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Punjab Timeline- 2008



January 7

Police arrested five suspected terrorists from Sargodha. The suspected terrorists belonging to a defunct group were arrested from the Darima area along with suicide jackets and explosives. During investigation, they reportedly confessed that they were involved in the suicide attack at Police Lines and the Air Force bus, and have also confessed that Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had been on their hit list.

January 10

At least 24 people, including 17 policemen, were killed and 80 others injured in a suicide bomb blast outside the Lahore High Court, minutes before the arrival of an anti-government lawyers’ procession. The blast ripped through GPO Chowk in front of the Lahore High Court as the suicide bomber walked up to the about 60 riot police – who had gathered there ahead of a protest by lawyers against President Pervez Musharraf’s government – and blew himself up. About 200 lawyers were inside the High Court at the time of the blast, and others were marching from a nearby district court.

Army troops have been deployed in 22 districts of Punjab to protect people and vital installations during Muharram in view of the security alarm raised by the suicide bombing. The Rangers will protect important installations like airports, railway stations, Pakistan Television and radio offices, Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Governor’s House and civil secretariat. The overall law and order would be the responsibility of police and troops would stand by at designated places and could be called in for assistance in case of an emergency at one-hour notice, said Home Secretary Khusrao Pervaiz Khan.

January 14

Police in the Faisalabad city arrested 36 suspected terrorists in a search operation following reports of the presence of suicide bombers in the city. Meanwhile, caretaker Interior minister Lt General (r) Hamid Nawaz Khan said that security agencies arrested eight suspected terrorists from Sargodha and Mianwali. The five men held in Sargodha were involved in a bomb blast. He said 37 kg explosives had been seized from one group and 30 kg from the other. Suspects held in Faisalabad reportedly include people from the tribal areas. Several Afghans were also detained, but released after they proved their identity.

January 15

The police foiled a bid of suicide attacks at the residences of regional police officer (RPO) and district police officer (DPO) on University Road beside attacks on the life of religious leaders and politicians on January 13-night and arrested six potential suicide bombers in Sargodha. RPO Hamid Mukhtar Gondal and DPO Waseem Ahmad Sial stated that five suicide bombers riding on motorbikes were on their way to attack their residences when police arrested them. Later, the suspects reportedly led the police to seize 30 kilogram’s of explosives with detonators, pressure cooker bombs, promo cards, batteries with circuits, wireless remote control panels, gas cylinder bombs and motorbikes and other lethal weapons.

January 16

The Chakwal police said that they had arrested a suicide bomber and seized eight kilograms of explosive material and other bomb devices from him. Chakwal District Police Officer Maqsood Khan told a press conference that police raided a house in the Thoha Mehram Khan village and arrested Abdul Ghafoor, a 23-year-militant with links to the banned LeJ and HuM.

January 17

Police in the Mianwali district claimed to have foiled a terrorism bid when it arrested three ‘potential car bombers’ when their car had an accident on the Bannu-Mianwali Road on December 21, 2007. The ‘potential bombers’ later revealed to the police that former federal minister Sumaira Malik belonging to the adjacent Khushab district was their target; and had they not been struck in the accident, she would have been targeted the next day in a suicide attack. The three militants were identified as Wasif Ali Shah of Bannu in the NWFP, Niaz Bahadur and Abdul Rahman from Miranshah in North Waziristan. During interrogation, they revealed that they belonged to terrorist groups, headed by Faqiro and Darpa, who were working under the supervision of Maulana Said Khan, the superintendent of Fazal Qadar seminary in Miranshah’s main bazaar. Said Khan is further linked to Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Regional Police Officer Hamid Mukhtar Gondal stated that the militants revealed that one Ghulam Nabi was spearheading all suicide attacks in the Punjab province.

Terrorists targeted the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra, firing four rockets at short intervals. One of rockets landed on the roof of the senior non-commissioned officers’ mess and two others hit airmen’s residences inside the Mirage Rebuilt Factory. The fourth rocket exploded in a field near the Qutba village, close to the Kamra Cantonment. However, no casualty was reported. This is reportedly the second incident of terrorism targeting the Kamra cantonment in a little more than a month.

January 18

11 suicide bombers have entered Rawalpindi and Islamabad to hit their targets during the month of Muharram, intelligence agencies have claimed.

January 19

A blast outside the house of PML-N Balochistan President Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir partially damaged his house in Loralai in Lahore. However, no casualties were reported.

January 24

Security agencies arrested six suspected terrorists from Rawalpindi and seized explosive-laden jackets and ammunition from them.

