KARACHI: A key facilitator of the November 2018 attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi has been arrested in Sharjah, the Sindh police announced on Tuesday.

Abdullah Shaikh, deputy inspector general (DIG) of Sindh’s Counter-Terrorism Department, identified the suspect as Rashid Baloch and claimed he was a senior member of the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).

He said UAE authorities acted on the CTD’s information to arrest Rashid in Sharjah a few days ago.

“We know Rashid has links to suspects abroad and that he was present in Karachi at the time of the attack. According to our findings, Rashid received Rs900,000 a few days before the attack, which was used to execute the plan,” added the senior police official.

On November 23, three militants attempted to enter the Chinese consulate in Karachi’s Clifton area but were shot dead in an exchange of fire with law enforcement personnel. The gun-and-grenade assault resulted in the martyrdom of two policemen and two visa applicants. The attack was claimed by the BLA.

On January 11 this year, police announced the arrest of five suspects belonging to BLA from Karachi, Hub and Quetta.

At a press conference, Additional Inspector General of Police (AIG) Dr Amir Shaikh said the attack was planned in Afghanistan and carried out with the assistance of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

He had said the mastermind of the attack was BLA commander Aslam alias Achu. “There have been reports that the mastermind, Aslam alias Achu, was killed in Kandahar, but we cannot believe it unless we see the body or other evidence,” said the AIG.

Dr Shaikh had further stated that the attack was aimed at sabotaging the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and meant to create discord between Pakistan and China. “They wanted China to believe that Karachi is not safe.”