LAHORE: In a breakthrough development, Pakistani law enforcement agencies on Wednesday nailed the mastermind of the twin suicide bombings that killed 21 people including Punjab home minister Shuja Khanzada.
“Shoaib Cheema, who choreographed the attack on Khanzada, was arrested along with facilitators from Faisalabad,” officials said.
According to a senior cop, initial interrogation has revealed that two of the abettors recced Khanzada’s Dera in Attock disguised as costermongers selling vegetables.
“Cheema is a top terrorist of the outlawed militant outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Punjab chapter,” Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah said in a statement issued after this breakthrough.
Sanaullah said that all he can say that a headway had been made in the investigation.
Two suicide attackers Sunday martyred Khanzada for campaigning against the militants, and at least 20 others people, after detonating a bomb at a meeting the minister was attending.
Khanzada, 71, had been holding a meeting with local people who had come to express their condolences on the death of his cousin.
He was trapped with several others under the rubble after the blast brought down the roof of the building in the village of Shadi Khan in Attock district.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the hardline Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, saying it was revenge for the killing of a sectarian militant commander and others.
Last month the leader of an anti-Shiite group behind some of Pakistan’s worst sectarian atrocities was killed in a shootout with police, along with 13 other militants.
Malik Ishaq was shot dead along with fellow Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militants, including senior commanders, in Punjab.
“The Attock attack is revenge for the martyrdom of Malik Ishaq shaheed (martyr) and other mujahideen brothers,” Ehsan said.