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RAW behind Johar Town blast: Moeed Yousuf

Attackers received money from India

SAMAA | - Posted: Jul 4, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jul 4, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago

Pakistan has evidence of Indian involvement in the Johar Town blast, National Security Advisor Moeed Yousuf has said.

He was addressing a press conference on Sunday with Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry and Punjab IG Inam Ghani.

IG Ghani shared details of investigation

On June 23, at 11:09am, a VBIED blast took place in Block E of Lahore’s Johar Town, said the IG. Three people were killed and 22 others, including two policemen were injured. Twelve vehicles and seven houses were badly damaged.

Within 16 hours, Punjab Police’s CTD was not only able to unearth the plan but was also able to identify the people behind it, he claimed.

The IG then showed a diagram on the screen set up on the stage. The diagram connects about ten people. Five of them were unidentified and marked red. These were the people who according the police chief planned the attack and financed it from outside the country. Five people marked in yellow are those who executed it inside Pakistan, he said.

One of the persons marked in yellow is Peter Paul. He’s a 55-year-old Karachi resident. He has lived most of his life outside Pakistan. He has been running a three-star hotel. He also ran a steel business as a front. The IG claimed that Paul is the lynchpin that connects the attack that took place in Pakistan to the outside. Paul arranged for the car when he got the orders to execute the attack.

The car that was used was stolen in 2010 and was later recovered in 2011, Ghani said. The ownership had since then been changed a few times and its engine was tampered with, which makes it a perfect car for the purpose. People who got him this vehicle, we also have them, he said. They repaired the car and did a test run to make sure that the car did not break down at the last moment.

Financing that Paul received from abroad, we have that too, the IG said. His foreign connections, telephone calls, WhatsApp calls, all his records, everything is with us, he added.

“The person who he hired, Eid Gul, he is also in our custody. He was responsible for the entire attack. He took the car from Paul, did the dry run in Lahore and fit the explosives in it. He prepared the car with the detonator and all the material that he had received. He did the recce, he knew where he had to go and where to park the car.”

On June 21, Eid Gul took the car to the blast site and did a dry run without explosives. He came back to the area on June 22, but this time he was in a rickshaw. He is of Afghan-origin but since he has lived all his life in Punjab his language skills are really strong. He used to speak Punjabi so no one suspected him.

On June 23, Eid Gul brought the car from Islamabad where he had prepared it with the help of his wife, the IG said. She is also in custody. “He took the motorway to come [to Lahore]. If you think it’s the safest way as the local police has nothing to do on the motorway. Once you get on the motorway. It’s the motorway police that you come in contact with that even for just traffic [violations]. He spent the next 12 hours on the motorway. He stopped at a rest area.”

IG Ghani said that Gul parked the car near an under-construction house. “We have a police picket nearby and a police mobile is often parked here.”

He parked the car in such a way that it was in between the picket and the police mobile, so when the blast took place, the shrapnel hit the picket and police mobile. Our policemen were injured as a result of this, the IG said.

About 20kg of explosives were used in the car. It was fitted in such a way that the car was completely destroyed. “That’s why initially it was reported that the explosives were in the rickshaw. The car exploded into small pieces,” Ghani said. “It shows his expertise.” 

Beside Paul and Gul, Zia Ullah, Sajjad Hussain, Irfan Abbas Shah and Gul’s wife Ayesha have been apprehended.

The IG said that they also have few more names. “We are checking whether they were involved in this criminal act or were they innocent and had no part in it.”

It was a joint effort of the CTD and other intelligence agencies, he added.

The IG then played an audio tape recovered from Eid Gul’s phone, in which he was told that his face was not visible in the CCTV footage, only his car could be identified. He was told that it would be better if he stayed out of sight for sometime.

We have busted the gang that was active inside Pakistan, said Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry.

The mastermind is an Indian with a RAW connection.

National Security Advisor Moeed Yousuf said that the IG showed a diagram which had a few names missing. “We can’t talk about their names right now but we have everything else like financial records, call records, audio clips but this is an ongoing investigation.”

Moeed Yousuf said after the blast, the IG and the chief minister held a press conference, in which they said that they have evidence of involvement of a foreign intelligence agency.

“Today, I can tell you for sure that this attack is connected to India’s sponsorship of terrorism.”

He said that the forensic analysis of the phones and other equipment recovered shows that the handler and the main mastermind of the attack are from India. “The main mastermind is an Indian citizen, lives in India and has clear connections with RAW. We have their pseudo names, their real identities, where they are, we have all the things identified.”

Moeed Yousuf said that this is not the first time India has done such a thing. “We have repeatedly said that India is involved in terrorism.”

The day the Johar Town attack took place, thousands of coordinated cyberattacks place on the infrastructure of our investigation took place, he added. This is an example of hybrid warfare that we have been talking about, he said. Cyberattacks were carried out to disrupt the investigation. “We have no doubt that the Johar Town attack and cyberattacks were interconnected.”

Even last year in November, we held a press conference and identified all the information to the level of who was making the calls, from which Indian bank the money was transferred, he said.

Terror financing of this attack has its origins in India, he said. Money was sent to Pakistan via a third country, the national security advisor added.

“Now is the time that the world look at the real culprits and if FATF is actually a technical platform, and many more institutions that have the responsibility to identify such things, now you don’t need anymore evidence,” he said.

“As the IG said, that Eid Gul is of Afghan origin and has a national ID card…

We have said it many times, the Afghans are our brothers but now is the time for their dignified return,” Yousuf added.

“Pakistan has been constantly flagging this to the world that millions of law-abiding Afghan refugees are given a bad name and Pakistan is blamed when these actors go and hide in these refugee settlements, then Pakistan is questioned on why one or two or five people who were miscreants, terrorists could not be apprehended.”

The national security advisor said that the prime minister has instructed his team to use all possible legal and political means to get to the people outside Pakistan who are part of this terrorist network. “We will therefore be sharing all evidence with the international community and exposing the nefarious and real face of the state in our neighbourhood that has constantly sponsored terrorism.”

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