LAHORE: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted by the Punjab government to probe the suicide attack in a park here claimed on Tuesday to have found some clues which suggested that banned militant outfit Jamaatul Ahrar was involved in the carnage.
“The daylong investigation produced some solid evidence that the same network (Jamaatul Ahrar) was behind the terror strikes in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park, Youhannabad, Wagah border and the Police Lines,” Lahore Capital City Police Officer retired Capt Amin Wains told Dawn.
He said the JIT had shifted its focus to Jamaatul Ahrar when it released the photo of the bomber, identifying him as Salahuddin, aged between 20 and 25.
Jamaatul Ahrar was formed in September 2014 when Ehsanullah Ehsan announced quitting the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, led by Mullah Fazlullah, and claimed to have the support of 70-80 per cent of TTP commanders and fighters.
The group said to be involved in other attacks as well
“The photo shared by the banned outfit and the sketch drawn by the Lahore police of the suspected bomber a day after the attack were almost identical,” the Lahore police chief said.
Surprisingly, he said, some evidence found from Sunday’s blast site had strong resemblance to those collected by investigators after the three previous terror attacks carried out in Lahore, suggesting that Jamaatul Ahrar was behind all these incidents.
“A group of senior police officers thoroughly re-examined the three previous terror cases to analyse them in the perspective of the Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park suicide blast and found strong indicators that led them to this notorious organisation,” Mr Wains claimed.
He said officials of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency, who were analysing the fresh evidence sent to them by police, had also endorsed the investigators’ point of view. For instance, he added, the bomber had used specifically engineered belt, instead of ‘suicide jacket’, in the blast. In the previous three attacks the same belt was used.
The CCPO further said that the design, pattern and material of the belt (remains of which were found from Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park) being examined by forensic experts was almost identical to those analysed after the previous three terror incidents.
“We again interrogated the detained accused, including facilitators of the previous three terror incidents, and reached the conclusion that Jamaatul Ahrar was behind the latest attack,” he said.
On the basis of Tuesday’s investigations, he added, police teams had started a massive search in the city, particularly Iqbal Town, for sleeper cells of terrorists and their facilitators.