It is likely that ISI is using Beijing for its own strategic goals.

World News

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), which operates under the direct supervision of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), submitted a report to the Pakistan Prime Minister’s office sometime between March 31 and April 1. The report was also shared with the Chinese embassy in Islamabad.

Officials looking into the attack on a bus carrying five Chinese workers on March 26 by a suicide bomber who crashed his car into the bus at Bisham Block, Shangla district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPK) prepared the report.

These labourers were travelling from Islamabad to Dasu, where China is developing Pakistan’s largest hydroelectric project as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), according to the CTD, was responsible for the terror assault. They also stated that they had detained at least 12 terrorists, including Hazrat Bilal, the key facilitator who they claimed had brought the suicide bomber from Afghanistan for the attack.

The TTP has denied involvement in the attack, despite the fact that it typically accepts swift responsibility for any terror strike it conducts.

The car loaded with explosives was purchased from Afghanistan for Rs 0.25 million, according to CTD’s findings, and it was then taken to Chaman City, which is close to the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It was then transported to the town of Dara Zinda in the region of Dera Ismail Khan. It was driven to Bisham in KPK from DI Khan. The CTD has further stated that the car was brought from Afghanistan to Pakistan without any customs duty paid, and that it was left for at least ten days, paying Rs 500 a day to be parked at a Chaman petrol station while its driver was waiting.

Local sources and observers of the events, however, asserted that the CTD assertions were untrue and were probably made in order to deflect Chinese officials’ ire from Islamabad onto Kabul.

Chaman and Bisham are separated by more than 1,200 km, which can be travelled in three to four days, depending on the urgency, via the N-50, M-14, and M-15 motorways that cross Rawalpindi and Islamabad. From there, the N-35 highway, also known as the Karakoram Highway, travels through Abbottabad and Mansehra while providing a view of Balakot.

The Chinese are currently investigating the attack as part of a Joint Investigation Team that Beijing forced Islamabad to form, so the CTD’s claims that the car used for the bombing was driven for three days at least after being purchased more than 1,200 km away, even with explosives loaded somewhere in between, are unlikely to sway them.

He adds that unlawful parking in Chaman costs Rs 100 per day, and if one believes CTD’s allegations, expecting someone to agree to pay Rs 500 per day will raise suspicions about the conduct of the petrol station employees, even if the car was actually parked at the pump.

Second, after being smuggled into Pakistan, these non-custom paid cars are more readily and copiously available in the regions of Swat, Sangla, and Kohistan, according to various sources who spoke with The Sunday Guardian. Chaman is far away from the Dasu dam project site, where all these purchase locations are located.

It is true, according to sources interacting with security and transportation officials at the Chaman border, that an automobile transported into Pakistan must be registered.

Sources in Kabul claim that because Chaman borders Afghanistan, the entire story was constructed to place Beijing’s interests ahead of those of the Kabul government. The CTD investigation, which asserts that the perpetrators were citizens of Afghanistan, has added credence to the story.

At The Sunday Guardian’s request, sources contacted the Taliban and other armed groups operating in the Af-Pak region, as well as the TTP. However, they were unable to locate any information about Hazrat Bilal, who the CTD had claimed was the attack’s mastermind and a TTP functionary.

Officials from Pakistan’s government reviewed the CTD report because it was a terror assault that affected Chinese interests.

According to historical and current records, the ISI has a history of creating and presenting dossiers that are rife with errors. As a result, counterterrorism specialists and authorities, including those connected to the UN, no longer accept these dossiers at face value.

The same CTD-KPK published a list of the 152 most wanted terrorists in the area in November of the previous year. Ihsanur Rehman Dawar, a well-known tribal writer and journalist and member of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), was also listed on the list. A one million rupee bounty was put on his head in exchange for information that would lead to his capture. The CTD had utilised his photo on the list, however it had misidentified him as

In September 2021, during a press conference in Islamabad to refute a report filed by this newspaper citing a terror threat to the New Zealand cricket team on tour, the ISI and the Pakistan federal government claimed in front of hundreds of local and international journalists and shared dossiers with them that said a threat email was sent to the wife of New Zealand cricket player Martin Guptil and the local police by a device that was being used by a person who the ISI’s sleuths identified as Om Prakash Mishra from Maharashtra. An additional image of Om Prakash Mishra was included in the dossier.

But the individual whose photo was selected by the astute minds employed at the

In September 2021, the ISI and the Pakistan federal government claimed in front of hundreds of local and international journalists during a press conference in Islamabad to counter a report filed by this newspaper citing a terror threat to the New Zealand cricket team on tour. They shared dossiers with them that stated a threat email was sent to the local police and the wife of New Zealand cricket player Martin Guptil by a device that was being used by a person the ISI’s sleuths identified as Om Prakash Mishra from Maharashtra. There was also another photo of Om Prakash Mishra in the file.

However, the person whose image was chosen by the sharp brains working at the

Beijing will probably be forced, as Islamabad desires, to push Kabul to take tough measures against the TTP as a result of the deaths of the five Chinese labourers. Pakistan thinks Beijing will have more sway over the Taliban leadership because of China’s significant investment in Afghanistan.

Given this context, sources in Kabul stated that it is not implausible that one of the numerous armed groups operating under ISI orders carried out the bus attack.

Since the Chinese have now committed too much time and money to the CPEC, they are unable to leave Pakistan and forfeit their billion-dollar investments, giving Islamabad a number of options on how to proceed.

The CTD and the ISI conveniently ignored the fact that the attack occurred in an area that is also frequented by the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), several local armed groups, such as the Mujahideen Gilgit-Baltistan and Kohistan (MGB), and smaller religious extremist groups that detest “foreign presence” in their neighbourhood.

Following the attack, Pakistan and the TTP were counselled by Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister, Muhammad Nabi Omari, to settle their differences amicably because the bloodshed in Pakistan was “spreading to Afghanistan.” However, Islamabad swiftly rejected the suggestion.

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