February 2, 2021
Pakistani police said on Tuesday they had arrested a militant allegedly linked to the Iran-backed Zainabiyoun Brigade, the fourth such arrest since last December and part of what investigators say is sustained action against the outfit.
The Zainabiyoun Brigade was placed on the US Treasury’s financial blacklist in January 2019 and is believed to have sent young members of the Pakistani Shiite community to fight in Syria.
A handout issued by the counterterrorism department (CTD) on Tuesday said Syed Zakir Raza alias Nadeem was arrested in a “joint operation” by the Sindh counterterrorism police and a federal intelligence agency. He is allegedly the close associate of another Zainabiyoun Brigade-linked militant, Abbas Jafri, who was arrested last week.
According to an official handout from last week, Jafri, was trained in 2014 and, among other skills, taught to perform intelligence operations and provide medical services.
“The arrested terrorist specialized in automatic weapons and received training from a neighboring country,” the handout added, referring to Iran.
Earlier in December, CTD said it had arrested two members of the Zainabiyoun Brigade from the Qur’angi area of Karachi in connection with a string of killings over the last six years.
Tehran has not responded to the CTD’s claims.
On November 27, 2020, an AP report said a group of Pakistanis was among 19 pro-Iran militia fighters killed in eastern Syria.
Last March, a senior official told Arab News up to 50 Pakistani fighters were killed by the Turkish army and Syrian forces in a major rebel stronghold in the northwest of the country.