Thatta has been in the scanner of Indian intelligence for being home to training camps for Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and other Pak-backed terror groups. It is also a well-known launchpad for trained terrorists.
The investigation and the interrogation of suspects has not only revealed details of how Pakistan’s military has been training recruits from India and Bangladesh, but it has also exposed an altogether new route adopted by ISI to admit the draftees into Pakistan and the Afghanistan-Pak region.
The Indian agents, sources said, were tracking a Delhi youth, Mohammad Osama alias Sami, since April-end when he left the country. The review of his passport and travel details show that Osama left for Muscat, Oman, on April 22 by Salaam Air flight from Lucknow. After reaching Muscat, Osama was summoned to a flat where he met another man named Zeeshan who had reached there from Prayagraj in UP (also arrested in this case). Soon, they were joined by 15-16 Bangladeshi nationals. They were divided into sub-groups, and Zeeshan and Osama found themselves in the same group.
“Over the next few days, the recruits made several short sea journeys, changing boats a number of times. They were taken to a town named Jiwani near Gwadar port in Pakistan,” disclosed Pramod Kushwaha, DCP (Special Cell). The accused, who are being interrogated by a special team led by ACP Lalit Mohan Negi and Hriday Bhushan, have confirmed during questioning that their group was received by a Pakistani national after reaching Jiwani and then taken to a farmhouse in Thatta city in Sindh province.
“There were three Pakistani nationals at the farmhouse,” added Kushwaha. “Two of them, Jabbar and Hamza, imparted training to the group. Both were from the Pakistan Army as evidenced by their military uniforms.” The recruits were also taken to Karachi, the six arrested men have revealed.
The training, which the recruits referred to as Askari or military course, lasted for around 15 days. They were trained in IED assembly and bomb making, apart from ways in which to carry out arson using items of daily use. They were also trained in handling small firearms and AK-47s. After the training, the group was taken back to Muscat via the same route and then scattered as per the schedule decided by Anees Ibrahim.
The investigators are now busy ascertaining what the module and its sleeper cells have been up to in the last three months. Delhi Police has a confirmed tip-off that several consignments of armament were being dispatched to India as part of the operation. On Tuesday evening, the accused were jointly interrogated about a consignment of 100 pistols, cartridges, a tiffin bomb and five grenades dropped in Amritsar, Punjab, by a drone in August. Cops suspect the weapons and explosives was destined for members of this group. The tiffin bomb also had 2-3kg of RDX.
The arms, explosives and ammunition recovered in the current operation are being studied by experts to trace their source and the network.
The investigators are also trying to trace the Bangladeshi trainees. The antecedents of Osama and Zeeshan are also being ascertained. The former has claimed to have studied up to BA third year at Allahabad University. Abu Bakar is a hafiz by profession, while Jaan Mohammed Sheikh alias Sameer Kaliya has been a D Company member for two decades, cops said.