Pakistan intelligence report has revealed that banned organizations – Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ), Harkatul Jihadul Islami (HJI) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – were involved in the recent terrorist attacks across the Punjab province.
According to the reports, the three organisations had direct involvement in a majority of the 49 terrorist incidents that occurred across Punjab in the last 18 months.
It also claims that Al-Qaeda operations chief in Pakistan, Ilyas Kashmiri, masterminded these attacks, The Daily Times reports.
During various probes into the terrorism incidents, it was discovered that groups worked in tandem to carry out the attacks
The first group consists of LJ activist, released from Afghan and Pakistani prisons, who got trained and fought in Afghanistan.
After identifying targets and completing the surveillance of the specific installations, the LJ activists forwarded the reports to Kashmiri, who then contacted the TTP for the attacks.
The second group in the network provides suicide bombers and attackers, while the third provides ammunitions, explosives and suicide jackets.
The reports also said that in the 49 incidents of terrorism, 687 people were killed, including 69 police officials, while at least 1,834 people, including 268 cops were injured.
Twenty-one of the 49 incidents were traced by law enforcement agencies (LEAs), 37 terrorists were arrested, 24 of the attackers were killed in encounters with police and 27 suicide bombers blew themselves up during these attacks.
Pakistan’s political heartland has ordered a crackdown on militants after a series of devastating attacks and accusations of links to banned groups, officials said Monday.
New Delhi and Washington have long demanded that Pakistan root out extremist Islamist militant groups that use its soil to launch attacks across the country, as well as in neighbouring Afghanistan and India.
But the details and scope of the apparent crackdown — which comes just days before Pakistan is due to host India’s Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna for talks in Islamabad — were unclear.
“The government has ordered a policy of zero tolerance against all these groups. There are at least 2,000 to 2,200 activists of banned outfits being closely monitored in Punjab,” police official Akram Naeem Bharoka told AFP.
“We have very clear instructions from the government that no outlawed organisation should be allowed to continue their activities in any part of the province,” Bharoka said.
Asked how many people had been arrested and offices targeted, the senior official in Punjab police said only that figures were being compiled.
A wave of deadly attacks carried out by Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked extremists has killed more than 3,500 people during the last three years.
Although most of the violence is concentrated in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border, Punjab’s capital Lahore has suffered 10 major attacks killing more than 300 people since March 2009.
Police confirmed raids and arrests of militants from extremist Sunni Muslim group Sipah-e-Sihaba Pakistan (SSP) and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity seen as a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba group India blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
“We have arrested at least eight people belonging to different banned organisations,” Lahore city police chief Aslam Tareen told AFP.
“These organisations have been involved in distributing hate material and promoting sectarianism,” he said. The government ordered police to curb the activities of these groups, he added.
Lahore is Pakistan’s most liberal city, its cultural capital and home to many in Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment.
Some senior lawmakers and politicians in Punjab have been accused of alleged links with SSP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which was among several groups involved in the kidnap and beheading of US journalist Daniel Pearl in January 2002.
Religious leaders demanded the resignation of provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah for alleged links to militants after 43 people were killed in a suicide attack on a Muslim shrine on July 2 in the city’s most recent attack.
Accusations of complicity have been levelled against the two main coalition partners in Punjab — the Pakistan People’s Party of President Asif Ali Zardari and federal opposition leader Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N party.