February 4

At least 10 people were killed and about 10 others sustained injuries when unidentified assailants carried out an explosion targeting a bus carrying security force personnel near the headquarters of Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi in Punjab Province. The explosion occurred at 7.15am (PST) outside the gate of the army's National Logistics Cell in R.A. Bazar, a high security area as it is located very close to the General Headquarters. The blast completely destroyed the bus, several cars and motorcycles, eyewitnesses said. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Punjab Home Secretary Khusro Pervaiz Khan said that security agencies had arrested three alleged would-be suicide bombers and seized suicide jackets and explosives from their possession. He told a private television channel that the arrested "suicide bombers" had disclosed that four more suicide bombers had entered southern Punjab and Lahore to target politicians.

February 10

The security agencies arrested 40 people suspected to be activists of banned militant groups. The Ghaziabad police arrested 30 men from a rented house near Muhammadpura railway crossing. Separately, police raided the RA Bazaar and arrested seven suspects. The arrested belonged to the banned Sunni group LeJ and were allegedly involved in the Rawalpindi blast. During another raid in Saddar Bazaar, police arrested three members of the LeJ. The Mughalpura Superintendent of Police, P. Sajjad Manj, said Rustam Ali, who was a member of the proscribed SSP, owned the house. However, he escaped the raid. Two Kalashnikovs, three 222s, a shotgun and rifles were seized from them.

February 14

Two alleged terrorists, Wahab and Abdullah, were arrested from Sargodha along with two kilograms of explosive material and a Kalashnikov. Two of their associates, identified as Hafiz Saeed Ghani and Fahd Mithu, were reported to have managed to escape.

February 19

In the Punjab province, the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) won 101 seats out of 280, while the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and independent candidates got 78 and 35 seats, respectively. The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) got 66 seats.

February 25

A suicide bomber killed eight people, including the Pakistan Army’s surgeon general, in Rawalpindi - the highest-ranking military official killed since the country joined the US-led war on terror. Lieutenant General Mushtaq Baig, surgeon general and Director-General of the army’s Medical Services, died after a teenage suicide bomber blew himself up next to a military convoy on a busy road in Rawalpindi. Five civilians were also killed, while 25 others were injured, an army statement said.

February 25

Security force personnel arrested a militant connected to the October 18, 2007, assassination attempt on slain former premier Benazir Bhutto. Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told AFP that Benazir Bhutto had accused Qari Saifullah Akhtar of plotting against her in her posthumously published memoirs. A close ally of Taliban chief Mullah Omar, Saifullah was arrested along with his three sons from an under-construction mosque in Ferozwala.

February 26

Police in Lahore arrested four members of the banned Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) from Nawankot bus stand in the Kotwali area and seized from them explosives and weapons. The accused confessed, during preliminary interrogation, that they had planned sabotage activities including bomb blasts in Lahore, besides assassination of key political and religious personalities and senior police officials. The arrested militants were identified as Muhammad Asif Ali alias Hasan Moosa, Abdur Rahman, Mureed Ahmad and Fahad Munir. Police officials said that Munir was the nephew of LeJ leader Riaz Basra.

February 27

Police in Jhang said that they had arrested three terror suspects carrying two suicide jackets and chemicals in Shorkot on February 26-night. Jhang District Police Officer Amjad Javed stated that the terrorists, identified as Ghulam Shabir, Muhammad Amin and Muhammad Ramazan, were arrested from Mir Wala Bridge and were attempting to target prominent politicians. The three men were suspected to be members of the outlawed Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), APP reported local police officer Pervez Tareen Sardar as having said.

March 3

Police arrested around 15 suspected terrorists from various areas of Rawalpindi. Special police teams are reported to have searched a total of 866 houses in the Shah Khalid Colony, Ghareebabad, Rehmatabad and Shah Faisal Colony areas and subsequently arrested 15 suspects.

March 4

Eight persons were killed and 24 others sustained injuries when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the parking area of the Pakistan Navy War College in Lahore. The incident occurred at around 1:10 pm (PST) when classes in the Pakistan Navy War College were in progress. Eyewitnesses and police officials said five Navy officials and two suicide bombers died on the spot while one Navy official succumbed to injuries at a hospital.

March 5

Police in Lahore have arrested at least 13 persons in connection with the March 4-suicide attack on the Naval War College.

March 6

Police in Lahore arrested three suspected suicide bombers of a defunct militant outfit who were planning attacks on prominent personalities. They also recovered 50-kilogram explosive material, four suicide jackets, two bottles of explosive chemical and a bundle of electric detonators from their possession. Capital City Police Officer Malik Muhammad Iqbal told a news conference that the police had information that three bombers were coming to Lahore from the FATA with explosive material. The police subsequently raided the Shafiqabad area and arrested the three bombers identified as Abdul Majid Rashid alias Wali Hasan of Rahimyar Khan, Qamar Saleem of Gujranwala and Nadeem Shehzad alias Qari of Kot Radha Kishan. However, their group identity was not disclosed.

