LAHORE: Two people were arrested by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on Friday for their alleged involvement in the suicide bombing in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park last year.
The attack, which occurred on March 27 last year, resulted in the death of at least 74 people with another 340 injured. The bomber had detonated himself near the swings in the park which had been crowded with people celebrating Easter. The attack had drawn widespread condemnation with it being seen as targeting the Christian community in particular.
Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) Jamatul Ahrar Group Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan had claimed responsibility for the attack.
The government had constituted a probe into the incident at the time, which included members from the police, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB). A report subsequently released after the investigation claimed that the attack had been carried out on the direction of Jamatul Ahrar Emir Abdul Wali with the group’s Lahore head Muhammad Khan planning the bombing.
The two men arrested, Shahidullah and Khanzaib, belonging to the Mohmand Agency in FATA were residing in Barkat town at the time. A spokesman for the counter-terrorism force said that the suspects had been arrested through using electronic intelligence as their calls were intercepted by the agencies. He added that they had a direct involvement in the attack.
According to the details released from the investigation, Umar Khurasani, the alias used by Abdul Wali, had sent the alleged suicide attacker Nasir from Afghanistan to Lahore, through a suspect identified as Ibrahim, in order to execute the bombing. Subsequently, Nasir had been given into the care of three suspects, namely Muzamil, Abdul Hannan and Hukam Khan.
The three men had then assisted Nasir in entering the park on the day, under a veil, where he detonated the suicide jackets he had been provided by two further suspects, Shoukat and Tawakal Jaan. Shahidullah and Khanzaib had earlier scouted out the park in order to prepare the plan and had been present outside the park at the time of the attack.
A suspect identified as Ibrahim transported the suicide attacker from Afghanistan to Lahore, where Muzamil, Abdul Hannan and Hukam Khan received him. Hukam Khan then took the suicide attacker to his house in Iqbal Town, where he stayed for two to three days.
The report on the attack also stated that, “The suicide attacker did not enter the park from the main gate but went to the side where the wall was broken. The suicide attacker was directed to approach the crowded place of the park and it was there he exploded himself near the swings.”
A counter-terrorism official said that the forces were working to arrest the other eight suspects, though some of them had fled to Afghanistan.