Karachi: Pakistani authorities arrested a major recruiter of suicide bombers and seized explosives and heroin in separate raids that prevented several terrorist attacks in the country`s south and east, police said on Monday.
Police arrested six suspected Taliban militants on Monday in two raids in the eastern city of Sargodha, foiling plots to attack politicians and places of worship, police chief Usman Anwar said.
In the southern commercial centre of Karachi, Pakistan`s largest city, police arrested seven members of another al Qaeda-linked group and seized suicide vests, explosives and heroin, officials said on Monday.
Pakistan has been hit by hundreds of terrorist attacks blamed on various militant groups, including the Pakistani Taliban, which has seen confusion over its leadership since chief Baitullah Mehsud was apparently killed in a US missile strike on August 05 near the Afghan border.
Sargodha police chief Anwar said the militants arrested on Monday were linked to Mehsud`s Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan and had planned to launch strikes next week on foreign targets, politicians and two places of worship. He said the raids had "prevented mayhem”.
Among the six arrested in Sargodha was Zaid Mustafa, who Anwar said recruited potential suicide bombers for training in Afghanistan and who is suspected to be the main link between Taliban in northwestern tribal regions and extremists in other parts of the country.
"Every time the Taliban in tribal areas wanted to carry out an attack in Pakistani cities, Zaid would certainly be on board," Anwar said. He said Mustafa is suspected of providing logistics, explosives and other support to militants in terror attacks in Lahore, Karachi or Rawalpindi.
The seven militants arrested in Karachi were members of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi movement, blamed for two failed assassination attempts against former president Pervez Musharraf and the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
Karachi police officer Fayyaz Khan said that raid provided rare intelligence on how drug money is transferred among Muslim extremist groups cooperating to fight the Pakistani and Afghan governments as well as foreign troops in Afghanistan.
The group smuggled the heroin to Singapore, Malaysia, China and United Arab Emirates, and the profits were used to finance terrorist activities, Khan said.