Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), on Monday, shared its suspicious that a faction of the proscribed Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) is “regrouping” and activating their sleeper cell to carry out terrorist activities across the country.
The CTD also revealed that it has busted two other proscribed terror groups, whose members were actively involved in murdering police personnel and sectarian violence.
Al Qaeda Regrouping
Speaking to the press, CTD official Raja Umar Khattab, who leads the Transnational Terrorism Intelligence Group (TTIG), said, “We have received Intel that six ‘disgruntled’ militants of the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) have arrived in Karachi from Afghanistan, and they are attempting to activate their sleeper cell.”
The counterterrorism official said it is a faction of the AQIS that consists of members hailing from multiple communities belonging to Karachi and had moved to Afghanistan. He said that these ‘disgruntled’ militants had reportedly disagreed with the Al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan because they refused to use their ‘services’ for a significant period of time. Hence, they returned to Karachi to activate their sleeper cells and regroup.
Law enforcement agencies are undertaking concerted measures to eradicate this emerging faction of the AQIS. The CTD official expressed hope that this faction will be “neutralized” before it undertakes any terror attack across the country.
Target Killings in Karachi
Raja Umar Khattab, head of the CTD Transnational Terrorism Intelligence Group (TTIG), observed that aside from two or three cases, the instances of targeted killings in Karachi have witnessed a notable decrease.
He also admitted that the metropolis continues to struggle against the scourge of sectarian killings, and said, “Sectarian violence is largely tit-for-tat killings.” Khattab claimed that the joint efforts of law enforcement agencies have succeeded in eliminating two major groups, one led by the militants of Lashkar-e-Janghvi, and the other led by the proscribed Sipah-e-Mohammad Pakistan, both of which were involved in sectarian violence.
The counter-terrorism department has stated that six ‘disgruntled’ militants of the terror group, Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, have arrived in the port city from Afghanistan. The members currently aim to activate their sleeper cells in Karachi. https://t.co/g70CcmhzZ5
— Naya Daur Media (@nayadaurpk) October 15, 2019
Lashkar-e-Janghvi militant, Mohammad Mumtaz Alias Firaun had escaped from the Karachi central prison, alongside his accomplice Ahmed Khan alias Munna, in June 2017. M. Mumtaz was accused of being involved in target killings of 57 people, which included several policemen and members of the Shia community. He had been arrested in 2013 and booked in 32 cases.
Reports suggest that he returned to Karachi to continue sectarian violence after remaining in hiding for a while, and reportedly, his accomplice Munna is still residing in Afghanistan. Khattab said, “Besides being involved in Sectarian violence, this gang was also involved in the recent murders of police personnel in Orangi Town.”
The CTD carried out a joint operation with other law enforcement agencies in Balochistan, which led to the death of Firaun and many of his accomplices. Many of his accomplices were also arrested in Karachi. Khattab added that six suspected militants of the Sipah-e-Mohammad Pakistan were arrested in the aftermath of the March 22 attack on an affluent religious scholar, Mufti Taqi Usmani in Gulshan-e-Iqbal.
The CTD official stated that their money trail has also been traced, and it revealed that they were receiving funds and instructions from foreign handlers.