LEAs pick up three more suspected TTP militants

Policemen escort a suspected militant of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.—AFP/File


GUJRAT: Law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) have picked up three more suspected militants of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from Jhang and Faisalabad districts for their alleged involvement in terror-related cases in Gujrat.

Well-placed sources in the agency said fresh arrests had been made on the lead of two militants arrested a few weeks back by the Gujrat police. Both militants -- Afzal Fauji, the TTP’s Gujrat emir and his accomplice Ahmad Baba -- were killed in a ‘shootout’ with police on Friday last.

A senior security official said two suspects were captured from the Jhang district and third from Faisalabad.

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He did not disclose the identity of the three suspects as they had been handed over to a premier intelligence agency for further investigation.

He said though all the arrests of militants had been made by the Gujrat police in the last few months, they could not be properly grilled due to threats these militants hurled to their investigators.

A few of the senior police officials had earlier got themselves transferred from Gujrat after receiving threats from the arrested militants, he said.

Afzal Fauji, who had been killed in a ‘shootout’, had reportedly got killed those six policemen who were either involved in his arrest or his interrogation during the last three years.

Fauji had reportedly enjoyed telephonic contacts with his fellow militants outside the jail, he said.

He said the professional handling and proper investigation by officials of a premier intelligence agency had always helped in getting information about future plans of militants, their financers and facilitators in Gujrat and adjoining districts.

It is learnt that one of the militants arrested in Faisalabad is said to be an expert of making explosive devices.

The freshly arrested group in coordination with the previously arrested militants of Gujrat had planned to attack the Faisalabad police headquarters and Gujrat Police Lines, he said.

Another security official, requesting anonymity, said that higher authorities had been informed by LEAs about the alleged links of a ruling party’s lawmaker with the militant groups, but no action has so far been taken.

He said that arrested suspects had revealed during investigation about the political figure who had often acted as a facilitator and supportive to their activities.

The official said that Dr Aslam, one of the alleged financers of militants, had already been arrested and he was in the Gujrat jail.

He said the police were hunting another financer of militants in Gujrat who was also said to be a medical practitioner and whose name was not revealed purposefully.

The group of alleged militants has also revealed that they had planned to assassinate the senior leadership of a national stature belonging to Gujrat in the last general elections.

Three important members of the same TTP group, Shoaib Cheema of Faisalabad, Usman Fauji and Malik Zahid Hussain of Bhand Garan village of Kotla Arab Ali Khan, were also wanted for killing constable Sarfraz in Gujrat a few years back.

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