The Counter-Terrorism Department police on Wednesday claimed to have killed two militants linked with the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi who were involved in targeted killing of members the Ahmedi and Shia communities.
Acting on a tip-off, police and intelligence agency personnel conducted a raid in Shah Latif Town off the National Highway and killed Ashraf Jono and Shoukat Sardar, alias Usman, said SSP CTD-II Junaid Ahmed Shaikh. The Sindh government had announced Rs1.5 million for their arrest, he added. Ashraf Jono was involved in killing Ahmedis/Qadianis, he claimed.
They killed five Shias from 2010 to 2014. They were “close associates” of the held chief of the banned LJ in Karachi, Naeem Bukhari. The killed militants were also ‘suspects’ in the killing of CTD SSP Chaudhry Aslam.
Their network consisted of 21 members, added the SSP.
They had fled after a jailbreak in Dera Ismail Khan.
“They were planning a major act of terrorism in Karachi,” said Junaid Shaikh.
A suicide jacket, a Kalashnikov, two 30-bore pistols and some explosive material were found in their custody.
Profiles of the dead
Shoukat Sardar, originally hailing from Abbottabad, developed acquaintance with suspect Anees in Baloch Colony in 1996. Anees used to show “anti-Shia subversive literature/ videos to him” to motivate him to militiancy, said Additional Inspector General of CTD Dr Sanaullah Abbasi. Resultantly, he joined the LJ.
Anees also introduced him to another militant, Shamimudin, alias Shani, who further “brainwashed” him against the Shia community and sent him for training in Afghanistan.
Shoukat Sardar went to Afghanistan through Chaman in 1998 and got a 40-day training in Sorobi province.
In year 2004, he with two other militants, Shamimudin and Sajid, lived in Binori Town when law enforcers arrested Shamimudin in a raid while he (Shoukat) and Sajid escaped.
Fearing his arrest, he left Karachi for his native village in Abbottabad, where he was arrested the next year and brought to the Karachi central prison. However, in 2008 he was released on bail and he opened a biryani restaurant at Hill Park, said the AIG CTD. He was also arrested in 2010 and 2013, but got released both times.
The CTD Sindh chief said every time the killed militant was detained, the LJ pursued his cases in court and got him released on bail by “paying huge amounts of money to lawyers and guarantors”.
Dr Abbasi said a held militant, identified as Qasim, who was acting as the LJ ‘emir’ in the central prison “pursued cases of all LJ militants from the jail”.
‘Interior of Sindh’s link with militancy’
The other killed militant, Ashraf Jono, was a teacher in the government primary school in his native Mir Mohammed Jono village, Qazi Ahmed taluka, Shaheed Benazirabad district, after passing his FSc from the government science college Sakrand in 1991.
The CTD Sindh head said Ashraf “was a religious-minded person since his boyhood and always had a soft corner for religious outfits”.
He was once arrested in a case of bomb blast on a mourning procession in Muzaffarabad and sent to the Adiala Jail from where he was released in 2012. During incarceration there, he interacted with TTP and Al Qaeda members held in the same jail.
The same year, he met an alleged militant, identified as Khalid, of Rawalpindi.
Dr Abbasi said that in December 2013, when Khalid came to Shikarpur, he called him to a seminary in Shikarpur’s Anaj Mandi area where he (Khalid) arranged his meeting with a militant known as Shah Jee and informed him that Shah Jee was “in charge of the AQIS media cell in Shikarpur”.
Khalid gave Ashraf Jono some Jihadi literature and formula for preparation of explosive material. The law enforcers have identified at least five close aides of the killed militant, Ashraf Jono, hailing from Shikarpur, Sanghar, Naushahro Feroz and Shaheed Benazirabad districts.
The AIG said Ashraf Jono visited Afghanistan four times from 2000 to 2007.
He said in February 2014, a militant identified as Qari Musa arranged Ashraf Jono’s meeting with Hakeem Fareed, a resident of Sanghar district, who arranged Ashraf’s meeting with Naeem Bukhari at a seminary located on Moro Bypass in Naushahro Feroz district. Later on, Ashraf met Naeem Bukhari for some 12 times and provided him with at least 25 SIM cards.
Naeem Bukhari was considered to be the mastermind of many terrorism acts. His arrest was announced by ISPR director general Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa at a press conference in Karachi in February with those of other militants in the Hyderabad jailbreak plot.