The nasbi takfiri terrorists who massacred Gilgit-bound Shia passengers have been traced, Express Tribune reported from Mansehra.
The English daily reported that Muhammad Ilyas Khan, SSP Investigation Mansehra, who heads the police team investigating the gruesome Babusar massacre, made the disclosure at a press conference.
Some 37 Shia passengers have been martyred on the way to Gilgit in two separate incidents during the last six months in Hazara division of Khyber-Pukhtoonkhwa.
In both the incidents men in army fatigues plucked passengers off buses and shot them martyred.
â€œOur team is in Chilas, waiting for a go-ahead by the Gilgit-Baltistan government, to enter the jurisdiction and arrest the suspects,â€ SSP Ilyas Khan said.
But the ongoing sectarian tensions in G-B and lack of cooperation on the part of G-B administration were the key hurdles in nabbing the culprits, he said.
The religious and sectarian sensitivities attached to the case have complicated it further, he said.
Investigation into the first incident of killing of 18 Gilgiti Shias in Kohistan on February 28 helped the investigation team gather key information about the second sectarian assault in Kaghan (Babusar) on August 16, Khan said. The two investigation teams probing the Kohistan and Kaghan tragedies joined hands and shared the available information and were able to produce the sketches of over 30 attackers, SSP said.
The sketches could not be made public due to some technical reasons, he said.
Police officials are also trying to acquire the mobile phone video footage of the massacre on Babusar Top in Kaghan, which was made by a passenger of the ill-fated bus.
â€œWe have traced the culprits and they are the same men who hauled the Shia passengers off the Gilgit-bound buses and sprayed them with bullets after lining them on the roadside in Kohistan and Kaghan area,â€ Khan said.
Hazara police shared the information with the Gilgit administration seeking access to the Gilgit-based assassins, but it declined to extend support owing to the ongoing sectarian unrest in the area, he said.
He ruled out the involvement of a foreign hand in the two incidents.
Inspector Siddique, the head of the team investigating the killing of Shia passengers in Kohistan and member of the team probing Kaghan carnage, said the investigators were busy collecting evidence about the suspects. Police sleuths were scouring for clues from bus stands in Rawalpindi to roadside eateries in Kohistan, he said.
He blamed the G-B administration for non-cooperation in getting access to the suspects.
When approached for comments the DIG Astore Ali Sher was not available.
Shia leaders have expressed surprise and dismay over the lack of cooperation of the relevant officials. They said they donâ€™t accept the excuses and they want all the terrorists be hanged publicly at the earliest possible.