March 11

At least 30 people were killed and more than 200 sustained injuries in suicide blasts at the FIA headquarters and an advertising agency office in Lahore. The first attack was carried out at the FIA regional headquarters on Temple Road, severely damaging the eight-storey establishment and adjacent buildings. The building also housed the offices of a special US-trained unit created to counter terrorism. The second attack was carried out on Bungalow No 83/F in Model Town – the office of an advertising agency. Two children and a gardener died in the bombing and about 12 people were injured. The advertising agency is located near Bilawal House, office of the Pakistan People’s Party. Police said around 50kg and 30kg of explosives had been used in the two attacks.

Sources said police arrested 27 suspects from Lahore, Gujranwala, Sargodha and Okara. 15 of them were detained during raids in the Awan Town, Shahdara, Misri Shah and Bilal Gunj in Lahore. Police also seized a large quantity of explosives in the raids.

March 12

Police arrested more than 50 suspects in province-wide raids in connection with the suicide attacks in Lahore on March 11, and were investigating whether al Qaeda was behind the attacks. Police sources said the suspects, most of them from banned militant groups, were arrested from Lahore, Faisalabad, Okara, Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur. Deputy Inspector General (Investigations) Tasadaq Hussain said plastic explosive C4 was used in the attacks.

March 13

A meeting of security agencies named al Qaeda and pro-Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud as the prime suspects in the twin suicide attacks in Lahore on March 11. Sources privy to the meeting said representatives of intelligence agencies, the Federal Investigation Agency, Punjab Police and the Crime Investigation Department said Lahore was being targeted because it housed the regional headquarters of various security agencies. Investigators said at the meeting that Lahore was not a new target as intelligence had arrested 48 suspects including seven would-be suicide bombers from the provincial capital and seized 640 kilograms of explosives before Muharram.

The Punjab Police arrested 15 more suspects in connection with the bombings. Police also conducted several raids in southern Punjab.

March 14

Police in the Chakwal city arrested four persons on charges of their alleged links with the banned LeT.

March 25

The Mianwali district police arrested a suspected would-be suicide bomber, identified as Ahmad, near Dara Tang. A diary containing vital information, 20 CDs and material related to bomb were recovered from his possession. The diary reportedly contained information about Taliban activity and addresses of Taliban militants and the CDs had footages of some successful operations conducted by the militants. Dara Tang check post is the entry point from the NWFP, some 80km from Mianwali city.

March 27

A joint team of intelligence agencies and Lahore Police arrested two alleged terrorists for facilitating the suicide bombings at GPO and the Pakistan Naval War College. Police said that they had seized a "huge quantity of explosives", including suicide vests, detonators, and ball bearings, from the suspected terrorists’ possession. Capital City Police Officer Malik Muhammad Iqbal and Deputy Inspector General of Police Tassaduq Hussain told a press conference that Muhammad Shahzad and Nadim Hussain were members of the South Waziristan-based militant organisation Tanzeem Jihad Islami.

April 11

Police in the Sialkot district have arrested three terror suspects, who they said were planning to carry out suicide bombings. The police said the suspects had confessed they had links with Taliban and al Qaeda. Sialkot District Police Officer Muhammad Amin Owais told the channel that the detained men had tried to abduct a Shia cleric from Allama Iqbal Chowk when a police squad stopped them. Two of them were from Karachi, he said, and one from Quetta. Police officials also said that the suspects had abducted children in the past and sent them to Afghanistan "for brain-washing".

April 15

The intelligence agencies and district police have arrested two militants having links with the Taliban in Afghanistan from the Sialkot city. Addressing a press conference, district police officer (DPO) Capt Muhammad Ameen said that they had arrested Muaz Umer of Quetta and Asim Khan of North Nazimabad in Karachi from Sialkot city a few days ago when they were escaping after abducting a local Shia cleric, Zeeshan alias Shani Shah. The DPO claimed that the duo had also confessed to their involvement in terrorism against Pakistan army in Wana and Hilmand.

June 2

A suspected suicide bomber blew up his car outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad, killing at least eight persons and injuring 30 others. The Danish Foreign minister said a Pakistani cleaner employed at the embassy and a Danish citizen of Pakistani origin had died and three other local employees were hurt, but the embassy’s four Danish staffers were unharmed. There was no claim of responsibility for the blast, but officials said it was likely linked to anger over blasphemous caricatures, which were recently reprinted by Danish newspapers.

The explosion, which occurred at around 1.05pm, damaged the main gate of the embassy and the front of the building. It also left a six-foot deep crater in the road. Windows were also broken in the nearby home of the Indian High Commissioner. Anjum Masood, a manager for the UN-funded group Devolution Trust for Community Empowerment, said dozens of its 100 employees were wounded, mostly by flying glass. Inspector General of Police, Syed Asghar Raza Gardezi, said that it was a suicide attack. Police sources said the car bore a red number plate used only by diplomatic corps, saying this had allowed the vehicle to bypass the police picket set up near the embassy. Interior Secretary Kamal Shah told reporters that initial investigations had revealed the amount of explosives used was in excess of 15 kilograms.

