Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Lt Gen Bajwa said Al Qaeda sub-Continent and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi carried out major acts of terrorism in Karachi in collusion with the Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) Pakistan.
“Our conclusion is that all of the terrorist groups are trying to co-operate with each other in order to carry out terrorist attacks,” he told a news conference.
A network comprising 94 hardcore terrorists belonging to al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was busted, he said.
The men are accused of involvement in major attacks on Karachi airport, Kamra airbase, several regional intelligence headquarters, SSP Chaudhry Aslam, Hyderabad jail break attempt and on police installations between 2009 and 2015.
Al Qaeda leader Mussannah is the mastermind for the group’s operations in Karachi. He is number two to the leader who is present in Afghanistan, the DG ISPR said.
The LeJ‘s Naeem Bokhari and Sabir Khan, as well as Farooq Bhatti, deputy chief of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), were captured by Pakistani forces in recent raids, military spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa said.
Several of those arrested, including Bokhari, were in the advanced stages of planning a jailbreak attempt on the Hyderabad Central Jail, Bajwa said.
Khalid Omar Sheikh, who kidnapped and killed the Wall Street Journal‘s Daniel Pearl in 2002, is being held at that jail and was to be released during the raid, he said.
Bajwa said the perpetrators had prepared two explosive-laden vehicles which they were supposed to ram into the gate of the prison.
He added the plotters had a list of prisoners that they were supposed to kill after gaining access to the jail, while rescuing around 100 prisoners including Sheikh.
Six suicide bombers had been enlisted in the attack plan, in addition to 19 involved in facilitating it, Bajwa said. More than 350kg of explosives had been recovered from a building believed to be a hideout.
The perpetrators also had a list of 35 prisoners they wanted to kill, he said. A police constable who was abbetting these terrorists has been arrested.
Video images of the building showed blue plastic barrels filled with explosives, washing machines that had been used to transport arms and ammunition, long lengths of detonating cord and dozens of ball bearings.
“This plan was 90 per cent ready for execution,” Bajwa said.
Briefing on Karachi operation, the army spokesperson said there is significant decline in terrorism incidents in the city but more work needed to be done to eradicate violence and terrorism in the metropolis.
He said the Karachi operation was launched in September 2013 at a time when incidents of street crime, targeted killing and kidnapping for ransom were at their peak in the metropolis.
“Even people were being robbed in daylight on Shahra-e-Faisal,” he said.
During the operation, the army spokesperson said that Rangers personnel apprehended 12210 suspects in more than 7,000 raids, out of which 5989 people were handed over to police.
He said there is 69% decline in target killing, 85% in extortion, and incidents of kidnapping for ransom have reduced by 90%.
He said most of the terrorist sanctuaries in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have been eliminated, with the exception of a few pockets.
Lt Gen Asim Bajwa vowed that operation will continue till complete elimination of terrorists. He appealed the citizens to be aware of their surroundings “so as not to become a tool or accessory to these terror bids”.
The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily