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Under US heat, Pak goes after Al Qaeda terrorists

May 18, 2011 10:27 IST

After the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, the United States has pressured Pakistan 'to do more' to nab Al Qaeda activists and key Taliban leaders including Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. It is suspected that Omar is hiding in the Quetta city of Balochistan. 

Responding to the US's pressure, Pakistan has speeded up its efforts and is tracking Al Qaeda terrorists all across the country. On Tuesday, Pakistani security forces arrested senior Al Qaeda operative Muhammad Ali Qasim Yaqub alias Abu Sohaib Al Makki from Karachi.

According to the Pakistan army, Al Makki was a Yemeni national who was working directly for Al Qaeda leaders along the Pakistan-Afghanistan borders.

The arrest comes in the wake of US Senator John Kerry visiting Pakistan. Kerry had urged the Pakistan government to take action against Al Qaeda operatives and other terrorists.

Prior to the arrest of Al Makki, Pakistani security agencies had arrested two brothers in Swat Valley for alleged links with two Al Qaeda operatives, who owned the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed.

Razaul Hasan, 22 and Ziaul Haq, 24, were arrested from Shangla district in Swat Valley. They were accused of having links to Arshad Khan and Tariq Khan, who were killed with Osama and were working as the Al Qaeda chief's couriers.

In another such incident in Swat Valley, security forces arrested Alam Zeb, 19, from Kabal village. He is the grandson of the imam of a Florida mosque, who was arrested in the US along with his two sons on Saturday.

The imam was charged with financing the Taliban operating in Swat, led by Maulana Fazlullah, popularly known as Mullah Radio.

Raids and arrests against Al Qaeda sympathisers and activists are going on in different parts of Pakistan.

Security forces have raided many houses and hideouts of radicals in Abbottabad and surrounding areas. They have arrested several terrorists suspected of having links with Osama.

The intelligence forces have also raided many seminaries in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Attok and Jhelum districts and arrested several suspects.

These agencies have checked the bio-data of the students and collated nearly 90 students' details for verification. Military intelligence is also investigating some foreign students who were receiving education in these madrassas. 

These operations are being carried out by MI agencies. Civil intelligence agencies like the police's special forces are not part of it.

Military intelligence doesn't inform the local police about these operations, as there have been instances when the latter have helped militants flee before the raid.

Tahir Ali in Islamabad