IANS | Islamabad: Six suspected suicide bombers have been arrested from two places in Pakistan and a huge cache or arms, including suicide jackets, recovered from them, ahead of the Shia community’s Ashura procession, officials said.Three suspects were arrested Thursday in Quetta in Balochistan province. Two suicide jackets, 28 hand grenades, four rockets and 20 kg of explosives were recovered from them.
Karachi police also arrested three suspected militants belonging to banned outfit Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Wednesday evening and recovered suicide jackets from them.
Brigadier Shahzad, deputy inspector general (DIG) of the Frontier Corps, Thursday said the suspected terrorists were arrested from near the Chaman border while trying to cross over to the Pakistani side from Afghanistan.
“Initial investigations reveal that the suspects wanted to carry out suicide bombings at Ashura processions in Quetta,” he said.
Meanwhile, the procession routes in Karachi have been sealed and the army is providing air cover with helicopters.
More than 200 suspects have been taken into custody in a major crackdown in various cities. Armed forces and paramilitary personnel have been commissioned in several sensitive areas for potential sectarian conflict during the first 10 days of Muharram, the first month of Islamic calendar.
A week ago, on the first and third day of Muharram, two separate suicide blasts in Kohat and Hangu in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province killed over 30 people.
Suicide blasts in the country have targeted Shia processions in Karachi, Quetta and Lahore, which has resulted in intensified security this year.
Ashura processions, revered by the Shia community, would be taken out Thursday and Friday across Pakistan amidst tight security.
The month of Muharram is considered auspicious for Muslims all over the world. The month’s tenth day – called Ashura – is observed to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussain ibn Ali, grandson of Prophet Mohammad, who died in the battle of Karbala on the tenth day of Muharram.