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LAHORE: In a major breakthrough after more than seven years, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab has claimed to have arrested an alleged facilitator involved in a suicide attack on late Punjab home minister Colonel Shuja Khanzada (retd).

On August 16, 2015, at least 14 people, including Khanzada, were killed as a suicide bomber blew himself up when the late home minister was attending a Jirga at his political office in Shadi Khan Village, Attock. Around 50-100 people were in attendance at the Jirga and many of them were buried underneath the wreckage as the entire structure had razed to the ground by the explosion.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the CTD Punjab said acting on a tip-off they carried out a secret operation with the assistance of a civil intelligence agency and arrested Abdullah Khan, the alleged facilitator of the bomber who assassinated Khanzada.

According to the spokesperson, Khan, who is a resident of Dadyal Tehsil of Mirpur district in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested from Kalar Sedan Road, Rawalpindi. During interrogation, the suspect confirmed his association with banned outfits Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), he said, adding that Abdullah was arrested when he was travelling to Islamabad from Rawalpindi to carry out a terrorist strike.

Without giving any detail, the CTD said the suspect was carrying “heavy explosives” when he was taken into custody. The spokesperson further said that Abdullah is the chief of a seminary named Ibrahimiya Siyakh in Afghanistan.

He disclosed that Red Book listed proclaimed offenders Masood-ul-Haq Siyakhvi and Ibrahim Siyakhvi, who are currently in Britain, are Abdullah’s father and brother-in-laws. The suspect confessed during the interrogation that he on the direction of his father-in-law provided shelter to bomber Hamza alias Qari Sohail at his residence.

The spokesperson added that the suspect also had provided shelter to Qaiser Mustafa alias Captain Noman, the mastermind of the attack, who was killed in an encounter in October, 2015. “Accused Abdullah Khan has had been providing assistance to many other militants and his seminary was being used to manufacture suicide jackets and store explosives in addition to shelter place for the anti-state elements,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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