A Deobandi terrorist linked with the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), who was planning to carry out major acts of terrorism in Karachi, was gunned down in an encounter with a joint team of police and Intelligence Bureau in Khwaja Ajmer Nagri in the early hours of Thursday. However, his two accomplices escaped, officials said. The LeJ terrorist was involved in many killings in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Saad Surkhan of the banned Deobandi terrorist outfit LeJ, a sister-wing of the proscribed ASWJ, had provided a suicide jacket to the assassin of Punjab home minister Shuja Khanzada two years ago, a senior official of IB told Dawn on condition of anonymity.
He was twice arrested in Karachi but was released on bail.
“District Central police and Intelligence Bureau carried out a joint operation in Khwaja Ajmer Nagri and killed one terrorist linked with the LJ while his two accomplices fled,” said Karachi West Zone DIG Zulfiqar Larik.
Speaking at a press conference at his office, the senior officer said the IB had provided an intelligence report that some militants linked with the LJ’s Qari Sohail group were present in the area and were planning major acts of terrorism.
As a joint team of the IB and the police raided the hideout, the suspected militants resorted to firing and in the ensuing encounter, Saad was killed while his accomplices, identified as Maulvi Yunus, ‘emir’ of the LJ group, and ‘doctor’ Rehan escaped into the darkness.
Several hand grenades, six TT pistols, one rifle, three sets of walkie-talkies and other arms and ammunition were found in their custody.
Central SSP Irfan Baloch told the media that as per information of the IB, Sohail Qaiser, aka Qari Sohail, was a ‘commander’ of the LJ who had links with Al Qaeda. In 2015, Sohail Qaiser with his family members blew himself up during a police raid in Rawalpindi. Two policemen were also killed in the blast.
After Sohail Qaiser’s death, Saad Surkhan went into hiding and later on became ‘commander’ of the LJ in Karachi.
Involvement in Sindh, Punjab, KP killings
Mr Baloch said Saad, Sohail and other accomplices had carried out several acts of terrorism in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Central SSP said after killing of LJ chief Malik Ishaq in a police encounter in Punjab in Aug 2015, Maulvi Yunus became chief of the LJ faction and planned assassination of the then home minister of Punjab, Shuja Khanzada, in “revenge”. Yunus assigned this task to Sohail Qaiser and Saad.
“Saad provided an explosive-laden jacket in the Shadi Khan area of Rawalpindi where Shuja Khanzada was martyred in a suicide attack.” Apart from this, the LJ militant and his accomplices targeted policemen in Punjab after their leader, Malik Ishaq, was killed in the police encounter.
The Central SSP recalled that the killed militant was involved in the targeted killing of policeman in the Ibrahim Hyderi area of Karachi. Subsequently, he was arrested in the said case in 2010, went to jail but got released on bail.
Later, the LJ militant was arrested with his accomplices after an encounter by Rangers in 2012 but again he obtained bail.
He was also involved in the targeted killing of five people, including Kutchi Rabita Committee leader Rasheed Kutchi and two policemen, in Lyari in 2012.
In 2015, the killed militant with his accomplices attacked a caravan of the PML-N’s local leader in Haripur Javed Jadoon in which his six guards were killed but he remained unhurt.
Later on, Saad attacked and killed Javed Jadoon on the Haripur court premises on Dec 19, 2015. Subsequently, he fled the country.
The police claimed that they had information that Saad had come to Karachi on the instruction of his group’s chief to carry out acts of terrorism.
“They were planning targeted killing of policemen, important political personalities and kidnapping of Chinese nationals,” said the Central SSP. They had also planned targeted killing of members of the Shia community and attacks on Imambargahs after Muharram.
“We are thankful to the Intelligence Bureau, Sindh, with whose cooperation the terrorists were taken to task,” said the DIG West.