CID attackers miss target

4 counter-terrorism officers were away from building

By Zia Ur Rehman and Javed Mahmood

2010-11-12

KARACHI – Four officers of the Sindh Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) who shattered the network of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other banned organisations in Karachi, were key targets of the November 11 bombing of the CID building but escaped injury, Central Asia Online has learned.

The deadly attack began as an armed assualt and ended with a truck bomb that killed at least 20 people and wounded about 100 others, including women and children. The police reportedly used the building to detain and interrogate suspects accused of belonging to TTP and other banned organisations.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Chaudry Aslam Khan, SSP Fayyaz Khan, SSP Omar Shahid and SP Mazhar Mashwani were the main targets, a CID official told the Central Asia Online.

That four-man team oversees the anti-extremism cell and runs counter-terrorism operations in the city. It arrested hundreds of key leaders of the TTP, Lashkar-e-Janghvi (LeJ) and other banned jihadi organisations in a massive crackdown in Karachi, the official added.

“At the time of attack, luckily the four officers were not present at the building,” said the official.

First four attackers' fates unknown

The four terrorists who entered the building before the blast might be dead, police officials said November 12.

“Four attackers penetrated the CID building by jumping over the wall a few minutes before the blast, and they exchanged bullets with the police,” Iftikhar Tarar, deputy inspector general of investigation in the CID of Karachi, told Central Asia Online.

“We believe that all the four attackers have also lost their lives in the bomb blast,” he said. “It would be premature to say anything about the attackers who remained outside the building.”

So far authorities know of nine policemen among the dead, he said.

He said the death toll could rise if rescue workers recover more bodies under the debris.

The initial investigation showed that ten attackers hit the building, Sindh inspector general of police Salahuddin Babar Khattak said. Investigators are tracing the culprits' identities, he added.

Counter-terror team had solid resume

The four-man CID counter-terrorist team had arrested six LeJ activists November 10. It linked the suspects to Asif Ramzi’s faction, which allegedly was involved in deadly attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas. The arrested suspects allegedly were planning sectarian killings in the city during the Islamic holy month of Muharram.

On the same day, Aslam Khan arrested Iqbal Bajauri, a militant leader from Bajaur Agency and a close aide of Maulana Faqir Muhammad, TTP’s central leader, from Minghophir.

In 2002, militants sent parcel bombs to some senior police officers, including then-Karachi police chief Tariq Jamil and Fayyaz Khan.

Fayyaz Khan was critically injured. Some credit him with arresting more than 100 high-profile terrorist suspects linked to the TTP and LeJ this year.

The CID has largely broken the TTP’s network in the city by arresting several consecutive amirs (heads) appointed for Karachi, including Akhter Zaman Mehsud and his successors, Bahadur Khan Momand (alias Sadiq) and Maulvi Saeed Anwer, a CID official said. The official said Aslam Khan and his team snatched them all.

The TTP swiftly took responsibility for the blast, saying it was meant to avenge “the arrest” of its comrades. However, Interior Minister Rehman Malik November 12 disputed that claim, saying the LeJ committed the bombing.

“By attacking the CID building, they want to give us a message that they are still alive and could strike back,” Shahid told Central Asia Online, adding that the CID will continue its anti-militant crackdown.

The militants raise funds through extortion, armed robberies and kidnappings and send the money to tribal areas where the TTP-linked militants plan terrorist acts, Shahid said. Dozens of arrests by the CID have disrupted militant fund-raising in the city, he added.

Some police sources theorise that the militants were trying to free Bajauri. However, he was not in the building.

CID attack harms civilians

Civilian casualties in the neighbourhood were numerous. A dozen houses in the nearby Civil Lines residential neighbourhood sustained damage, Moqeem Alam, a local MPA, told Central Asia Online. Most of the civilians injured were women and children, he said. Authorities have suspended gas, electricity and water service because of damage to pipelines.

Police, military and paramilitary contingents have closed off public access to the area. Authorities are searching the neighbourhood for any attackers who escaped.

“We were watching the news on TV when the firing started, then suddenly lights went out, and we heard a massive blast,” said Zarshad, a local resident who is hospitalised after a concrete slab hit him.

Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, accompanied by provincial Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza, visited the blast site to review the rescue and relief work. Shah gave assurances of the government's all-out support for the victims and said the government would keep fighting terrorism.

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Reader Comments

  • The worst influence in Pakistan are the ten million Afghani\'s with their ties to Afghanistan. There is bound to be some soft corner for their brothers back home . Quite a few of these brothers have got to be the Taliban . A lot of vice in Pakistan is promoted in the name of islam by these child molesting \" maulvi\'s\". These perverrts dont havea degree in religion infact they have no formal education apart from a few years spent in madrassas. and we allow these people into our homes nearour kids. Have we forgotten that madrassas are the breeding ground of all evil.

    September 19, 2011 @ 09:09:00PM gisele
  • Everybody talks a lot on terrorism, whereas it appears that they hardly understand the dynamics of terrorism. Unfortunately the misuse of Islam by so called muslims have provided the oppertunity to the Non-Muslims to propergate against all muslims of the world.To attack the government offices or personnals is to tell the masses that if the government is not safe from them how come the masses are safe so the masses should favour the terrorists. We the Muslims have LOST our way and allowed these paid terrorists of the above mentioned organizations to kill us as and when they want. SHAME ON MUSLIM UMMAH FOR ALLOWING THIS!!!!!!!!

    December 3, 2010 @ 10:12:00AM Mohyuddin Hassan
  • IS that Only a terririosm attack. Or some tried to realise specific purpose. To attack of CID Building. The People behind that kind of activities ususally have the criminal record. CID should trase out that kind of enmies and punished them.

    November 29, 2010 @ 02:11:00AM Farrukh Touheed
  • Government should launch an operation against all the banned jihadi organisations having headquarters in Punjab. Pakistan Muslim League\'s Punjab government itself is supporting financially the jihadi outfits like Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi by giving them money and moral support.

    November 24, 2010 @ 10:11:00AM Syed Mustafa
  • Rehman and Mehmood Very good and informative piece different splinter groups from the different jihadi outfits like LeJ, Jasih Muhmmand and Harkatul Mujahidin have joined the TTP in the city and now there targets are not only the sectarian killings but also the targeting the state officials and installation. Hats off to the above four officers of the CID who are fighting aginst the militants groups in the city.

    November 14, 2010 @ 03:11:00AM Basir Ahmed
  • Language font should be changed. It is difficult to read.

    November 13, 2010 @ 08:11:00AM syed Saqib
  • In the Name of Allah most beneficient ever merciful ALL PRAISE BE TO ALLAH LORD OF ALL THE WORLDS.

    November 13, 2010 @ 07:11:00AM Jon Ali