Police arrest man linked to 2011 assault on Saudi Consulate in Karachi

Pakistani security officials gather outside the Saudi consulate in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on May 11, 2011, following a grenade attack. (AFP)
Short Url
  • Counter-terrorism officials described the suspect as a ‘most wanted terrorist’
  • Police say suspect also involved in attack on mosque, murder of a doctor

KARACHI: Police in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province said on Monday they had arrested a “most wanted terrorist” linked to the attack on the Saudi Consulate in Karachi in May 2011.

Pakistan has witnessed several waves of terrorist attacks since the 1980s, and its commercial capital Karachi has frequently been a hotspot for such incidents.

In May 2011, unidentified attackers threw hand grenades at the Saudi Consulate in Karachi, but no one was hurt, police said. A few days later, gunmen attacked a car belonging to the consulate, killing a Saudi diplomat.

“A CTD (counter-terrorism department) team has arrested a most wanted terrorist in a raid who was involved in sectarian acts and remained associated with the Mehdi group,” an official handout circulated by the agency said, referring to a Karachi-based banned militant outfit.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Investigations at the CTD Naeem Ahmed said Mehdi was a separate cell that operated out of Karachi and was not linked to any other proscribed outfit.

“Mehdi is a cell operated from Karachi that has been involved in sectarian target killing,” Ahmed told Arab News.

The CTD has identified the accused as Syed Zaki Kazmi.

“He carried out a grenade attack on the Saudi [Consulate] with his other accomplices and was arrested in the case in 2011,” the CTD statement said.

Ahmed said the accused was sentenced in the Saudi Consulate attack case by a trial court, but he appealed the verdict in the high court, from where he was acquitted.

The CTD spokesperson said the accused was also linked to the murder of a doctor at his clinic and an attack on a mosque but had not been indicted in either case yet.

Last month, Pakistani police asked for assistance from authorities in Tehran to catch the suspected killers of the Saudi diplomat assassinated in May 2011. Local officials believe the killers are hiding in Iran.

Last November, Pakistani authorities established a special team to investigate the murder after previous probes yielded no results, though Deputy Inspector General Omar Shahid Hamid has said his team was now working on some “fruitful leads.”