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Operation Zulfiqar & Sahiwal Tragedy.

Horus

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Last month Operation Zulfiqar a two year long effort to liquidate the most resourceful and dangerous ISIS sleeper cell in Punjab province ended in absolute tragedy as the members of the Counter Terrorism Department of Punjab Police carried out a botched operation killing a score of civilians including children and a woman in a bid to target a wanted terrorist. Amid blundersome claims by Police officials and Media reports, the facts regarding this operation were absent from the public debate. Here is an effort to try and add proper context to the aforementioned operation. This post will not deal with the tragedy of killing civilians, as we've all heard what we need to hear. The purpose of this post is to provide context to how the operation culminated, its key characters and so on. While the operation succeeded in liquidating the ISIS sleeper cell in Punjab, it, unfortunately, ended in tragedy due to the ineptitude of the few.

Feedback is welcomed.

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QasimTraveler

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Thank you for this, however as a layman (i.e. without any training in security analysis or strategic studies) I am not sure what is the main objective of this information?

  • Is it to apprise the general public about the motives that led to the operation?
  • To absolve the CTD of the botched operation?
  • Is it a primer for a larger policy analysis brief?

The material is concise and well put and i understand more details are kept for (and should be) relevant personnel but maybe the presentation might include

  • some more background on the parent organization of these people (and I am not sure if Zeeshan has been declared a terrorist because some media i went through was referring to his mother and some senator meeting).
  • the overall impact of curbing this unit on the activities of the larger violent non state actors.
  • What role the media (including citizen journalism) played in raising undue hype, creating awareness. Role of political parties?

I apologize if my lingo here is non-technical, as I said I am not trained academically in this field. I would like to understand the overall implication of this operation, how these people went on this path and what can be done to prevent it.

Again I apologize if the purpose of sharing this info was something else and I misunderstood the purpose.

=========
P.S I really appreciate this BTW, I have read some other material you share in other threads and I really appreciate it. I think policy briefs should be shared by the relevant organizations. I understand NDU and NUST is training scholars but some work I read (and some workshops I attended) led me wanting more.
 
Aug 19, 2012
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JIT report declares Khalil innocent, Zeeshan terrorist
Asif ChaudhryUpdated February 23, 2019

LAHORE: The joint investigation team (JIT) of the Sahiwal incident has declared Khalil and his family innocent while the driver of the car Zeeshan an active member of a terror outfit.

Submitted to the chief minister on Friday, the report also unveiled other facts of the Sahiwal incident in which Khalil was shot dead by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) along his wife Nabeela, daughter Areeba and driver of the car Zeshan on January 19 in Sahiwal.

Khalil’s minor son Umair and daughters Hadia Khalil and Muneeba Khalil were also injured in the incident.

The five-member JIT was headed by Additional Inspector General of Police Ejaz Hussain Shah.

The JIT report declared that the operation team of CTD fired unprovoked and recommended action against CTD SSP Jawad Qamar and Regional Officer DSP Asif Kamal declaring them guilty of destroying the crime scene and commiting administrative failures.

Recommends action against CTD officers

Excess committed by CTD operation team
The report states the presence of any motorcycle, fleeing of any unidentified person and firing at the place of occurrence from the alleged companions of Zeeshan have not been proven.

The CTD team which launched the operation in Sahiwal included SI Safdar Hussain, corporals Ahsan Khan, Muhammad Ramzan, Saifullah Abid, Husnain Akbar and driver constable Nasir Nawaz.

“They are found guilty of tampering with and destruction of evidence i.e tampering with of weapons, DVR and firing spots on the official single cabin vehicle”, reads the report.

It states that keeping in view the facts, a separate case has been registered against them under the Anti-Terrorism Act and criminal proceedings are ongoing.

The report declared the character of Zeeshan’s brother, who is part of a law enforcement agency, suspicious.

“Therefore, he should be proceeded against by his department and his name to be included in forth schedule so that he is kept under observation”, reads the JIT report.

