Most wanted Al Qaeda suspects arrested from Karachi?
ISLAMABAD: Has Pakistan arrested two of the most wanted Al Qaeda leaders and quietly shifted them to an unidentified place – possibly out of the country?
Eyewitnesses have told Daily Times Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and Sheikh Ahmed Salim were arrested from Karachi. Sources said they were immediately handed over to the FBI.
There has been no official confirmation. Lt-Gen ® Moinuddin Haider, the federal interior minister, in fact, has denied such reports.
But the building in-charge of Jeelani Centre in Kharadar, a thickly populated area of Karachi, claims that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested from ‘Apartment number 715’ in a raid by the Karachi Police on June 16 this year. He immediately identified the man, without any hesitation, from a picture shown to him.
“First, two persons had come and asked questions from the watchman on duty. I took them upstairs as I knew the people and while we were going up, the man whom they said they wanted to see was coming downstairs and they arrested him. Then they informed somebody of the arrest from a wireless set, and within no time police, commandos and men in plain clothes reached the spot. FBI agents also came a little later. They looked like Englishmen and they came in a car… probably an embassy vehicle. They took the man, his brother and the lady of the house along with them. They also took their luggage. After some days they returned and took away the rest of their luggage in four big boxes. Then after about a month and a half, the lady came to us and asked for her luggage. We gave her all her possession and money after we confirmed from the Senior Superintendent of Karachi Police (SSP), Tariq, and from the SHO Women Police Station, Sajida Jamali, that she has been released,” the building in-charge said. It was learnt through neighbours that the woman was an Iranian national and left for the US where she intends to file a case against the arrest of her husband, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.
The building in-charge said the police also took away a computer from the building.
SSP Tariq confirmed that two foreigners -- an Arab and an Iranian -- were arrested but refused to say more.
The building in-charge also said that before arresting the man, the officials took out a picture and matched his face and only after ‘confirming’, they arrested him and informed others.
Similarly, sources in Karachi, including some eye-witnesses firmly believe that Sheikh Ahmed Salim, another top Al Qaeda activist was arrested on July 11 this year from another spot in Methadar -- an area very close to the one from where a month later Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested.
Sources in Karachi said Sheikh Ahmed Salim was arrested on the information provided to the investigators by a member of a banned sectarian group, who was in police custody in Karachi. Unofficial sources told Daily Times that during the raid to arrest Sheikh Ahmed Salim, two persons -- an Arab and a local -- escaped and the security and intelligence agencies were looking for them.
Sources believe Khalid Sheikh Mohammad’s interview, which the Al-Jazeera TV network intends to air next Thursday, was taken a few days before Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was arrested.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and Sheikh Ahmed Salim are among the top 22 Al Qaeda ‘most wanted terrorists’ with a head money of US$25 million, offered under the ‘Rewards For Justice Program’ of the US State Department.
Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan was arrested from a congested locality called ‘Bartan Gali’ or ‘100 building’ area in Methadar in Karachi. Eyewitnesses said the raid came at around 8:30am. There is a complex of three-storey flats in this area. Sheikh Ahmed Salim was allegedly arrested from Flat No-11 on the third (top) floor of one of these buildings. One of the witnesses said the flat was not marked No 11 but it was the 11th apartment out of 12 in the building and was, therefore, so referred.
One of the officials who questioned him after his arrest in Karachi later also identified the picture of Sheikh Ahmed Salim, confirming that the man was arrested on July 11 from the Methadar area.