June 6

Police in Rawalpindi foiled a major terror plot, seizing explosives-packed vehicles and arresting four suspected terrorists. Police sources said that the police had seized 1000-kilograms of explosives along with bullets, ball bearings, metal scraps and broken pieces of mirror, adding, religious literature was also seized from the suspected terrorists. They said that the terrorists had been captured after a massive sweep of the city was launched on intelligence reports that three explosives-packed vehicles had entered the city to target sensitive locations. Security forces placed Rawalpindi and Islamabad on red alert following the discovery of the explosives. City Police Officer Rao Muhammad Iqbal said: "It’s true that the city police have arrested four suspected terrorists and seized three explosives-packed vehicles from them. An investigation is underway, although it’s premature to presume anything at this stage." He appealed to people to contact the police as soon as they saw any suspected vehicle or person. According to the sources, preliminary investigations have revealed that the suspected terrorists confessed that they were planning to target the President’s Camp Office and offices of several law-enforcement agencies.

Adviser to Prime Minister, Rehman Malik, claimed that at least six people, including three would-be suicide bombers, had been arrested in Islamabad. He said that preliminary interrogations had been completed, APP reported.

June 7

A bomb explosion occurred in the Sadaat Colony of Multan. Gulgasht Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Muhammad Ashraf, said that a youth, identified as Rauf Yousuf, was making a bomb when it exploded. Yousaf was injured in the blast although he later escaped, the DSP added. Additional Senior Superintendent of Police, Fayaz Khan Sunbal, told reporters that Yousaf had links with a banned outfit. He said no arrests had been made, but that Yousaf’s uncle, Muharram Khan, and his brother, Abdul Rauf, were being questioned. Police sources said Yousaf had plans to target the lawyers’ proposed long march, starting on June 10, adding that they had also obtained useful information from Yousaf’s personal computer. Muharram Khan told Online that Yousaf had been a member of a banned outfit, but "he has come back now and is preparing for his FSc examination".

Six persons were arrested for a terror plot that was foiled when authorities seized three vehicles carrying more than 2,200 pounds of explosives near Islamabad. Crime Investigation Agency chief Rana Muhammad Shahid said the arrested persons were all Pakistani nationals and their targets included President Pervez Musharraf’s Camp Office in Rawalpindi.

June 17

Law-enforcement agencies arrested 14 terror suspects from Lahore and Rawalpindi and seized more than 330-kilogrammes of explosives from them.

Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior Affairs, Rehman Malik, said that six would-be suicide bombers were arrested during the lawyers’ long march last week and security agencies recovered 45-kilogrammes of explosives from them.

June 20

Security agencies arrested three potential suicide bombers from Rawalpindi and seized suicide jackets from their possession. The police also arrested a man for threatening the former with suicide attacks by mail and phone. It said sensitive documents were recovered from the possession of the arrested persons.

July 3

Security agencies arrested five suspected Lashkar-e-Islam militants in Lahore for allegedly plotting suicide attacks. The suspects were arrested from an apartment at Akbar Chowk. Suicide-bomb jackets, explosives, weapons and two vans were seized during the raid.

July 6

20 persons, including 15 policemen, were killed and more than 40 persons sustained injuries in a suicide attack near the Melody Market area of capital Islamabad. The suicide bomber targeted policemen deployed at a rally observing the first year anniversary of an army raid on the Lal Masjid (Red mosque) in Islamabad.

July 9 The Lahore Police arrested four alleged terrorists with links to banned militant groups. Intelligence sources told Daily Times that the police had also seized a large quantity of explosives from the accused.

July 14

Security agencies arrested a top al Qaeda operative along with his two accomplices in Multan. Tanzanian national Muhammad Al Misri, Anwar Muawiya and Muhammad Shahid were arrested from a shutdown ‘Neel Wali Factory’ located on the Abdali Road. Unnamed officials said that Al Misri is closely linked with al Qaeda’s top hierarchy and is also suspected to be behind the series of suicide attacks in Pakistan following the crackdown on the Lal Masjid (Red mosque). Anwar, a resident of Abbotabad, belongs to the banned Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), the sources said, adding Shahid, another LeJ activist, is a local of Multan.

July 15

Lahore Police arrested three alleged would-be suicide bombers and claimed to have foiled a major terrorist attack on the city. The alleged bombers had intended to target important public buildings and foreign installations and the Chuhng Investigation Centre. Sources added that a week earlier, troops had arrested a group of militants from the country’s Northern Areas. During interrogation, the militants revealed their accomplices’ hideouts. Following the information, police raided a house in Farkhabad on July 15 and arrested Qari Muhammad Basit, Mullah Mir and an unidentified accomplice. Police also seized huge quantities of explosive material, ball bearings, detonators, remote controls and two jackets from the arrested men. Maps of some important buildings in the city were also found.

