Source: Photo, Jang, 29 May 2010
Identity of Lahore attackers uncovered
Upadated on: 30 May 10 01:01 PM
LAHORE: Punjab police said on Saturday that terrorists involved in the attacks on the worship places of Ahmadis in the city belonged to banned outfit Tehrik-e-Taliban and they had been trained in Miranshah, Waziristan.
Spokesman of Punjab police Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Akram Naeem told media the names of terrorists as Darvesh, Mansoor, Abdullah and Muaaz.
He said Abdullah and Muaaz attacked Modal Town while, Darvesh and Mansoor targeted people in Garhi Shahu.
DIG told journalists that Abdullah, terrorist, who belonged to Rahimyar Khan had got training from Muneeb, terrorist, in Miranshah.
Before the attacks, four terrorists had met in a proselytizing center in Raiwind, he added.
He stated that held terrorist Abdullah revealed valuable information that will help arrest other members of the network very soon
The terrorists have been identified as 26-year old Darvesh hailed from Swat, 17-year Abdullah alias Mohammad hailed from Rahimyar khan, 20-year Saraiki Muaaz, 22-year Mansoor hailed from Saraiki belt of the Punjab.
Four Kalashnikovs, 16 hand grenades have been recovered from the custody of terrorists, said security forces.
During the attack culprits had kept with them chocolates, juices, biscuits and small bottles of water, said police.
AGENCIES ADD: Police on Saturday blamed the Pakistani Taliban for attacks that killed 93 people at two mosques belonging to a minority sect, and said the militants involved had trained in an Afghan border region where the US wants Islamabad to mount an army operation.
The attacks against the Ahmadi community occurred minutes apart on Friday in two neighbourhoods in the eastern city of Lahore.
Two teams of gunmen, including some in suicide vests, stormed the mosques and sprayed bullets at worshippers while holding off police.
At least two of the seven attackers were captured, while some died in the standoff.
Local TV channels had been reporting that the Pakistani Taliban, or one of their affiliates, had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Senior police officer Akram Naeem in Lahore said their interrogation of one of the arrested suspects revealed that the group was involved with the Pakistani Taliban, which has staged attacks across the country for years.
The 17-year-old suspect told police that the men had trained in the North Waziristan trial region.
“Our initial investigation has found that they all belong to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan,” the Pakistani Taliban movement, Naeem said.
He said the suspect “Abdullah alias Mohammad, was given terrorism training in Miran Shah” – the main city in North Waziristan tribal region.
North Waziristan has long been filled with militant groups focused on battling US and NATO forces across the border in Afghanistan.
But as the army has mounted operations against the Pakistani Taliban elsewhere in the lawless tribal belt, many in the group, which has focused on attacking Pakistan, have since set up shop in North Waziristan.
That has given the US more ammunition to pressure Islamabad to launch an operation there, whereas in the past Pakistani officials had tried to avoid taking on the web of militants in that northwest region.
Akram would not rule out the possibility that Punjab province-based militant groups played a role as well, but would not mention any specific groups.
The toll taken by the killers, who broke into the places of worship armed with suicide jackets and sophisticated weapons of every description, could have been higher still had it not been for the bravery of two young Ahmadis. The men, both in their 20s, over-powered two of the assailants at the Baitul Noor in Model Town, removed their suicide jackets with the help of others and then held them captive until police arrived some 30 minutes later.
What the disarmed assailants said as they were held pinned to the ground is not insignificant. One of them mentioned a mission against ‘infidels’; the other, speaking in Seraiki, cursed those who had prevented him from completing what he had set out to do. We see then the impact of brain-washing, possibly at seminaries. This is no surprise. Even at mainstream schools anti-Ahmadi sentiments are imparted every now and then; Ahmadis have faced discrimination at these institutions, prevented from sitting exams or forced to denounce their own faith. What is important to take note of is the growing evidence that the men came from the southern Punjab. The dangerous network of extremism that exists there should not be ignored any longer. It would, to use a pun, be suicidal to do so.
Yet this is precisely what the Punjab government has been doing. It was none other than his own law minister who not too long ago was shown meeting and travelling with a senior member of a banned outfit in central Punjab. When asked to explain this, the minister said that he had committed no crime and tried to justify his actions by implying that they were linked to the PML-N’s by-election campaign which required him to meet ‘politicians’ of all shades. Despite this, the chief minister and other leaders of the PML-N continue to insist there is no ‘Taliban’ in the province. This, quite obviously, is a fallacy. The sights of bodies sprawled on floors, of terrified children clinging to fathers and of women weeping in anguish tell us this. Had action against extremist groups taken place earlier the tragedy we have seen may have been prevented. The question is whether there will now be some effort to close in on these groups before they strike again.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30, 2010.
In a feat of unprecedented bravery, two young Ahmedi men overwhelmed and helped capture two armed terrorists from Baitul Noor in Model Town.
Nabeel, just 25-years-old, told The Express Tribune that he entered the building at 1:30 pm before the Friday sermon had started. He recalled that the number of worshipers started to swell around 1:45 pm just before the first few gunshots were heard.
“Immediately after I heard gunfire, I saw the back of the head of one of the terrorists who was attempting to shoot Anwer, the security guard. I understood that he would try to enter the facility next and rushed to close the gate at the entrance. To buy us some time, I asked everyone inside the building to rush towards the basement. Most of the people who were killed were older men because they were not too quick on their feet,” said Nabeel.
“One terrorist who appeared to be in his mid-twenties entered the main hall and started firing indiscriminately at doors, windows and worshippers.
Then he hurled hand grenades and the resulting explosion injured almost everyone who had not made it to the basement.
We had a clear view of the injured people in the hall from where we were hiding. Immediately after the grenade explosion, the terrorist started shooting the injured people who were crying and screaming for help,” he added.
“I could see that the terrorist was injured and bleeding from the head.
He shot at least a dozen people before he fell to the ground. I used the opportunity to seize the man, still wearing his suicide vest. Two other men helped me remove his jacket and disarm him. I held him in that position for nearly 35 minutes waiting for police officials so I could hand him over to them,” said Nabeel.
“I had placed a foot just over the man’s neck to make sure he could not move. He kept telling me that he was in a lot of pain and wanted me to remove my foot.
I removed some pressure and asked him why he had killed so many innocent people. He replied that it was his mission to eradicate all infidels from Pakistan. I could not converse with him further after hearing him say that,” stated Nabeel.
Bilal, who is 21-years-old helped capture another terrorist. He was standing on the second floor of the building and had a clear view of the front entrance when he saw armed men walk into the facility.
“The terrorist looked like he was only seventeen. He threw the hand grenade that killed our patron Lt General (retd) Chaudhary Naasir Ahmad. Then he barged through the front door and made his way up the stairs to the second floor. I was hiding behind a couch. The young man was constantly firing. I had a clear view of everything that was happening. Luckily the terrorist did not see me,” said Bilal.
“I knew I had a brief window of opportunity to act. When the terrorist had his back to the place where I was hiding behind, I pounced and grabbed him and yelled to other people to help me overpower him.
The young man was talking in Seraiki, constantly pleading with us to give him a glass of water. I removed the suicide jacket from his torso with the help of a few people,” added Bilal.
“I understand a little Seraiki. I could tell that the boy was constantly abusing and cursing us for capturing him. I had to wait for half an hour before police officials arrived and arrested the young terrorist,” he said.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 29th, 2010.