Karachi Police probing TTP’s role in Raza Haider’s killing
By Ali K Chishti
LAHORE: Daily Times has learnt that the Karachi Police and the Intelligence Bureau is investigating the role of a top leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Qari Muhammad Zafar alias Ustad-e-Fidayeen, in the assassination of MQM leader Raza Haider.
It is being suspected that Zafar is the chief architect of the killing of Raza Haider, who was shot along with his guard inside a mosque in Karachi on August 2, 2010.
Zafar, who is on the US State Department’s “wanted-list”, has head money of $5 million and he is also believed to be behind the bombing at the US Consulate on March 2, 2006.
An investigator who has followed Qari Zafar told Daily Times, “So important is Qari Zafar to the TTP that they faked his death so he could work in peace – he runs Hakeemullah Mehsud’s Karachi Chapter and has hundreds of operatives working for him in the city”.
On February 24 this year, a US drone targeted a vehicle and a compound run by the Haqqanis at Dargi Mandi near North Waziristan, and claimed that Qari Zafar had been killed in the attack.
As it turned out, the TTP faked Zafar’s death and the TTP leader is also believed to be behind the Ashura procession attack and the Nishtar Park bombing in Karachi.
Zafar is a senior leader of the Fidayeen-e-Islam, an alliance between the TTP and anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaish-e-Muhammad. The group was based in South Waziristan and has moved to North Waziristan only recently.
Sources say that the LeJ is being single-handedly led by Zafar, who has become a trusted member of al Qaeda thanks to Qari Hussain Mehsud – a close aide of Hakeemullah Mesud.
“The worst part is that Zafar is a Karachiite of Pakhtun origins, so he knows the ball game,” one investigator told Daily Times.
Following the MQM’s tough stance and opposition to a deal with Sufi Abdullah and TTP Swat chief Fazlullah in parliament, it was Qari Zafar who was tasked with teaching the MQM “a lesson”.
The sources said, Zafar sent out various messages and communications that were intercepted by intelligence agencies, who subsequently informed the MQM leadership to keep a “low profile”.
One of the plans of Qari Abdullah was to explode a C4-filled truck at MQM headquarters, which gave out clues to the investigators that Qari Zafar was also involved in the Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad on September 20, 2008.
Apparently, Zafar had to cancel the plan to attack MQM headquarters due to unprecedented security.
It was then the TTP, along with Qari Zafar, that opted to go for “softer targets” of the MQM, which included the party’s lower and mid-cadre unit and sector members.
At the same time, due to sectarian inclination of the LeJ, Shia members of the MQM were made primary targets and the hit list had on it top MQM leaders, including MQM’s top leader Haider Abbas Rizvi.
Intelligence officials said “leaders like Dr Farooq Sattar, Faisal Sabzwari are also on the list”.
Investigators are also looking into the assassination of Raza Haider, which one of the investigators said resembled the target killing of Maj Gen (r) Faisal Alavi, a former SSG commander who was killed in Rawalpindi in November 2008.
Intelligence agencies confirmed that it was none other than Qari Zafar himself who dispatched a suicide bomber to kill Shia leader Allama Hasan Turabi at his residence, besides also ordering the recent killings of Shias in the city.
It was also revealed that Zafar had been caught by law enforcement agencies once, but he had managed to escape.