‘SMP militant’ held for killing TV journalist Aftab Alam

KARACHI: Police on Monday claimed to have arrested a suspected militant of the outlawed Sipah-i-Mohammad Pakistan allegedly involved in the recent killing of a television journalist.

Speaking at a press conference at the Garden Police Headquarters, Counter-Terrorism Department SSP Amir Farooqi identified the suspect as Zeeshan Haider and said that a 9mm pistol was also seized from him.

“He is associated with the Raza Imam group of the banned Sipah-i-Mohammed Pakistan,” said SSP Amir Farooqi of the CTD. “He disclosed that he along with his armed aides killed TV journalist Aftab Alam and two brothers Imran and Waqar the same day in North Karachi earlier this month. His group was also involved in firing on a roadside eatery last month that claimed two lives.”

He said the suspect was an active member of a hit men’s group that had targeted several people in recent days.

When asked about the motive for the recent surge in their activities, he said that the group was targeting people on different grounds and it was not “necessarily for sectarian motive”.

“The killing of Aftab Alam was carried out by the group to create panic and fear as the news of his killing got widespread media coverage,” said SSP Farooqi. “It also benefited the banned sectarian group as the victim journalist was associated with their rival school of thought.”

Similarly, the killing of the caterer brothers, who also belonged to the Deobandi school of thought, worked the same way as it benefited their sectarian agenda and also helped them in creating fear so that they could expand their extortion racket, he added.