Dawn News

KARACHI, May 22: Armed militants stormed into a naval airbase here on Sunday night, destroyed three aircraft and killed at least five people — four navy personnel and a foreigner whose nationality could not be ascertained.

According to sources, 12 to 15 militants managed to sneak into the PNS Mehran base, which is used for naval aviation, from three directions and carried out a simultaneous attack on different targets.

It could not be confirmed if they had faced any resistance or had used some disguise while entering the premises.

The militants also took some Chinese personnel hostage in a building inside the base, which was subsequently surrounded by naval commandos, the sources said.

The PAF Museum located near the base is visited by a large number of people on Sundays.

The militants either placed detonators on the aircraft present in hangars in PNS Mehran or used rockets to blow them up.

Witnesses said they had heard three or four explosions, but another blast took place in the base at around 1am, turning the whole place into an inferno. The blast which was heard as far as Rashid Minhas Road spread panic among residents.

The fire and smoke were visible from the Sharea Faisal and intense gunfire was being heard.

The sources said at least two P-3C Orion aircraft and a helicopter were destroyed in the attack.

A naval official, who wanted to remain anonymous, said it appeared that the aircraft fleet was the target of the attack.

During the entire episode, the base continued to resonate with gunfire.

A spokesman for the navy confirmed the destruction of one aircraft and injuries to two navy personnel. He said SSG Commandos had also taken part in the operation.

Five firemen were injured while trying to put out the fire.

The sources said that four militants were killed and two injured suspects were arrested by law-enforcement personnel while they were trying to flee from a seminary located near the Karsaz flyover.

Local law-enforcement officials, including police and Rangers, reached the place but were not allowed inside the base for some time.

At around 1.30am, the base authorities allowed some private ambulances inside the premises after searching them, giving an indication about casualties.

But the ambulances were stopped after another blast, followed by gunfire.

Till early Monday morning, intermittent gunfire was being heard outside the base.

Hundreds of ambulances were parked outside the base.

Army personnel were patrolling the Sharea Faisal as the operation continued in the base. Media personnel outside the base saw smoke and red dots flying in the night amid sound of gunfire.

Till the filing of this report, none of the injured or bodies had been taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. A PAF hospital and the navy’s PNS Rahat are also located in the vicinity of the base, but it was not clear if any of the injured had been admitted there.

On April 28, a bus carrying naval personnel was attacked at the entrance of the PNS Mehran, killing five people.

Two days earlier, two navy buses were attacked by terrorists in the DHA and Baldia, leaving four people dead and 56 others injured.

The banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and Baloch separatists had claimed the responsibility of the attacks.


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Comments (14) Closed



Mehdi
May 23, 2011 08:04am
will we do something or just watch our country being destroyed like that...
A. Rehman
May 23, 2011 08:53am
I hope this clears up any lingering doubts: the Taliban is a gang of violent criminals and should be ruthlessly crushed. And no, just because they claim our religion as their own, they are not 'better' than the Americans. Both the Taliban and America leave our citizens equally dead and their families equally traumatized. Both should be stopped. The Taliban Frankenstein needs to be put down.
Ram
May 23, 2011 11:23am
Yes, you really need to do something to prevent such attacks in future in your country.
Mehdi Tejani
May 23, 2011 11:33am
Gob Bless us country.
Noreen
May 23, 2011 11:49am
I dont get it. Why the navy?
Syed A.
May 23, 2011 12:07pm
General Kayani, wake up and act now. The Pakistani nation will never forgive you if you fail now. These people in Karachi must be hunted even if you have to search every house.
jack
May 23, 2011 12:15pm
What a senseless loss of life!The taliban are nobody's friends. Wonder why some Pakistanis consider them as friends.
Raina Zia
May 23, 2011 12:52pm
I dont believe Pakistan force can be attacked so easily.. I think our mothers need to rethink about the sons have sent to forces.. 20 people attack Our forces on defensive side in thier own base.. Why we didn't listen dat "someone try to access the base all culprits arrestred alive within half an hour coz they dare to attack Pakistan"
Alee
May 23, 2011 12:59pm
See, this time they have gone to demolish the assets instead of killing our military men on massive scale... time to ponder over!
Abid Hussain
May 23, 2011 01:51pm
Wake up call is not for the Army or Government, this is wake up call for the people of Pakistan. Stop blaming other for the wrong doing. Every Pakistani is responsible for everyday lost.
M.Z.Khan
May 23, 2011 02:33pm
I agree, but How to??? The Govt. is busy in their Monkey Business. To have any hope from Zardari & CO is like banging your head against the bricks wall. I see Imran Khan is the only hope. He may not be that good, but at least he has some "Integrity" and "Ghairt". Pakistan Zindabad,
sATOKER
May 23, 2011 04:29pm
I feel sorry and sad for the people of Pakistan. My eyes gets moist when I see these killings inside Pakistan. Though I am Indian by birth, but U.S. citizen but always close to the feelings of Pakistani people beacuse here in United States I have lots fo people from Pakistan and they are all very good people and it hurts me when their loved ones get killed every day. To me these politicians are to be blamed. If they can run their own country by themslves, they wont have to depend on any outsider. Any way God bless the people of Pakistan and hope their leadership wake up and start defending their own country.
Danish M.Sheikh
May 23, 2011 11:12pm
We must find out why and how this happened ?Is on duty staff sleeping? Needs to find out roots.If navy airbase is NOT safe then what?
farid
May 24, 2011 04:27am
thanks for your good words!