July 30

The Tehreek-e-Islami Taliban Pakistan (TITP) has distributed a 15-days notice to several "un-Islamic" businesses in the Kot Addu city of Muzaffargarh district to shut down or face dire consequences. The TTIP wrote threatening letters to owners of CDs shops, Internet cafes and cable service providers urging them to close down their activities. Similarly, the group warned that women must wear the hijab (veil) to ensure their safety.

August 8

The Lahore Police claimed to have arrested eight suspected terrorists involved in last year’s Sargodha Police Lines and PAF bus attacks. Capital City Police Officer Pervaiz Rathore informed a press conference that a police team arrested eight members of a banned outfit involved in the terrorist attacks. The suspects have been identified as Muhammad Mohsin alias Amir Hamza, Dilshad Ali, Saifullah, Babar Usman, Nasrullah, Zahid Iqbal, Muhammad Usman and Muhammad Shahid. Explosives, 10 grenades, two rocket launchers, two Kalashnikovs and other weapons were recovered from them.

August 11

Members of the Punjab Assembly passed a resolution against President Pervez Musharraf asking him to get a vote of confidence. 321 members of the total 369 are reported to have voted in favour of the resolution while only 25 opposed it. Twenty-three members abstained. The two-point resolution containing a four-point charge sheet demanded President Musharraf to either take a vote of confidence from his electoral college or resign in accordance with Article 44(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan. The resolution said that in case Musharraf failed to do so, the members would call upon and urge parliament to give notice of impeachment in accordance with Article 47 of the Constitution.

August 13

A suicide blast in Lahore killed at least nine persons and injured more than 35, targeting policemen standing guard on the eve of the Independence Day. The attack took place at the busy Dubai Chowk in the Allama Iqbal Town area at about 11:34pm, as citizens poured into the streets before midnight to celebrate the 61st anniversary of Pakistan’s independence, which falls on August 14. Among the dead were two policemen and a woman. Witnesses said a young man with a beard blew himself up near a police van that arrived at the Dubai Chowk traffic signal. Intelligence sources linked the blast to the "recent arrests from Jhang", referring to the detention of members of banned militant groups.

August 21

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) in the high security cantonment town of Wah, around 30 kilometers from capital Islamabad, killing at least 70 persons in what was described as the deadliest attack on a military installation in the country’s history. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack. The POF at Wah is a cluster of about 20 industrial units producing artillery, tank and anti-aircraft ammunition for the Pakistani armed forces. It employs around 25,000 to 30,000 workers.

August 24

Taliban militants blew up 24 video shops with three bombs in a shopping plaza in Attock. While no was killed in the blasts four persons sustained injuries. According to eyewitnesses, the blasts demolished the shops at ground floor of the plaza and broke window panes of adjacent buildings. The video shops owners in the area said that they were receiving threats from Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) to close their business and threatened with serious consequences.

The TTP has sent letters to barbers in the city, asking them either not to shave beards or close their business to avoid serious consequences. These letters said shaving the beards was un-Islamic and threatened them with dire consequences if they violated the advice.

August 26

Eight persons were killed and more than 20 sustained injuries in a bomb blast at a roadside restaurant in the Model Town area on the outskirts of capital Islamabad. About 3.5 kilograms of explosives were used in the device planted at the eatery situated in the Hummark area, officials from the Bomb Disposal Squad told Geo News. Most of the victims were reportedly labourers and drivers.

September 3

Unidentified gunmen fired shots at Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s motorcade in a high security zone on the Islamabad Highway. Rawalpindi City Police Officer Rao Muhammad Iqbal said the motorcade was on its way to the airport to pick the prime minister. "The [prime minister’s] car was going towards the airport when it was fired upon from a small hill… Two bullets hit the driver’s window." "The prime minister and his staff were not in the car," Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah said. A statement by the Prime Minister’s House said two of a number of sniper shots fired on the prime minister’s vehicle hit the window on the driver’s side. "However, because of the robust and comprehensive security measures, the prime minister and all the members of his motorcade remained unharmed," the statement said. Police said more than 20 suspects had been arrested and were being questioned.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. Talking to Reuters, a TTP spokesman said Prime Minister Gilani was attacked because he was responsible for the ongoing offensives against militants in the northwest of Pakistan. "We will continue such attacks on Government officials and installations," said Muslim Khan, the Taliban spokesman in Swat.

September 19

Security was put on high alert across Punjab following reports that four would-be suicide bombers had entered the province, The alleged suicide bombers, aged between 14 and 20, could wreak havoc on a large scale before Eid. The bombers are aiming for law-enforcement personnel and sensitive installations in Punjab.

