The chief of Ansar-ul-Shariah in Pakistan—known as Dr Abdullah Hashmi, who also happens to be the spokesperson of the outfit—was arrested by security forces in a raid conducted in Kaneez Fatima society in Karachi.
A security source confirmed the arrest to a news channel on Tuesday, adding that more than six suspected terrorists were arrested in an intelligence-based operation (IBO) conducted by forces and intelligence agencies.
Sources have revealed that the suspected terrorists used to communicate through a mobile app; furthermore, security forces have claimed to have recovered weapons, laptops, videos and literature from the arrested individuals.
Ansar-ul-Shariah had 10 to 12 militants within its ranks, sources added, also revealing that one of the arrested individuals was a graduate of a British university and the group comprised of highly educated militants.
The ones arrested are said to be previously affiliated with Daesh, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and al-Qaeda.
Sources said that the head of the outfit went by the alias Dr Abdullah Hashmi, but security forces believe that this was not his real name. Sheheryar aka Abdullah Hashmi, worked as an IT (Information technology) expert and was employee of NED university in the computer department. He received his Master’s degree in Applied Physics from the University of Karachi.
It is pertinent to mention here that the group was behind an attempt on the life of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan.
Meanwhile, police are searching for the suspected mastermind of the attack on Izharul Hassan.
The banned outfit Ansar-ul-Shariah’s commander, Sarosh Siddiqui, who escaped a police raid on Monday, is the mastermind of the attack and a student of Karachi University, police said.
According to security forces, Ansar-ul-Shariah has been involved in multiple terrorist attacks in Karachi and Mastung, one of the initial ones being the murder of a retired army colonel.
Police officials also believe that the banned outfit was behind several attacks on police officials in Karachi in the past few months and an IED blast targeting security forces in Mastung.
The outfit was influenced by al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Initially, it operated under Daesh’s umbrella, however, differences led to a shift later.
As per the sources, the group includes militants from Al Qaeda Subcontinent, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Daesh, sources said.