Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Punjab CM says a hostile intelligence agency was engaged in the Lahore explosion

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar announced Monday that “enemy intelligence” was involved in the bombing of the city of Johar in Lahore last week, killing three people and wounding 24.

Speaking at a press conference in Lahore, Buzdar said the terrorists involved in the explosions had been arrested in raids over the past four days.

The Prime Minister said he went to the injured himself and had been ordered to seek treatment.

“The Punjab government has formed an investigative team. I am pleased to announce that the investigation was started by the Counter-Terrorism Division (CTD) and the suspects were identified within 16 hours. The terrorists became terrorists in an attack within four days to the country.”

Buzdar described the arrest as a “huge success” for the Punjab government and thanked all law enforcement agencies (LEA) for their efforts.

“It was found that there was an enemy intelligence agency involved that was funding this network,” he said. All high-profile cases have been followed up and suspects have been arrested, the Prime Minister added.

Punjab Inspector General of Police Inam Ghani presented details of the investigation, saying police went beyond identifying the car used in the explosion and within hours police reached and received the people who owned the car.

“Within hours we had dug this whole net and arrested [the suspects]. The lynching that caught all of these, those who repair cars and those who repair cars, and those who fill cars with explosives have been arrested. – We all have them.

“We have almost 10 Pakistanis – men and women – who have been involved and done this,” he said.

Ghani said police had also identified the leaders of the blasts as belonging to the enemy intelligence services. “We share [information] with the federal government and the secret services. A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been formed to investigate [the matter].”

The IGP said police would investigate previous cases involving suspects and enemy intelligence agencies linked to them, and hoped police would follow up on the cases “in a good manner” so that those involved could be punished.

When asked about the suspect, the IGP said he was from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but was born and raised in Punjab and is fluent in Punjabi.

When asked which country the enemy intelligence services are from and whether their agents operate in Pakistan, he said it was “inappropriate” to name them.

When asked if a threat warning had been issued prior to the explosion, Prime Minister Buzdar said warnings were issued regularly but no threat warning was issued for the city of Johar.

He said he had previously announced that he would compensate and complete the formalities.

In response to another question, the IGP said police had complete footage of the day of the explosion, adding that no one had reported the car.

“The targets were the same two police stations and our people were injured. No one signaled that there was a car and they alerted the police. When the car entered Punjab, it had the original license plate and nothing inside. If we start with if checking the trunk of each car, [the number of cars driving on the freeway] will be halved.

Ghani said police manage to stop between 20 and 25 such attacks every year.

When asked if a family had reported to the police prior to the explosion to warn them, he said, “This is all speculation. No family came to us. No police officer has received all the information you mentioned. It’s all speculation.”

The IGP was then asked if a large network had been activated against Pakistan, to which he replied that “all hostile organizations are constantly working against Pakistan and trying to interfere with it”.

Noting that the explosion took place during a plenary session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), he said, “We believe the main aim is to humiliate Pakistan, but it didn’t happen.”

“Not only have we managed to find [the suspects], but the relationship with enemy intelligence is clear. We hope our agencies and the State Department can reach out to them and punish them,” he concluded.

A powerful explosion near the residence of Jamaatud Dawa leader Hafiz Saeed in the city of Johar, Lahore killed three people and injured 24 others, including a police officer.

Six-year-old Abdul Haq, his father, 50-year-old Abdul Malik and a young hiker were killed in the blast, which left a two-meter-wide crater in the road and damaged several nearby homes and businesses.

Citing intelligence and surveillance officials, a report submitted to the prime minister confirmed that the blast was carried out remotely. It caused severe damage to seven nearby homes and several shops while police await a court report to determine the type of explosive used.

Read Also: A breakthrough has occurred with the arrest of a key suspect in the Johar Town blast in Lahore

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