In a breakthrough in the Lal Chowk terror strike, the police have arrested two people who had allegedly provided SIM cards to two Lashkar-e-Tayiba militants who killed two persons during the 22-hour siege.
Highly placed sources said that duo -- Latif Malla and Imtiyaz Ahmed -- had procured the SIM cards for the two Lashker terrorists Saifullah Qari and Usman, who were killed after security forces on January 7 stormed a hotel in which they were holed up.
Malla and Ahmed were picked up and subjected to detailed questioning, after which they told the police how they had procured the SIM cards and when the cards were handed over to the Lashker militants.
The duo told the police that they had procured 120 SIM cards and handed these over to the militants during a period before the ban on pre-paid mobile phones was ordered, the sources said.
All the SIMs were supplied to one Javed of Sopore in North Kashmir for which they got money, the duo said.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) Farooq Ahmed, who has to his credit the successful operation at Lal Chowk, has formed several crack teams to trace Javed, they said.
The terrorists killed during the Lal Chowk encounter had kept the mobile connections with them for a long period and these were meant for use only during "operations".
Though the Government had imposed a ban on issuance of fresh pre-paid mobile cards from November one last year, the existing subscribers have been asked to convert it to post-paid by January 29 this year, failing which the services will be stopped.
The police personnel were told about the mobile phone number by central security agencies and during a quick check it was found that the person in whose name the connections had been taken did not exist, official sources said.
Qari, a resident of Baluchistan, was in constant touch with his handlers in Zafarwal in Pakistan, the sources said.
The sources said though the terrorist was constantly in touch with militants of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen identified as Saifullah, Qazi, Junaid and Tahir, it was beyond doubt that the operation was carried out by LeT only.Once he felt that he was cornered and could be eliminated by security forces, Qari reportedly had a long chat with his handlers in Pakistan and dictated his will as well, the sources said.