QUETTA, Feb 19: Four members of a banned organisation were killed and seven arrested in a pre-dawn targeted operation launched by Frontier Corps in Killi Qambrani area of the provincial capital on Tuesday.
Separately, police conducted a search operation in Killi Badini area, on the outskirts of the city, and took into custody about 170 suspects. Haji Rafiq Mengal, a provincial leader of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, was among the arrested people.
Provincial Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani told Dawn that the alleged mastermind of the Quetta explosion was among those arrested.
Sources said that the FC, on a tip-off about the presence of some suspects, cordoned off the area late on Monday night. When FC personnel started moving towards suspects’ position in early hours of the morning they opened fire on them. The personnel returned fire and the exchange of fire continued for several hours. Two personnel received bullet wounds.Col Maqbool of the FC claimed that men killed in the encounter were members of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. Among the seven arrested people, two were suspected teenage suicide bombers, he said, adding that the FC seized two suicide jackets, 80kg of explosives, three Kalashnikovs, two rockets, two anti-personnel mines, hundreds of rounds, one IED, ball-bearings, three remote controls and a huge quantity of ammunition.
He identified the dead as Shah Wali from Rahimyar Khan, Abdul Wahab alias Doctor from Kohlu, Anwar Khan from Karachi, and Saleem Khan from Quetta.
Col Maqbool also claimed that the mastermind of Quetta’s explosion was among the arrested people. However, he did not disclose his name.
Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat’s leader Allama Abdul Rahim Sajid condemned the arrest of Haji Rafiq Mengal and other members of his organisation. He claimed that police raided madressahs in Killi Badini, Akhtarabad and other areas and arrested many people, including 15 students.
He called for the release of Haji Rafiq Mengal and others.