The Pakistani militant who had escaped during an encounter in Kupwara on March 21 and was later arrested has told the NIA that he sneaked into the Valley along with five militants in March and their aim was to launch attacks on security forces. Zabiullah alias Hamzah of Pakistan’s Multan was arrested eight days after the encounter in the forests of Chak Fatah Khan near Halmathpora, where five militants and as many security personnel were killed, and was later handed over to the NIA, which has now taken over the investigation.
An NIA spokesperson said Zabiullah hailed from Multan and was a resident of Bosan Road, Mehmood Kote, Gali no 1, which is near Markaz Ibnul Qasim. “Zabiullah had escaped from the encounter site and was arrested by J&K police on April 6. He was detained and on April 5 was produced before a Jammu NIA special court that remanded him to 10 days NIA custody,” the spokeperson said. Sources said that the militant was unarmed and injured, and could barely walk when he was arrested.
During interrogation, Zabiullah revealed that he had sneaked into India fully armed in March along with five other LeT cadres. Their aim was to carry out large-scale attacks on security forces. “But, before they could carry out any attack, the militants were confronted by the security forces and five of his associates Darda, 22, of Lahore, Shuram, 26, of Multan, Faidullah, 20, of Gujrawalan, Ummar, 19, of Sindh, and Kari, 19, of Peshawar were killed in the encounter,” he said.
Last month, the Army, police and paramilitary forces had launched an operation in Halmathpora, which is the last village before the LoC. The NIA spokesperson said the terrorists hiding in the Chak Fatah Khan forest started firing upon the security forces in indiscriminately and a gun battle ensued. “During the exchange of fire, five foreign terrorists were killed. Three Army personnel and two policemen were killed and four security personnel were injured,” he said, adding that the NIA re-registered the case on April and took up the investigation after the home ministry’s order.