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Footprints of Asmatullah Moavia found in Nanga Parbat killings

25 June, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The police and law enforcement agencies have found solid clues to the involvement of the Asmatullah Moavia group in the gruesome killing of 10 mountaineers at the base camp of Nanga Parbat, Gilgit-Baltistan.

"We know them and we are looking for six key activists and local leaders who have played a major role in this incident. We have some evidence and some eyewitnesses have also given us a good input," said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.

The police and law enforcement agencies believe almost one-and-a-half dozen militants from the Punjab, KPK and Gilgit-Baltistan carried out the killings.The sources claim to have got some tangible help from an eyewitness following which at least six important figures are being hunted down, some of whom were physically present and carried out the killings.

The sources said Asmatullah Moavia group was formed about three years back in Gilgit-Baltistan when a man named Mahar Khan, formerly the head of a militant training camp, contacted Moavia in tribal areas and sent his men to join him. They say Mahar Khan, 80, is also missing.

The other people being hounded in connection with the gruesome killings include commander Khalil, Shahzad Khan, Yazeed, Mohammad Ali and Mahkoomullah.On the other hand, talking to this reporter on Sunday morning, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan identified the group as "Junood-e-Hafsa" (the fist or union of Jamia Hafsa a religious seminary linked with the Islamabad-based Lal Masjid).

"We have avenged the killing of our commander Waliur Rehman and also raised voice against the drone attacks in tribal areas. By doing this, we wanted to send a message internationally," said Ehsan while speaking from an undisclosed location, most probably from the Pak-Afghan border.

Waliur Rehman was killed by a drone on May 29 in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan Agency neighboring Afghanistan.He also disclosed that the killing was actually carried out by "Junood-e-Hafsa" a subsidiary of the TTP.

It is pertinent to mention that Junood-e-Hafsa is a new group formed by the TTP commanded by Asmatullah Moavia.Sources in the law-enforcement agencies claim that the incident had proved that Asmatullah Moavia had now attained a powerful position in the TTP.

Moavia developed differences with Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaishe Mohammad soon after the Lal Masjid operation in 2007 and joined the TTP. Soon, he was appointed as the head of TTP operations in the Punjab.Moavia was identified as the first prominent figure in the Punjabi Taliban. It is not clear yet who else played a role in the brutal killings under his command.

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