An antiterrorism court on Thursday remanded four Safoora Goth attack suspects, belonging to takfir and Wahhabi banned outfits, in police custody in nine cases pertaining to an encounter, illicit weapons and explosive material till June 5.
The suspected militants — Tahir Hussain Minhas alias Sain alias Nazir alias Zahid alias Naveed alias Khalil alias Shaukat alias Mota, Saad Aziz alias Tin Tin alias John, Hafiz Nasir alias Yasir and Mohammad Azhar Ishrat alias Majid — were brought in an armoured personnel carrier to the court premises and produced before the judge amid tight security arrangements.
The counter-terrorism department (CTD) of police contended through remand papers that the suspects were arrested on May 20 near Habib Society in Gulshan-i-Maymar after a shootout and two Kalashnikovs, four hand grenades, two 9mm pistols, cartridges and a car were found in their custody.
The police informed the court that the suspects were booked in a police encounter and attempted murder case while two cases each were also registered against every suspect for allegedly carrying unlicensed weapons and explosive substances.
The police said the suspects had been arrested for their involvement in the Safoora Goth carnage in which 47 people including women, belonging to the Shia Ismaili community, were shot dead on May 13 in an armed attack on their bus.
However, the investigating officer did not seek their remand in the Safoora Goth bus attack case. He sought the custody of the suspects in nine cases for one month, citing that they were to be questioned to find out their resources to obtain arms and ammunition and whether recovered weapons were used in incidents of terrorism.
But the judge of the ATC-II handed over the suspects to police for two weeks on physical remand and told the IO to produce them again on June 5 with a progress report.
The main case was registered against the suspects under Sections 324 (attempted murder), 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 4/5 of Explosive Substances Act, 1908 read with Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the CTD police station, Civil Lines. The CTD also individually booked them in two connected cases each under Section 23(1) (a) of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013 and Section 4/5 of the Explosive Substances Act.
Besides Umar alias Wajid, Ali Rehman alias Toona, codename Abdullah alias Mansoori and codename Tayyab were shown as absconders in the police encounter and attempted murder cases.
A day earlier the chief minister had told a press conference that the suspects were also involved in the murder of Sabeen Mahmud in Defence, firing on American educationist Debra Lobo in the Ferozabad area and bomb attacks on naval and Rangers officials. But the police have yet to obtain the remand of the suspects in these cases.