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Confessions of TTP’s Mufti Shakir reveal dark underbelly of militancy in Karachi

KARACHI: Mohammad Shakir­ullah alias Mufti Shakir, who was arrested over charges of killing policemen and carrying out the suicide attack on CID SP Chaudhry Aslam in 2014, was released on bail and subsequently fled to Afghanistan and is now running an active training camp for militants, it emerged on Wednesday.

During interrogation by a joint investigation team (JIT) inside the Karachi Central Prison in March 2014, he had confessed to having killed, along with his accomplices, 10 policemen and an army soldier.

The JIT report reviewed by Dawn revealed that he (Mufti Shakir) had once presented himself for the suicide attack on SP Chaudhry Aslam but was prevented from doing so.

The report further said that Shakir had submitted fake documents in order to get bail.

JIT report provides shocking details of how Shakir groomed suicide bomber

It said Shakir was born in 1981 in the SITE area and was raised among six brothers and nine sisters. He received primary education from the KMC school there but later studied at three famous seminaries of Karachi where he memorised Quran by heart and completed a course for religious scholars in 2009. In the same year, he established a seminary in SITE and became its principal. The seminary was sealed recently.

Road to militancy

The JIT report disclosed that Shakir joined a militant outfit, Harkatul Mujahideen, when he was studying in a famous seminary in 1996. When differences erupted in the group and Jaish-i-Mohammad emerged in 2000, he abandoned it.

However, in 2012, he joined outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (Khyber Agency) on persuasion of the outfit’s then Karachi chief.

He received militancy training in Mansehra in 1999 and bomb making in Khyber Agency in 2012 and carried out three bomb blasts on an experimental basis there.

Criminal history

Shakir told the JIT members that in July 2012 he had received a ‘chit’ amounting to Rs10,000 as fine imposed by the TTP (KA) on him. The TTP (KA) in its chit had said they were imposing the fine on him because two of his brothers had links with CID personnel and advised him to stay away from them.

He further told the JIT members that subsequently he along with his mother and two brothers visited the Khyber Agency where he met TTP (KA) chief and rejected the charges.

After staying there for 40 days, he returned to Karachi where he started working for TTP (KA) and formed a cell which comprised 10 persons, four of whom were killed later.

He had also ‘confessed’ to having killed, along with his accomplices, 10 policemen and an army soldier from 2013 till his arrest in early 2014. During this period, he along with his accomplices carried out around 20-25 attacks, including grenade attacks, on police vans.

The victims were identified as army soldier Imran, CID head moharir, police constables namely Mohammed Anwar, Mohammed Sher, Pervez Akhtar, Shahzad Raza, Rajab Ali, Rashid, Amir, Shabbir, Waqar and Fazl Amin. All law enforcers were gunned down in the SITE area in 2013.

In the same year, he had also attacked a police van outside a factory along with his accomplices Fazl Rehman and Abdullah alias Mukhtar (both killed later on).

Suicide attack on Chaudhry Aslam

Shakir radicalised a seminary student, Naeemullah, 25, who carried out the suicide attack on SP Aslam on January 9, 2014. The alleged suicide bomber was a son of a religious scholar who ran a seminary in the Pirabad area.

The report revealed that Shakir had developed ties with one militant linked with banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ) who in December 2013 asked him to provide a suicide bomber for carrying out the attack on SP Aslam.

Initially, Shakir indicated his desire to carry out the attack but the LJ militant told him that he was a “religious scholar” and his preaching skills “were needed more.”

Therefore, another person was prepared for the attack.

Shakir mentally prepared Naeemullah and motivated him at his home for seven to eight days continuously.

During this period, Naeemullah told Shakir that he belonged to TTP (Swat) and without approval of his group’s chief, he could not carry out the terror act. However, Mufti Shakir motivated him that SP Aslam was such an “important target” that the consent of the emir (chief) was not needed, according to the JIT report.

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