Pakistan police arrests Al-Qaeda’s key figures in Karachi

12:37 PM | 12 Dec, 2014
Pakistan police arrests Al-Qaeda’s key figures in Karachi

Pakistan’s law enforcing agency on Friday claimed to arrest a prominent commander of newly formed Al-Qaeda’s South Asian wing, Usman Shahid, along with four other aides.

Shahid Usman and his accomplices were arrested in Karachi late on Thursday. Law enforcing personnel also seized weapons and 10kg of explosives, Reuters reported.

Al Qaeda's new South Asia wing earlier had tried to hijack a Pakistani navy ship in September this year, a few days after the group had announced its formation.

Police say Usman is the head of the Al Qaeda wing in Karachi, a steamy port city of 18 million people, and was planning more attacks there.

“He is the Karachi chief of Al Qaeda's newly formed wing working under the set up of Asim Umar, the South Asia chief of Al Qaeda,” a senior official at the police counter-terrorism unit said.

The official said Usman lived in Defence, a wealthy neighbourhood, and owned a car-parts dealership in one of the city's most expensive commercial areas.

Officials said Usman was previously associated with the outlawed Harkatul Jihad-al-Islami.

Al Qaeda announced the formation of its South Asian wing on Sept 4 with Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri promising to spread a holy war across South Asia, home to more than 400 million Muslims.