LAHORE – The Punjab police on Wednesday claimed to have dealt a major set back to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) by capturing its five most wanted commanders involved in several high-profile terror attacks which occurred in the province this year.

The terrorists arrested from Multan belonged to Qari Yasin group of TTP and they had masterminded and executed the terror attacks on police in Lahore.

“They had also targeted the military personnel in Gujrat to avenge the killings of their commanders,” Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab, Muhammad Habib-ur-Rehman, told reporters while addressing a news conference here at Police Club on Wednesday.

“Let me confirm here that the police have arrested five most wanted commanders of TTP and they being interrogated in connection with recent high profile terror attacks that took place in the province,” the provincial police chief said.

The IGP also said that country’s leading intelligence agencies provided key input to the law-enforcing agency in tracking down the militants.

Flanked by Additional-IG CTD Hassan Mushtaq Sukhera, CCPO Lahore Aslam Tareen, and RPO Multan Aamir Zulifqar, the police chief further revealed that Qari Yasin faction of TTP is based in Miran Shah and is involved in several high profile terror attacks, which took place in different parts of the country.

DIG (Operations) Lahore Muhammad Tahir Rai, DIG (Investigations) Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique, SSP Muhammad Ali Nakokar and SP CIA Omar Virk were also present on the occasion.  The arrested terrorists are identified as Habib-ur-Rehman, Imtiaz Ahmed, Hafiz Muhammad Ramazan, Muhammad Imran, and Ameer Moavia. These terrorists belonged to Dera Ismail Khan and the police have also recovered two Kalashnikovs, three 30-bore pistols, and hundreds of bullets from their possession.

“This (achievement) is the result of joint efforts made by police and intelligence agencies. We are expecting more arrests as the terrorists are being interrogated,” the IGP added.

Responding to a question, the police chief said as per the vision of the Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, the Punjab police are playing front-line role against war on terrorism besides maintaining peace and law and order situation in the province.

This war would continue until and unless crimes and terrorism is eliminated from the province. The police have been ordered to launch massive search action on permanent basis across the province to ensure peace and foolproof security during the holy month of Muharram-ul-Haram, he said.

About the terrorists, the IGP explained that Abdul Ghaffar alias Qari Saif Ullah, the main commander of this group, was killed during shootout with Multan police near Pul Ghazi Ghat in D.G. Khan on August 1, 2012. Saif Ullah was wanted to the Punjab police in several cases of bank robberies and terror attacks.

The third important member of this group was Imran Gandapur of DI Khan, who was the in-charge of terror activities in Khyber PK province, he said.

He further said that he had killed a police constable Muhammad Jahangir of Khyber PK province and later he alongwith his accomplices was also shot dead during an encounter with the police.

“Following the killing of Imran Gandapur, Iqbal Rashid alias Rashu had become Operational In-charge of Qari Yasin group.

To take revenge of the killing of Gandapur, Rashu had planned killings of security personnel of Khyber PK province. Rashu is the man accused who had masterminded suicidal attack on DPO Dera Ismail Khan, killings of police constables in Lahore, terror attacks on a religious sect and the terror attacks on security personnel in Gujrat district.”

The IGP said that Iqbal alias Rashu, Hameed Ullah, Niamat Ullah, Hammad Ullah, Jandullah, Habib-ur-Rehman and Imtiaz were involved in the gun attack on prison policemen in Rasool Park Lahore while Muhammad Ramazan, Ameer Moavia and Muhammad Imran has aided and assisted the terror attack.

A few Madrassas located in Chouburgi and Samanabad areas provided shelter to the attackers during their brief stay in Lahore, he added.

“City police have also been ordered to take strict legal action against the administration of these Madrassas,” the IGP maintained.

About security on Muharram-ul-Haram, the IGP said that more than 118,308 policemen to be deployed across the province to maintain peace and security around Majalis, processions and Imambargahs. The police chief warned that the elements found involved in spreading hatred and provocative speeches would be dealt with iron hands.

He said that the religious activists and leaders found involved in spreading extremism would be arrested immediately and would also be imprisoned in far-flung areas.

Responding to a question, the IGP said that not even a single extortion case had been reported in the province while the kidnapping for ransom had been controlled due to effective policing.

Meanwhile, IGP Muhammad Habib-ur-Rehman announced cash prizes and commendatory certificates for the RPO Multan and his team for their outstanding performance.