September 20

A suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives at the Marriott Hotel in capital Islamabad, killing at least 60 people. At least 200 people, including a Pakistan Peoples Party legislator, were injured in the explosion, which ruptured a gas pipeline and triggered a huge blaze. A US national was killed and several foreigners were injured Malik. Police arrested a 14-year-old suspect outside the hotel.

September 21

The Czech ambassador and his Vietnamese partner were among the 53 persons killed in the suicide attack in Islamabad. The United States Defense Department said two American soldiers assigned to the US embassy were also killed in the blast. Meanwhile, a Danish intelligence official was missing. A US official at the Guantanamo naval base told Reuters, "The attack certainly bears all the hallmarks of... Al Qaeda or its associates."

September 22

A group calling itself Fedayeen-i-Islam claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad. According to TV channels, a spokesman for the group told Al Arabiya TV in Islamabad on phone about its involvement in September 20 bomb blast. It could not be ascertained if the group had any link with al Qaeda or Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

An unnamed senior government official told that intelligence departments were investigating the call received by Al Arabiya. "We have not heard the name of the organisation but we are trying to locate its network," he said. Responding to a question, he said it had been confirmed that the call was made from within the country, but not from Islamabad.

September 23

Police are searching for two explosives-laden trucks in the federal capital, Islamabad. The intelligence agencies had informed the police that three trucks loaded with explosives had entered the federal capital. One of them targeted the Marriott Hotel on September 20, while whereabouts of the other two are not known. The sources said the ‘missing’ trucks were still present in the city, adding that a risk of strikes by them had forced the police to put the security on high alert, increase personnel deployment near important buildings, erect pickets on key roads and begin intensive patrolling across Islamabad. Vehicles, especially trucks, were being searched by the police at the pickets, the sources said, adding the police were keeping a close watch on hotels and guesthouses.

September 24

Security agencies arrested two suspects in the Marriott Hotel bombing from Adda Mureedwala, a town located on Samandri Road near Faisalabad. One of the arrested men reportedly runs a public call office (PCO), while the other is a member of a banned religious organisation and wanted by the police. The arrested member of the banned outfit had allegedly congratulated Qari Zafar, a prime suspect in the blast.

The police had arrested 15 people from Rawalpindi. They were pointed out by Mursaleen, a close aide of al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was arrested from Gujranwala on September 21-night.

A Pakistani intelligence agency had warned that Islamabad faced the threat of more attacks and the terrorists could now use small vehicles for the attacks. The group involved in the Marriott attack could now use small vehicles.

The police arrested three men and seized two explosive-laden trucks in the Sara-e-Alamgir area of Jehlum. It said the trucks were headed for Lahore from Rawalpindi and carried equipment used to manufacture fireworks.

September 25

All airports were placed on red alert after a telephone caller warned of a suicide bomb threat to Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto airport.

A hoax call about the presence of a bomb on a Karachi-bound Pakistan International Airlines flight created panic among security personnel and passengers at Allama Iqbal Airport in Lahore

The police are looking for two ‘suicide bombers’ who reportedly drove around Rawalpindi in a rented car and then disappeared near Faizabad on September 25-morning.

September 26

A powerful bomb explosion on a railway track derailed a passenger train in Hasilpur near Bahawalpur in Punjab, killing at least six people, including three children and a woman. The explosion badly damaged two carriages of the train and also injured at least 15 people. A bomb was planted on the track, which exploded when the train reached there (Bahawalpur).

September 28

Unidentified militants abducted a Polish engineer near Attock in Punjab, shooting dead his two drivers and a security guard during the abduction. The engineer’s employer company said he was ambushed when he and his colleagues were traveling to oil plants in the northeast of Islamabad to carry out some tests.

September 30

Five suspected terrorists belonging to the LeJ were arrested from a hotel at Gujranwala in Punjab. One of arrested suspects Qari Ilyas alias Abu Bakar, carrying a head money of PKR 2 00000, was convicted in the 1995 assassination attempt on former premier Nawaz Sharif. The Lahore High Court later released him on an appeal.

October 6

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of people at the house of Rashid Akbar Niwani, a Shia Member of National Assembly from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), in Bhakkar, 260-km southwest of Islamabad in Punjab, killing 25 people and wounding 60 others, including Niwani.

October 7

Three remote-controlled bombs went off one after the other in three juice shops in the Garhi Shahu area of Lahore in Punjab injuring seven including two children and a woman. The first bomb went off in the Chhino Juice Corner near the Garhi Shahu Chowk, injuring two waiters, aged 12 and 14. Rescue officials said shopkeepers were asked to shut down and evacuate the area. Fifteen minutes later, the second explosion occurred in the Rehman Juice Corner, which had been closed. The third bomb exploded after another 15 minutes in the Dasco Juice Corner, injuring passers-by. Lahore District Co-ordination Officer Sajjad Bhutta told AFP the bombs appeared designed to ‘spread panic and fear’ rather kill. Reports said the targeted juice shops were frequented by young unmarried couples and had received threats.

