ISLAMABAD — Days after a powerful explosion took place near UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed’s residence in Pakistan capital Lahore, a journalist revealed that the wanted criminal was at home when the bomb went off and was the target of the attack.
“Saeed is a high-value target, and we have come to know that the prison department monitors his location,” said Amjad Saeed Sahani, a Pakistan-based journalist.
“The jail superintendent has the power to declare any location as a sub-jail,”
“According to our information, Saeed was present at his residence. His family denies this, but Saeed was indeed the target of this attack.”
Saeed is the chief of the dreaded Lashkar-e-Tayyiba terrorist organization. He played a crucial role in Lashkar-e-Tayyiba’s operational and fundraising activities.
Saeed, on whom the US has placed a $10 million bounty, has been wanted by India for years for masterminding the Mumbai 2008 terror attack that left 161 people dead.
The Lashkar-e-Tayyiba founder has been sentenced twice for jail terms exceeding 10 years but is not being imprisoned and continues to run terror activities from his Lahore home.
Last week, a powerful blast in the Pakistani city’s Johar Town, near his home, killed three people and injured 24 others, including a police constable.
Following the blast, a car mechanic was taken into custody for his involvement in the explosion. Sources said intelligence agencies arrested the technician for modifying the interiors of the car that was used in the blast.
A man parking a suspicious vehicle that was possibly used to carry out the blast was caught on closed-circuit television.
However, the person who had left the car at the explosion location had yet to be arrested.
On June 25, security agencies carried out a raid at a man’s residence in Karachi for his suspected involvement in the deadly blast.
The Counter-Terrorism Department conducted raids across different cities of Punjab in connection with the incident.
Sources said that intelligence agencies collected evidence from the crime scene and ball bearings, pieces of iron, and the vehicle’s parts have been preserved.
Citing initial investigations, a senior police official said on condition of anonymity that about 33 pounds of explosives had been planted in a car that was stolen from Gujranwala and parked near the residence of Saeed in Board of Revenue Housing Society, Johar Town.
A rickshaw and motorcycles parked nearby were entirely destroyed by the blast, the police said.
The site of the explosion was cordoned off with a bomb disposal squad collecting evidence. Saeed’s residence remained safe, but many other houses and shops falling within a 100 square feet radius of the blast site were damaged.
Inam Ghani, Punjab Inspector General of Police, said that officials were currently assessing the damage, and Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Department has taken over the investigation.
“The Counter-Terrorism Department has taken over the investigation,” Ghani said.
“The Counter-Terrorism Department will determine whether the blast was a suicide blast if a device was used.”
Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid took notice and directed the Punjab chief secretary and the Inspector General to submit a report and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
“The nature of the blast is being determined,” he said.
“The federal government will assist the provincial government in investigating the incident.”
Saeed, the 71-year-old terrorist, has been serving a jail sentence at the Kot Lakhpat Jail Lahore for his conviction in terror financing cases. He was sentenced to 15 years and six months imprisonment by an anti-terrorism court in December last year.
(With inputs from ANI)
(Edited by Amrita Das and Saptak Datta. Map by Urvashi Makwana)
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