of the arrested suspects, Arif, is a resident of Karachi and a closed relative of Acchu.
Dr Amir said the BLA had claimed the responsibility of the attack through a micro-blogging website three minutes after the attack. A senior BLA commander Bashir Zaib is now running the BLA operations, he added.
“The [arrested] facilitators used to stay at different hotels in Preedy and Lyari neighbourhoods but they spent the night preceding the attack at Arif’s residence in Baldia Town,” he explained. Arif is wanted to the police in a murder and some terrorism cases in Quetta as well, he added.
The officer further said that the police had got crucial evidence during series of raids in Balochistan and Sindh, adding that some other facilitators in Sindh and Balochistan provided them the logistic support, arms and ammunition for the attack.
He said, “The terrorists brought the arms and ammunitions for the attack from Balochistan through train and kept it at Arif’s residence... We are [therefore] going to write to the railway authorities to enhance the security arrangements.”
The terrorists reached the Karachi city using fake CNICs and a letter was also being written to the Nadra for making their system foolproof, he said.
Dr Amir said the terrorists would use different vehicles for commuting in Karachi and they conducted recce of the consulate for four months, from August to November, before the attack.
He further said that the terrorists Abdul Latif and Hasnain did the fieldwork as they would visit the visa section of the consulate for it. They were aware of the activities and routines at the visa section and therefore the attackers attempted to enter the compound through the visa section, he added.
The attackers [apparently] wanted to hold the Chinese Consulate staff hostage as they had provisions for a prolonged show, said the officer. “They continued to attempt to enter the consulate for at least 50 minutes but failed and the security forces killed them all.”
“The motive behind the attack was to create a rift between Pakistan and China as well as to sabotage the China Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Amir Sheikh asserted. He said that the attack at the consulate was carried out when the international events were being held in the city.
The city police chief said that investigation of other terrorism cases in Karachi was also underway. He said they had achieved significant success in Quaidabad bombing probe.
To a question, Dr Amir said police was investigating the targeted killing of senior political leader Ali Raza Abidi from different angles and it would be premature to say anything about the results.
Sindh IGP Dr Syed Kaleem Imam lauded the efforts of the police party which traced out and arrested the BLA operatives and announced Rs2 million as reward for them.
Police arrest five BLA men
involved in Consulate attack