Dawn: Saad Aziz and other Deobandi militants behind Safoora carnage, Sabeen Mahmud murder



KARACHI: Militants involved in the deadly Safoora Goth massacre and the murder of prominent social activist Sabeen Mahmud were inspired by the self-styled Islamic State, said a top counter-terrorism official of Sindh police on Wednesday.

“The accused militants established their own group in 2014 but they did not name it,” said Raja Umer Khattab, an official of Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Sindh police.

“This group was inspired by the ideology and terror activities of groups such as self-styled Islamic State and wanted to establish an affiliation with them,” added the CTD official while speaking at press conference.

Khattab further added that Tahir alias Minhas alias Sain and Jalal were members of al Qaeda in 2014, but later developed differences over funding and other organisational matters. Later, Tahir established his own group while Jalal remained associated with Al Qaeda.

“It is possible that Jalal’s group was recently involved in the murder of two DSPs, one SP and several other police officials,” added Khattab.

He revealed that the JIT’s (Joint Investigation Team) investigation has been completed. Other accused in the Safoora carnage are Saad Aziz, Hafiz Nasir Ahmed, Mohammad Azhar Ishrat and Asad Rehman.

A polygraph test conducted by an expert, corroborated the confession of the accused regarding involvement in over two dozen terrorists attacks.

Responding to a question, Raja Umer Khattab said he could not rule out the possibility of links between militants led by Jalal and India’s spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) or any other foreign intelligence agency.

Sabeen Mahmud case

Responding to a question regarding Sabeen Mahmud’s case, Khattab said Saad Aziz is the main accused in the murder of Sabeen Mahmud. He added that before killing her, the accused attended two seminars organised by the social activist at her social forum.

A picture of Saad Aziz attending one of the seminars at The Second Floor was also shared with the media.

“Saad Aziz had planned to kill Sabeen Mahmud as he did not approve of her views regarding Lal Masjid’s cleric Abdul Aziz, Valentine’s Day and burqa (veil),” explained the CTD official.

“On the day of her murder, Saad Aziz, Ali Rehman, Hafiz Umer, Mehmood and Tayab were present at the crime scene. As Sabeen Mahmud left The Second Floor office along with her mother and driver in a car, Saad Aziz and Mehmood followed them on their motorcycle and targeted her at Defence signal before fleeing the scene,” said Khattab.

Sabeen Mahmud, a human rights activist who founded the social forum T2F, was gunned down on April 24 in Defence Housing Authority when she along with her mother was returning home after organising a seminar on Balochistan.