IMPORTANT FACTS: The report states the car had tinted glasses which was ascertained through Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) report, PSCA video footage/pictures, recovery of bullet ridden sun shades, placement of luggage bag covering the rear wind shield completely and picture acquired from the Okara toll plaza cameras.

Only vehicle’s number plate was seen in the picture received from the PSCA which triggered the CTD operation.

“Had the picture received from PSCA been from the front view of vehicle, the unfortunate incident could have been averted as during the course of investigation, the JIT received a picture from the PSCA in which a child is seen sitting in the front seat and the same was not shared with CTD team”, reads the JIT report.

DETAIL: The CTD team, headed by Safdar stopped the car by firing from behind unprovoked, taking the riders to be terrorists.

On this firing from the back, the car hit the road divider and stopped. The CTD team rescued three children from the car and shot at and killed the four people in the car. The operation team returned to their barracks in the police lines at 1:44pm and then left for the CTD regional officer office in Sahiwal at 2:53pm. During this time, they tampered with their weapons.

ROLE OF ZEESHAN, HIS FAMILY: The JIT report states Zeeshan had contacts with the terrorists attached with Daesh among which many were proclaimed offenders of Red Book.

As per forensic report of mobile of Zeeshan, he had contacts with the leadership of Punjab Daesh (Khalid, alias Butt Sahib) which was operating from Afghanistan through an App (Threema).

He took directions from them to pass on to the other members of his group. The car which was used by him in the Sahiwal incident was actually owned by terrorist Adeel Hafeez.

Furthermore, during police encounter in Faisalabad on Jan 14 and 15, Haroon Usman, another terrorist, with Adeel Hafeez was killed.

“The picture of Zeeshan Javed with Haroon Usman was found on his mobile phone which was taken on November 4, 2018 which proves that they both were close accomplices”, reads the JIT report.

It states Zeeshan was an active and important member of this terrorist group and was providing them all facilities. It has been revealed from his call recordings/ chats that he used to provide shelter to terrorists in his house.

His mother, brother and wife knew about his suspicious activities and that suspicious people would reside in his house.

Th report recommends to share such detail with other departments and agencies for further probe. Moreover, the explosive material was also transported by Zeeshan through the Alto car used in the Sahiwal incident.

“Apparently, Zeeshan had meager sources of income but he was not using his car as cab”, says JIT report.

He mostly used this car for the terrorists group as per the analysis of video footage, PSCA report, movement of the car, mobile CDR and his chat via Threema App.

On the other-hand, being neighbour, Khalil told Zeeshan few days before the incident that he along with his family was to go to Burewala for a wedding ceremony. Therefore, he should take them to the wedding in the car. Since, Zeeshan used this car for his organizational objectives, possibly in accordance with the tradition of his group to use family as cover, he agreed to take Khalil and his family to the other city.

“The group traveled to Sahiwal on Jan 13, 2019 in order to deliver explosives/weapons there”, the JIT declares.

The CDR analysis of Zeeshan’s mobile phone has revealed that he was driving Honda City Car carrying explosive material.

“Therefore, this thing can’t be ruled out that on Jan 19, 2019 Zeeshan Javed was moving with a hidden agenda”, reads the report.

ROLE OF SENIOR POLICE OFFICERS: The direct involvement of SSP Jawad Qamar and DSP Asif Kamal in the firing/ killing is ruled out, reads the JIT report.

It declared that no scientific evidences were found regarding the issuance of order by SSP Jawad to unleash fire on the car.

They did not protect the crime scene after they arrived at the scene.

SSP Qamar is also found guilty of approving the complaint (Istaghasa) written by SI Safdar Hussain for the registration of a case against the facts. He was present in the RO Office where this statement was written and had seen it.

Another negligence on the part of Jawad Qamar and DSP Asif Kamal is that both officers did not call Crime Scene Forensic Team of the PFSA, Bomb Disposal Squad and the Crime Scene Unit of the District Police to preserve the crime scene.
 

