ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Police are questioning a domestic spy agency employee accused of planting explosives outside the offices of a top elected provincial official who is at odds with the central government, a security official said Friday.

Mohammed Tufail, a cleaner employed by the Intelligence Bureau, was caught Tuesday after police saw him throwing a seven-inch stick of dynamite, concealed in a packet, into a trash can at the office of chief minister Akram Durrani in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Shortly after the incident, Durrani, the elected leader of the provincial government of the North West Frontier Province, accused Tufail’s boss of freeing him from police custody and taking away the seized explosives, which he says had been planted to target his office.

Durrani on Tuesday ordered police to arrest a provincial director of the Intelligence Bureau, Ziaullah Khan, and Tufail. The Intelligence Bureau is a powerful civil intelligence agency that answers to the prime minister’s office.

Durrani is from a hard-line coalition of Islamic parties that controls the provincial government but opposes the central government.

About 80,000 government troops are posted in North West Frontier Province to stop Taliban militants from crossing into bordering Afghanistan and to help find al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding in the mountainous frontier shared by the two countries.

The arrest of Tufail comes amid growing concern over the activities of domestic spy agencies, particularly secret detentions of people accused of involvement in terrorism or with anti-government groups.

Although Tufail was handed over to police by the Intelligence Bureau on Wednesday, Khan obtained bail, said the security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of his job.

Tufail told investigators “he saw a metal-like thing near the chief minister’s office Tuesday and routinely put it in a discarded envelop and threw the packet in a bin,” said the official, who works for a military intelligence agency.

The official said the Intelligence Bureau’s office is located just outside the chief minister’s office, and the agency’s cleaner used to routinely throw garbage in a can near the perimeter wall of the chief minister’s office.

He said officers were still investigating, and it was yet to be determined how the explosives reached there, if Tufail had no links with it.

Asif Iqbal Daudzai, a spokesman for Durrani’s provincial government, confirmed that Tufail was being questioned by a four-member team comprising senior investigators.

Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao, who controls the spy agency, said he has sent senior investigators to Peshawar to look into the incident.


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