The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Sindh police on Monday claimed to have arrested three suspects with links to banned outfits, two of whom were said to be “highly educated”.
One of the detained men had remained a faculty member at a public university in Dera Ismail Khan while another had graduated from a ‘prestigious’ institute in Karachi. The third suspect is a religious scholar who provides online courses of the Holy Quran, revealed CTD SSP Junaid Ahmed Shaikh.
The varsity teacher had been allegedly involved in deadly attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan, security forces in Pakistan and sectarian violence in the past, the senior officer added.
The three suspects, named Shahsawar, Mujeeb Rehman and Khalid Pervez, were arrested during raids conducted by the CTD in Karachi’s Sultanabad and Jubilee areas. The police also seized donation chits from them, said SSP Shaikh.
The men used to collect donations from different parts of the city for their respective outfits during Ramazan, the senior officer claimed.
Detained suspect Mujeeb Rehman, who is allegedly affiliated with the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ), was arrested by the CTD in the recent past as well but started working for the sectarian outfit again after being released from jail. Besides collecting donations, he was also responsible for recruiting youngsters.
The second suspect, Khalid Pervez, is an IT expert who worked in a private firm in Karachi and had obtained an MBA degree from a renowned institute. He was affiliated with the militant Islamic State group.
Meanwhile, Shahsawar was a faculty member at a government varsity in Dera Ismail Khan, the officer claimed. He was allegedly an “important” member of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The suspect along with his accomplices had targeted Nato forces, causing “significant losses” to their troops in Afghanistan, Shaikh claimed. Several of Shahsawar’s accomplices were killed in Afghanistan.
He had also remained a member of the ‘shura’ (consultation body) of TTP, the CTD officer disclosed.
Shahsawar had done his MA from a university in Dera Ismail Khan, Additional IG CTD Dr Sanaullah Abbasi told Dawn.
He hailed from South Waziristan and had joined TTP on an invitation of slain TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud, the CTD chief revealed.
He told interrogators that after Mehsud’s killing, differences erupted within the TTP over leadership between Wali Rehman and Hakeemullah in 2009 and in the meantime, the militant group also attacked security forces due to which Shahsawar along with his family members shifted to Karachi.
In 2013, Shahsawar again travelled to Waziristan from where he joined others and went to Afghanistan, where they attacked Nato camps and check posts. However, around 25 militants were killed in one of the retaliatory aerial attacks. Fearing for his life, Shahsawar returned to Pakistan in 2015.
He told interrogators that they had also attacked security forces in South Waziristan. Besides, Shahsawar was also involved in sectarian violence in Alizai area of Kurram Agency in December 2007.
The second suspected militant, Mujeeb Rehman, hails from Balakot. He came to Karachi in 2001 and started studying at seminaries and completed a course to become a religious scholar in 2008. Later, Rehman opened his own seminary in the city and joined LJ on the persuasion of his acquaintances who belonged to his native village in Balakot.
Rehman told CTD investigators that he also teaches an online Quran course and earned around Rs18,000 monthly.
The third suspect, Khalid Pervez, told investigators that he worked in a private firm’s IT department which had a workforce of around 30-35 people.
He told interrogators that he became friends with a man named Irfan Ahmed Zubairi and also attended gatherings of a preaching party. Both of them later joined IS, revealed SSP Shaikh.
Irfan Ahmed is now an “important” activist of IS who currently lives in Afghanistan, the senior officer added.
Pervez allegedly helped IS with IT-related matters, claimed the officer.
“These militancy activities had taken place in the recent past and now the situation is comparatively better so far,” observed Abbasi, the CTD Sindh chief.