IbnAbdullah

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All this evidence against Zeeshan (who may have been a terriorist) does not excuse the unprofessional way in which the op was conducted. The unprovoked shooting is simply unjustified. They had enough time to 'rescue' three kids, why couldn't they simply arrest the others? What about the other girl?

The fact that the driver was wanted (or a terrorist) does not justify killing three people along with him when neither the driver nor anyone else even fired at them. The job of the Police is to arrest, not become Judge, Jury and Executioners. The fact that one person was a suspected (or even known) terrorist does not justify spraying the car with bullets without provocation.



...
 
Aug 19, 2012
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Salaam

All this evidence against Zeeshan (who may have been a terriorist) does not excuse the unprofessional way in which the op was conducted. The unprovoked shooting is simply unjustified. They had enough time to 'rescue' three kids, why couldn't they simply arrest the others? What about the other girl?

The fact that the driver was wanted (or a terrorist) does not justify killing three people along with him when neither the driver nor anyone else even fired at them. The job of the Police is to arrest, not become Judge, Jury and Executioners. The fact that one person was a suspected (or even known) terrorist does not justify spraying the car with bullets without provocation.



...
Dear, if you had taken time to read the above report completely, then you would not have wasted time to write this up again. Also note that this thread is to share established facts and not give opinions. Here is what the news report says on JIT report

Excess committed by CTD operation team
The report states the presence of any motorcycle, fleeing of any unidentified person and firing at the place of occurrence from the alleged companions of Zeeshan have not been proven.

The CTD team which launched the operation in Sahiwal included SI Safdar Hussain, corporals Ahsan Khan, Muhammad Ramzan, Saifullah Abid, Husnain Akbar and driver constable Nasir Nawaz.

“They are found guilty of tampering with and destruction of evidence i.e tampering with of weapons, DVR and firing spots on the official single cabin vehicle”, reads the report.

It states that keeping in view the facts, a separate case has been registered against them under the Anti-Terrorism Act and criminal proceedings are ongoing.

The report declared the character of Zeeshan’s brother, who is part of a law enforcement agency, suspicious.

“Therefore, he should be proceeded against by his department and his name to be included in forth schedule so that he is kept under observation”, reads the JIT report.
 

Sifar zero

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Mmmm was this done by the heroes and angels that were being praised or as usual this would be blamed on TLP.
 

bhola record

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Dear, if you had taken time to read the above report completely, then you would not have wasted time to write this up again. Also note that this thread is to share established facts and not give opinions. Here is what the news report says on JIT report

Excess committed by CTD operation team
The report states the presence of any motorcycle, fleeing of any unidentified person and firing at the place of occurrence from the alleged companions of Zeeshan have not been proven.

The CTD team which launched the operation in Sahiwal included SI Safdar Hussain, corporals Ahsan Khan, Muhammad Ramzan, Saifullah Abid, Husnain Akbar and driver constable Nasir Nawaz.

“They are found guilty of tampering with and destruction of evidence i.e tampering with of weapons, DVR and firing spots on the official single cabin vehicle”, reads the report.

It states that keeping in view the facts, a separate case has been registered against them under the Anti-Terrorism Act and criminal proceedings are ongoing.

The report declared the character of Zeeshan’s brother, who is part of a law enforcement agency, suspicious.

“Therefore, he should be proceeded against by his department and his name to be included in forth schedule so that he is kept under observation”, reads the JIT report.
Did you make the above slide yourself?
 

Bouncer

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Operation could have been handled better by on ground team when the incident happened. But I'd still say-- good job and thank you for risking your lives to protect the nation. Collateral damage is unfortunate and of course regrettable. Media and social media especially had a field day with pictures of those kids sitting road side--this needs to be controlled.

CTD does not get enough love in Pakistan. They are an excellent weapon against terrorism and I really hope they get more training and support and are used more effectively in future. Especially considering the fact that we are entering a very dangerous era after/if US actually leaves Afghanistan. We can't leave everything to Fauj / ISI. Civilian infrastructure needs to be polished and enhanced against domestic terrorists.
 

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