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ISLAMABAD: Authorities have arrested 11 militants who were involved in the suicide bombing that killed five Chinese engineers in March in the north of the country which borders Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The announcement was made at a news conference held by counter-terrorism chief Rai Tahir along with Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi.

Tahir said a cellphone which the suicide bomber had been using to communicate with his local handlers led to the arrest of the suspects.

Interior minister forms committee to plan establishment of safe city project in Dasu-Chilas

The investigation and evidence show the militants had been taking instructions from TTP leaders in Afghanistan, he said.

Military had already said the attack was planned in Afghanistan and that the suicide bomber was also an Afghan national, a charge Kabul denies.

The TTP previously denied involvement and a spokesman said on Sunday that it had already explained its position on the attack.

“We have forensic evidence to prove that the TTP militants who were operating from Afghanistan are involved in it,” said Naqvi, the minister.

The minister said legal assistance will be sought from Kabul to arrest another three main members of the TTP who were directing the attacker and his facilitator from Afghanistan.

“We want Afghanistan to act against these terrorists. Either try them there or hand them over to us,” said the minister.—Reuters

APP adds: Federal Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi has said that Pakistan attaches high importance to its ties with China whether they are economic, political, diplomatic or security related.

He said that both countries support each other at different forums and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative was a big example in this regard. He said, “We are confirming it with evidence that during an attack on Chinese engineers in Besham, Afghanistan’s territory had been used and it was a matter of great concern for Pakistan.”

He said that such threats coming from across the borders make regional security more complex. The interior minister said that it was a planned attack and was operated from Afghanistan. He said Pakistan had raised this issue with Afghanistan’s Interim government and stressed them to control terrorists operating from there.

Naqvi said that Pakistan had beefed up its security at borders, adding that the government was well aware of the elements behind such incidents, which wanted to harm relations between Pakistan and China.

Support was being provided to TTP-like terrorists in border areas, he said and added: “we have a number of evidence in this regard”.

He said that Chinese security was very important and new standard operating procedures (SOPs) had been made in this regard and were being strictly implemented.

Mohsin said all possible measures were being taken to provide the best security to Chinese and Prime Minister’s visit to China during next month was also very important. He said that China’s cooperation for strengthening Pakistan’s economy was crucial. He said that in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the Counter-Terrorism Department was doing great work and they had developed themselves in very short span of time.

Mohsin Naqvi said that the Pakistan government had requested the interim Afghan government to arrest Bakhtiar Shah, Qari Asadullah and Khan Lala and especially TTP Ameer Noor Wali Mehsud, TTP Malakand Commander Azmatullah Mehsud and other senior leaders of the TTP.

He said that Pakistan wanted good ties with Afghanistan and it was possible when Afghanistan would support Pakistan and not allow its soil to be used against Pakistan.

National Counter-Terrorism Authority Coordinator Muhammad Tahir Rai gave detailed briefing about the investigation done related to Besham (Shangla) terrorist attack on March 26. He said entire incident was planned in Afghanistan and objective was to harm Pakistan and China relations.

He said that 11 accused namely Adil Shehbaz, Shafiq Qureshi, Zahid Qureshi, Nazeer Hussain, Faizullah, Fasihullah, Imran Swati, Sakha Ullah, Abdullah, Abdul Rehman and Kamal Khan had been arrested. The arrested accused were in police custody on physical remand.

He said that the arrested accused would face trial in local anti terrorism court where challans would be submitted after completing legal formalities. Tahir Rai said that remaining accused belonging to the network including Hazrat Bilal would be arrested soon.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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