KARACHI: The Anti-Terrorism Court on Monday charged five suspects with allegedly facilitating the attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi in 2018.
Defendants include Ahmed Hasnain, Muhammad Aslam, Nadir Khan, Ali Ahmed and Abdul Latif, who are said to be linked to the ethnic rebel group Balochistan Liberation Army. They were detained by the Counter-Terrorism Department in January 2019 for allegedly providing tactical and logistical support to the attackers.
According to investigating officers, Latif and Aslam had confessed to the crime before a court judge a week after their arrest. However, during the trial at ATC-VII, all of the defendants denied the allegations and chose to challenge the case. Three heavily armed militants attacked the Chinese Consulate located in the Clifton Block-4 high security zone on 23 November 2018. Four people, including security personnel and visa seekers, were killed in the ambush.
The attackers, later identified as Abdul Razzaq, Raees Baloch and Afzal Baloch, also died in a gun battle with police. A large number of weapons, ammunition and explosives were recovered from the attackers. Apart from the suspect, the police have also charged the Head of BLA Marriage Hyrbyair and other leaders Kareem Marri, Bashir Zaib, Aslam Baloch, Noor Bakhsh Mengal, Rehman Gul, Nisar, Gaindi, Sheikhu Sharif, Hamal, Agha Sher Dil and Munshi. All have been declared offenders in the case.
A court at an earlier hearing ordered police to approach Interpol to arrest Hyrbyair, who lives in exile and is suspected of masterminding attacks from a foreign country. The judge also issues continuous arrest warrants for the fugitives.
The judge has also ordered the seizure of all movable and immovable property belonging to the escapees and ordered investigating officers to release their sketches for public assistance in tracking them down. Earlier, IO had told the court that neither NADRA nor the Pakistani Election Commission had any fugitive identification data.
According to the indictment, the attack was carried out by the BLA in collaboration with the Indian Intelligence Agency Research and Analysis Wing to damage relations between Pakistan and China and disrupt the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.
It added that the attackers were in constant contact with Hyrbyair and other suspects, who were suspected to be facilitators, of the terrorist attacks. It said four Kalashnikovs, two improvised explosive devices, detonators, hand grenades, explosives and bullets were also seized from the attackers.