October 9

A suspected suicide car bombing destroyed part of an Anti-Terror Squad building and wounded at least six policemen in the heavily guarded Police Lines area in Islamabad. Security officials found a letter from the TTP at the explosion site, signed by its commander Waliur Rehman on a Jaish-e-Islami letter pad. Written in Pashto language, the letter seeks permission from an undisclosed authority to launch an attack on the Anti-Terror Squad saying the plan of action had been finalised.

The police at the Islamabad airport detained a bearded man wearing a burqa (veil), who was apparently a suicide attacker trying to board a plane when a female security official notified the Airport Security Force.

October 10

The Bomb Disposal Squad recovered and defused a hand grenade at the residence of Rashid Akbar Niwani, a Shia Member of National Assembly (MNA) from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, at Darya Khan under Bhakkar district in Punjab.

November 17

Security agencies arrested two suspected terrorists and seized a suicide bombing jacket, weapons, foreign currency and a map of Lahore from them. According to intelligence sources, an investigation team from Rawalpindi raided a flat in the Kot Lakhpat Police Station precincts and held the two men — Hafiz Irfan Ullah Mehsud, a close relative of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Baitullah Mehsud and Qari Ameer Gull, a resident of Afghanistan. The team had been looking for a suspected TTP militant who had come to Lahore to meet a prisoner in the Kot Lakhpat Central Jail when it came to know that the two suspects were living in a Kot Lakhpat house, the sources said.

November 19

Motorcycle borne gunmen shot dead a retired major general of the Pakistan Army and his driver in the outskirts of national capital Islamabad. Major General Ameer Faisal Alvi from the Special Services Group (SSG) had retired more than two years ago.

November 22

At least three people, including a teenager, were injured in a series of three explosions near the Alhamra Cultural Complex in Lahore, where the international World Performing Arts Festival was in progress. Police said at least one of the explosions at 10:02pm (PST) might be of a timed device planted in the cafeteria in the basement of the adjacent Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture. Rescuers said police and officials were trying to locate the bombing site when another explosion occurred less than 15 minutes later, injuring two workers. Another 15 minutes later, a third explosion took place outside the Alhamra Cultural Complex gate, injuring a 13-year-old boy.

November 24

Intelligence agencies have warned of a suicide attack at the Karachi airport as well as ministries in Islamabad during the current month. The Interior Ministry, after receiving information from intelligence agencies, has informed security agencies that November would be crucial and terrorists have planned to carry out suicide attacks at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, and also at the offices of various ministries in Islamabad. However, no further detail about the modus operandi of the terrorists was disclosed in the intelligence information conveyed to the Interior Ministry. A source said that terrorists have planned to strike in prominent cities in retaliation to the ongoing operation in the FATA and have dispatched suicide bombers to Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

December 4

Jama’at-ud-Da’awa officials denied any links with the banned terrorist group LeT at a press briefing at their centre in Muridke, 30km from Lahore. Abdullah Muntazir, deputy spokesman for the Jama’at-ud-Da’awa, said at the 75-acre complex that they wanted to refute ‘propaganda’ against them and clear their names in front of the national and international press. Yahya Mujahid, a spokesman of the group, said that although the group offered its philosophical support to militants in Kashmir, they condemned the Mumbai attacks. He added that neither the Jama’at-ud-Da’awa nor the LeT were involved in the attacks. On the status of the group’s leader, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, Muntazir stated that the government of Pakistan was "not yet so weak that it would hand over its own citizens to India."

December 8

The SFs are reported to have intercepted a car just outside Rawalpindi and arrested a suspected LeT militant.

December 11

Police sealed Qudsia Mosque, the headquarters of Jama’at-ud-Da’awa in Chauburji Chowk, and 18 other offices throughout Punjab province. Five offices were sealed in Sialkot. 25 members of the organisation, including Ameer Hamza, Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, Maulana Naseer Hamza, Saifullah Mansoor, Da’awa’s director of public relations, Col (retd) Nazir Ahmed, and Rajanpur District president Talib Rehman, were detained. A large number of publications of the organisation were reportedly seized. Hafiz Saeed was detained at his Johar Town residence under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance. "Police have encircled the house of Hafiz Saeed and told him he cannot leave his home. They have told him that the detention order will be formally issued shortly," his spokesman Abdullah Montazir said. A Police official said detention orders had also been issued by the Punjab home department and raids were being conducted to arrest Yahya Mujahid, Abu Umer a number of other prominent members. Sources said that an office of the organisation on Chamberlain Road, in Gawalmandi, had been sealed a few days ago. Six members of the organisation were arrested from its main relief camp on the Karakoram Highway, near Ghazikot Township, on December 10. In Rawalpindi, Police sealed the group’s local office on Circular Road.

