Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah had stated yesterday that the mastermind and participants of the Safoora Chowrangi bus attack had been apprehended and after questioning, revealed to be behind various other attacks in the city. The same outfit was behind the cold blooded murder of T2F activist Sabeen Mahmud, as well as the attack on American professor Debra Lobo.
People who studied with Saad Aziz (aka Tin Tin aka John) at IBA say he was a normal student and showed no signs of militancy — a teacher also had the same view. The most apalling fact regarding the suspected mastermind of Sabeen’s attack, whose name is Saad Aziz, is that he is a graduate of IBA (Institute of Business Administration). Before that he studied at the Beaconhouse School System and completed his A levels at The Lyceum, one of Karachi’s elite private schools.
On IBA’s main website, Saad Aziz’s name is also included in the list of students who entered the esteemed university in fall semester 2007 and graduated in 2011. By the afternoon of May 21, interest in him on social media had grown so much that he was trending at No 2 on Twitter — just under #AxactFightsBack (see below).
As soon as the news broke regarding the ‘educated terrorists’ being apprehended, Pakistan’s twitterati offered their views on the micro blogging site regarding Saad Aziz.
I played football with Saad Aziz!! FFS!
— Hasan Askari (@HasanReports) May 21, 2015
Saad Aziz does not seem to be a religious fanatic apparently..What could be his motivation to kill Sabeen Mehmud & wreck havoc on Ismalis? — Junaid (@Junaid__786) May 21, 2015
Saad Aziz case(if it’s true) is sign of disappointment of funded O-Levels schools producing non religious extremists 1 way or other.
— Adnan-عدنان (@kadnan) May 21, 2015
Absolutely shocked to see Saad Aziz’s name all over my timeline. Knew him for several years as a junior at IBA. This is mindblowing. — Nabeel Shakeel Ahmed (@ns_ahmed) May 20, 2015
I never saw Pakistani Police solving so many cases in one go.. Saad Aziz a killer or an escape goat ? Only time will tell
— Abdullah Khan (@AbdullahKhan333) May 21, 2015
Wondering what drives our young,educated graduates like Saad Aziz towards Extremism.We thought taleem would enlighten them but… Worried 🙁 — Ramsha Afaq (@ramshaaq) May 21, 2015
One particular tweet also pointed out to a radical Facebook group titled The Defiance, of which Aziz was a member.
Among Saad Aziz’s likes on Facebook, this page. Chills me to the bone my friends have mutual friends with him. pic.twitter.com/0sVF3BkzxU
— Maliha Aqueel (@AQmaliha) May 20, 2015
It must also be borne in mind that IBA is a reputable institute from where Pakistan’s current President Mamnoon Hussain and former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz studied from.
Who are the other suspects?
Tahir Hussain Minhas
The Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah revealed Saad Aziz’s name during a press conference on May 20. In that he also said that the alleged mastermind of the attack on the bus carrying Ismailis in which 47 people died is Tahir Hussain Minhas. He has several aliases and these include ‘Sain Nazir’, ‘Zahid’, ‘Khalil’, ‘Shaukat’ and ‘Mota’. He said Minhas studied up the matric level and has been involved in terror activities since 1998. A police press release he was a “trained terrorist with expertise in making bombs and using arms such as RPG-7s and Kalashnikovs” and that he had “personally met Osama Bin Ladin and Ayman AL Zawahiri several times”.
According to research conducted by ARY News, Minhas was accused in 2007 of being involved in the killing of a local Hindu man in Sindh and his family members were also detained. Police had also in the past said that he was a member of the banned group Harkatul Mujahideen.
Another suspect named by the chief minister is Mohammad Azfar Ishrat alias Maajid who he said is an engineer with a degree from Karachi’s Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology. The police say that he has been involved in terrorist activities since 2011, and is trained in making bombs and electronic circuits for their timers.
The fourth suspect mentioned by the Sindh chief minister is Hafiz Nasir alias Yasir, who has a master’s degree in Islamic Studies from the University of Karachi. The police say that he has been involved in terrorist activities since 2013 and is an expert in “brainwashing and motivating people for Jihadi activities”.
The chief minister said that other than the attack on the bus carrying Ismailis, they were also involved in the murder of Sabeen Mahmud in Karachi, the firing on American academic Debra Lobo (also in Karachi), a bomb attack on a naval officer and a suicide attack on a Rangers brigadier, grenade attacks on schools in Karachi and throwing pamphlets there, targeted killings of the Bohri community in the Karachi neighbourhoods of Arambagh, North Nazimabad, Bahadurbad, attacks on police vans at various places in Karachi such as M A Jinnah Road, Arambagh, Gulberg, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, NIPA Chowrangi, North Nazimabad and targeted killings of Sindh police officials in the city’s Gulistan-i-Jauhar, North Nazimabad, North Karachi, Shah Faisal Colony and Landhi areas.