Foiled plans: Terrorists planned attack on Parliament House: Malik
By Umer Nangiana
Claims to have arrested mastermind; capital police refrain from confirmation.
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the media on Saturday that two suspected terrorists planning to target Parliament during the president’s address to the joint session on March 17 have been arrested. The announcement comes after a lapse of more than two weeks and a meeting with the top police official in the city.
Malik, however, did not divulge the suspects’ names, saying that the alleged mastermind of the planned terrorist attack along with an accomplice, a finance ministry official, were arrested by the Islamabad police before they could strike.
He added that the suspects were being investigated by the police, without providing further details. Malik spoke to the media following a meeting to address the law and order situation in Islamabad with local police and administration officials.
“The attack was averted due to the alertness of the Islamabad police, for which they should be commended,” he said.
In September of last year, the Islamabad police had arrested a government servant, also a finance division official, for his alleged links with a terror group. He was suspected of leading a group of terrorists into multiple attacks on sensitive occasions and installations in the city, including the Yomul Quds rally.
Sardar Ali Khan Khattak, a Naib Qasid of the finance division was arrested by law enforcement officials for his alleged links with members of the Qari Shakil Group, a militant group based in Machini, Mohmand Agency. Malik, however, did not confirm if the recently arrested finance ministry official was the same person.
Top officials of the Islamabad police force responsible for the security of the red zone, on the other hand, had maintained ignorance about any foiled terrorist attack and subsequent arrest of any suspects.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General (IG) of Police Islamabad Bani Amin did not respond to calls for confirmation.
The interior minister also said he has called for the establishment of a temporary jail in Islamabad. He also took notice of car theft in the city and claimed it has reduced after two gangs of carjackers were busted recently by the police.
Malik also directed IG Amin to take action against corrupt SHOs of various police stations who are to be replaced in two phases. He directed the IG to set up an anti-corruption wing for the Islamabad police, which should be functional by next week.
Additionally, a project for the centralisation of data of all vehicles in Islamabad, finalised with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), will be lodged soon with the consultation of the provinces and other stakeholders. This will help with the investigation of criminal cases, Malik added.