Unearthed network of suspects involved in blast outside Saeed's home: Pak's Punjab govt

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Lahore, Jun 28 (PTI) Pakistan's Punjab government on Monday claimed to have unearthed the network of all 10 suspects, including women, involved in the powerful bomb blast outside the house of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind and chief of the banned Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Saeed here.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Inam Ghani at a joint press conference here also said that an 'anti-Pakistan intelligence agency' was involved in the Johar Town bombing, but were short of naming it despite reporters’ repeated insistence.

“We have told the federal government about its (anti-Pakistan agency's) role in the incident,” Buzdar said.

'The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Punjab Police has unearthed the network of all Pakistani and international suspects involved in the blast within 16 hours of the incident. We have arrested (10) local suspects, including women,” he said.

IGP Ghani said the hostile agencies had provided financial support to the locals to carry out the terror attack.

“The mastermind of the blast has been identified. A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been formed to further probe this incident,” he said.

Ghani said the terrorist who planted explosives in the car and parked it near Saeed’s house belongs to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, but he speaks fluent Punjabi that helped him carry out the operation here.

“Hostile agencies can have the services of local (Pakistani) agents for terror acts easily against money. Money is given to local (Pakistani) agents in the Middle East,” the IGP said, and claimed that the “basic target of the Lahore blast was the FATF conference.” The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, the global anti-money laundering and terror financing watchdog, at the end of its five-day virtual plenary meeting on Friday last retained Pakistan in its “grey list” for failing to adequately investigate and prosecute leaders of UN-designated terror groups.

Both the Chief Minister and IGP did not disclose the names of the arrested terrorists in the press conference.

However, a senior police official told PTI that the man who planted explosives in the car and left it outside Saeed’s house has been identified as Eid Gul from the KPK province.

“Gul has been arrested from Rawalpindi and he belongs to Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP),” he said.

Earlier, the CTD had arrested a key person -- Peter Paul David -- from Lahore whose car was used in the blast.

Three persons were killed and 21 others injured when a powerful car bomb exploded outside Saeed's residence at the Board of Revenue (BOR) Housing Society in Johar Town on Wednesday last, resulting in serious injuries to some police officers guarding his house. The windows and walls of Saeed's house were damaged from the impact of the blast.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Saeed, a UN designated terrorist whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, has been convicted for 36 years imprisonment in five terror financing cases. His punishment is running concurrently.

Saeed is serving a jail sentence at the Kot Lakhpat Jail Lahore for his conviction in terror financing cases.

Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. He was listed under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.

FATF is instrumental in pushing Pakistan to take measures against terrorists roaming freely in Pakistan and using its territory to carry out attacks in India. PTI MZ SCY AKJ SCY

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