In a major breakthrough, the counter-terrorism authorities have arrested over 170 most-wanted terrorists in a series of covert operations spanning over 11 months across the country’s largest province of Punjab.
Samaa’s Investigation Unit gained access to official documents, which revealed that the Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) launched covert operations against operatives of the Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda, Islamic State-Khorasan and other local militant groups last year.
Several terrorists were gunned down in these operations, revealed the CTD officials.
As per the documents, 22 Al-Qaeda members were arrested in south Punjab in 40 operations.
The authorities also nabbed 41 terrorists of the IS in 35 operations, while intelligence-based operations also resulted in the arrest of four operators of the IS-Khorasan group.
The CTD teams also arrested 89 operatives of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) during these operations conducted in different cities of Punjab.
Among those arrested were also 10 members of the TTP Ghazi group, eight operatives of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and one belonging to the 313 Brigade.
The CTD officials, who spoke to Samaa TV on condition of anonymity, revealed that around two dozen terrorists were in touch with their handlers in Afghanistan and Syria. They claimed these assailants were planning to hit sensitive installations in south Punjab.
The CTD team arrested Waleed Asif, allegedly working for Al-Qaeda. They seized multiple magazines, including Nawa-e-Afghan Jihad, Hateen, Kiski Fauj Hai and other materials from his custody.
Among the arrested was also Abid Hussain, an alleged IS operative. A proscribed book, Hateen, was recovered from his custody, while he also possessed flags of the IS.
Another IS operative, Anas Abbas, was also among the nabbed.
Hammad Ahmad, a resident of Islamabad, allegedly an operative of the Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, was also arrested. The forces seized 550 grams of explosives, six-foot safety fuse, three detonators, an identity card, ATM card, and Rs4,730 from his possession.