By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: The March 3 attack at the Liberty Chowk in Lahore, targeting the Sri Lankan cricket team, is believed to be a joint operation of the RAW and an influential international spy agency, marked with exceptional sophistication that is simply beyond the reach of local elements, sources reveal.
The Manawan terrorist attack, also in Lahore, however, was the handiwork of a local terrorist network led by Baitullah Mehsud. As the authorities made remarkable progress in the Sri Lankan attack, initially considered to be a blind case, investigations show that the amount of money supplied, the type of weapons used, the sophistication applied and the planning of this strike was such that it clearly had the signatures of some international spy agencies, including RAW.
While there are quite a few unique things observed by the investigators in this case, the authorities are simply surprised to detect that a fake Nadra ID card captured by the police and belonging to one of the attackers had all the security features available on the genuine Nadra cards.
According to a source, in order to prepare such a fine Nadra card, dies similar to those acquired by the Security Printing of Pakistan from Switzerland were used. An investigating officer said that the Switzerland-based competing brand of the firm, which had provided these special dies to Pakistan, were approached to make a perfect copy of Nadra cards that were in use of the terrorists, all of whom had escaped after the Liberty attack.
All the security features, hologram, ink and dies, everything was perfect. However, the only slip found was the signature of the former Nadra chairman Salim Moeen instead of the incumbent Ali Arshad Hakeem.
The date of issue of this ID card coincided with the tenure of Hakeem but it had the name of Moeen. The ID card was found by the Lahore police from one of the car dealers from whom the attackers had purchased three rickshaws and two cars.
None of these vehicles was snatched. All were purchased from the market for which the same ID card was used. The police secured the sale-purchase details of all these vehicles and found that in one case, the fake ID card used was deposited with one of the dealers while in all other cases photocopies of the same card were submitted. All the three rickshaws and two vehicles were merely used to reach the Liberty area as the attackers abandoned them while fleeing from the site of the terrorist attack.
In yet another smart move, the attackers, 10 in number, and their two handlers, purchased new mobile sets and SIMs by using the photocopies of genuine ID cards belonging to different people, none of whom had any connection with this terrorist network. None of them knew of the purchase of mobile SIMs, acquired by using the copies of their cards.
Details acquired from the concerned cellular networks also reveal that all the calls made or received from these 12 SIMs were only to each other. None of these SIMs either made or received any call from any other outside number.
Amongst the weapons used by these attackers, the authorities got hold of four anti tank disposable rockets of the same make, which are only in the use of the Indian Army. Two of these rockets were fired by the attackers while the other two remained unused. It is relevant to mention here that the Crime Investigation Department (CID), Punjab, had precisely warned the provincial government on January 22, 2009 about the RAWís plan to target the Sri Lankan cricket team during its visit to Pakistan.
The CID, while referring to a source report, had clearly said that this terrorist attack would be carried out especially while the Sri Lankan team would be traveling ìbetween the hotel and stadium or at hotel during their stayî. What the whole world saw on March 3, precisely happened the same way.
While the foreign intelligence agencies have used their expertise, money and planning, the attackers are believed to be all locals including those belonging to banned organisations like Laskar-e-Jhangvi and some other proscribed outfits.
Regarding the Manawan attack, these sources said that it was the work of Baitullah Mehsud. One main player of the Manawan attack and six-seven key facilitators have been arrested and are presently being interrogated by the authorities.