December 12

Islamabad Police sealed three offices of the JuD. One was near Masjid Quba in the I-8 Markaz and another in Street 35 in G-6/4, Chief Commissioner Kamran Lashari said. However, no arrests were made. Officials said the group had abandoned its G-6 office before the Police raid. Later in the day, Police sealed another office located on Korri Road near Shahzad Town, and arrested six suspected operatives.

In Rawalpindi, security agencies sealed five offices in Satellite Town, Kashmari Bazaar, Benazir Bhutto Road, Pindora and Tench Bhatta. Police sources said no arrests were made from these locations.

In Lahore, divisional superintendents of Police took surety bonds from the JuD operatives. Multan Police sealed a Jama’at-ud-Da’awa office at Rasheedabad Chowk, and a school and a dispensary on Tareen Road in a midnight operation. Police also sealed the group’s offices in south Punjab cities of Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Arifwala, Bahawalnagar, Khanewal, and arrested one operative each from Arifwala and Rajanpur.

December 21

A large quantity of arms seized by the SFs during the military operation at Lal Masjid in Islamabad and stored in the Aabpara Police station’s heavily guarded armoury, is missing and was reported as ‘stolen’. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik has reportedly suspended the Senior Superintendent of Police Ahmad Latif and Superintendent of Police Shahzad Asif and ordered registration of a case against Inspector Naeem Iqbal and 14 other Police personnel on charges of criminal breach of trust, theft and burglary. All the accused have been suspended and arrested. The arms included assault rifles, rocket launchers, anti-tank mines, grenades and a large quantity of bullets, which were seized by the SFs during the Lal Masjid operation which ended on July 11, 2008. According to Police, the stolen arms include 47 small machine-guns, three light machine-guns, several AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers and hand grenades, seven rockets and 2,800 bullets.

December 24

A woman, identified as Farzana Bibi, was killed and five other people injured as a mini-truck packed with explosives blew up in GOR-II area of Lahore. The windows of nearby houses were shattered, while several walls collapsed. A transformer also exploded. Superintendent of Police Umar Virk said a mini-cabin with about 10-kilogrmas of explosives blew up on the road. The target of the Lahore blast was likely a police officer who had headed an operation that led to the death of a leader of LeJ in 2002, and lived nearby.

December 25

Security agencies foiled a plot to cause widespread destruction in Islamabad and Rawalpindi and recovered a huge quantity of explosive material with numerous detonating devices from a terrorist hideout in Karal near Islamabad. However, Police failed to arrest the three miscreants who managed to escape during the raid. Later, the Police detained 10 people for interrogation and registered a case under the Explosives Act. According to Police sources, over 650 kilograms of explosive material, including 520 detonating devices (12 packs of two different kinds), 357 bricks of the Aemolite explosives, 20 bags of gun powder and three bags of sulphur powder, were recovered. Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police (East Zone), Saqib Sultan, who addressed a press conference at the Karal Police station, said that the masterminds who escaped were identified as Bacha Saeed Khan, Farid Khan and Musa Khan.

A previously-unknown pro-Taliban group, Ansar Wa Mohajir, has claimed responsibility for the December 24-bomb blast in Lahore and the earlier rocket attacks on Dera Ismail Khan. Toofan Wazir, identifying himself as a commander and spokesman of the group, telephoned from somewhere in North Waziristan to claim responsibility for the two attacks. He threatened more attacks against the Security Forces and Government installations to avenge the two recent US missile strikes in North Waziristan in which several militants belonging to Punjab province were killed. According to Toofan Wazir, the US drones fired the missiles at Pakistani targets with the agreement and co-operation of the Government of Pakistan. He said revenge would be taken from both the Americans and the Pakistan Government. In Pakistan, he warned, suicide bombings would be carried out and bombs would be planted and exploded at important Government installations.

December 26

The companies ferrying military hardware and other goods to NATO and US forces in Afghanistan have started shifting their logistic terminals to Punjab province after the recent series of attacks in Peshawar and prevailing insecurity in the region. Private parties transporting supplies for the US and NATO forces from Karachi to Kabul and Bagram airbase via Torkham border town since 2003 have rented plots at Tarnol and Burhan towns in the Attock district of Punjab across river Kabul for establishing terminals and parking facilities.

The Punjab Government has appointed administrators in 10 selected schools of the banned outfit JuD after intelligence agencies reported that these institutions were promoting extremism. As many as 26 educational institutions of the JuD are operating in various parts of the province but the Government has appointed administrators in only 10 selected schools. Sources revealed that following a ban imposed on the JuD, intelligence agencies informed the Government that 10 JuD educational institutions in various parts of Punjab were promoting extremism. "Special lectures promoting Jihad are delivered to students, especially at the time of assembly," sources quoting intelligence reports said.





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