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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Thursday said the findings of investigations into the last month Dasu attack revealed that it was a suicide attack, planned and executed from Afghan soil with a close nexus of Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Speaking at a joint news conference along with the head of the probing team Deputy Inspector General, Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Javed Iqbal, the foreign minister said that it has been revealed, after thorough investigations, that Afghanistan’s NDS and Indian RAW were involved in the attack “as they are not digesting Chinese investments in Pakistan and growing economic cooperation between Pakistan and China.”

In the terrorist attack in Dasu on 14 July 2021, nine Chinese and three Pakistani nationals lost their lives.

One more Chinese national succumbed to his injuries later.

The two sides have condemned this attack in the strongest possible terms.

Qureshi said that as committed at the outset, the Pakistan authorities have conducted thorough investigations into the incident and shared the findings with the Chinese side at every stage.

Dasu attackers wanted to target Diamer Basha Dam first: FM Qureshi

“We can clearly see the nexus of Afghanistan’s NDS and India’s RAW in planning and execution of the attack,” he added.

He said that the investigation team examined all CCTV camera footages leading to the site of the crime and they found some body parts including a thumb and finger, from the spot of the suicide bomber and they were sent for forensic examination.

He said that more than 1,000 employees working at a nearby hydropower project were interrogated, and that it helped officials unearth the findings.

Sharing findings of the probe with the media, the foreign minister said that the network involved in the terrorist attack was supported and facilitated by RAW-NDS nexus in Afghanistan.

He said that the Swat chapter of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) executed the terrorist attack on behest of the hostile intelligence agencies (HIAs).

He said that the planning for the terrorist attack was done in Afghanistan, with provision of material support as well and the vehicle used in vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attack was brought from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

The findings further revealed that the suicide bomber, Khalid alias Sheikh, was trained in Afghanistan and brought to Pakistan to carry out the attack.

Qureshi said that some of those involved in the attack have been arrested, while others are at large in Afghanistan.

“An MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance) request is being made to the Afghanistan government…We both Pakistan and Afghanistan have a commitment that our soil would not be used against each other. In this sprit, we expect the government to cooperate with us the way we extended cooperation in the incident of Afghan envoy’s daughter,” he added. He said that further investigation is in progress to find all those involved in this cowardly attack.

“The government of Pakistan reiterates its strong commitment to apprehend all those responsible for this heinous crime and bring them to justice. We would not allow any hostile force to undermine the iron-clad friendship between Pakistan and China,” he asserted.

To a question about the Chinese government’s response about the probe, he said that in his recent visit to China for a strategic dialogue, the bus incident was also discussed in detail.

“China believes that Pakistan has conducted the probe transparently and they appear satisfied with what we have probed,” he stated, adding that both the countries shared an understanding that such incidents should not shatter their courage.

“The enemies will not succeed in their nefarious designs in harming the all-weather friendship between Pakistan and China. Both countries are unanimous to further strengthen their bilateral cooperation, after this incident,” he asserted.

He said that the two sides have decided that all CPEC projects will continue and be completed within the stipulated time.

To another question if East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) has any role in the attack, Qureshi said: “We don’t think ETIM was involved in this attack.”

To another query, the foreign minister said that the “spoilers” in and outside Afghanistan are trying to target Pakistan to divert attention from their failure in Afghanistan.

Speaking on the occasion, DG CTD, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Javed Iqbal said that initially the incident appeared to be a blind case during the investigation. He added that the evidence collected from the crime scene had led the investigators nowhere even after crosschecking of data from the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA).

He added that geo-fencing of the area was conducted and 12,000 cellphone numbers were analysed, while at least 90 people were interrogated but their detention did not prove helpful.

However, he added that the breakthrough came after the vehicle used in the crime was examined and a sticker of a car showroom was found pasted on its rear side. He said that the owner of the showroom named Hussain was found in Swat who confirmed to have received the vehicle in November 2020 from Chaman border.

Bus 'blast' near Dasu project kills at least 13, including 9 Chinese

The head of the investigation said that the first suspect helped investigators reach the second suspect named, Ayaz in Karachi, adding that the vehicle was handed over to the execution party on July 7.

He further revealed that an Afghanistan-based man namely, Tariq, who is a member of the TTP was identified as the key suspect.

He said that Tariq had taken the car carrying suicide bomber to the crime scene a day before the attack and returned from the spot after doing his job. He further said that suspects, including Ayaz and Hussain had been taken into custody, adding that their handlers including Tariq and Muavia were in Afghanistan and facilitated by the NDS and the RAW officials.

He pointed out that the planning had started seven to eight months ago and the suspects had been conducting recce of the area during the period. He said that the suicide bomber Khalid alias Sheikh is not a registered Pakistani citizen.

To a question, the official said that around 100-120 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.

He said that the entire network within Pakistan has been broken and their members arrested.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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