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Navy officer’s killing seen linked to ongoing city violence

Updated September 05, 2013

KARACHI, Sept 4: The killing of a senior Pakistan Navy officer on Wednesday hours before Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was to chair a crucial federal cabinet meeting here on the city’s deteriorating law and order situation was seen linked to the recent upsurge in violence contrary to past attacks on the armed force which were blamed on banned outfits.

The police investigators and intelligence officials said they believed the fatal armed attack on Captain Nadeem Ahmed and his foreign national wife apparently did not seem part of the past attacks on the force’s officials and its installations but in line with a dimension that seemed new.

“There are some forces which definitely want to aggravate the situation,” said an official. He did not identify the ‘forces’ but referred to some ‘non-state actors’ for being behind the attacks. “A thorough investigation is definitely needed to ascertain the exact objective the attackers wanted to achieve while targeting senior officers of the force but it might be an attempt to prove the failure of the security institution when the cabinet was due to set a line of action for Karachi peace.”

He said investigations of the past attacks led to arrests of several suspects and in some cases banned outfits claimed credit for the attacks on Pakistan Navy officers and its installations.

The official also referred to the fatal attacks on Pakistan Navy officers apparently on sectarian grounds apart from the deadly assault on the Mehran airbase in May 2011 and bomb attacks on buses carrying PN employees and their families.

In February 2013 Lieutenant Commander S. Azeem Haider Kazmi was killed in an attack in Keamari just days after another lieutenant commander, Syed Asif Hussain Kazmi, and his wife were wounded when an improvised explosive device planted under his car exploded on the premises of PNS Karsaz.

In May 2011 armed militants stormed into the Mehran naval airbase in Karachi, destroyed two aircraft and were killed after an hours-long gun battle with the security personnel that also left a number of officials dead and wounded. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack earlier, which they said was carried out to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2 in Abbottabad by American marines.

Earlier, bomb attacks on three Pakistan Navy buses on April 26 and 28 near Sharea Faisal, Defence Housing Authority Phase II and Baldia Town killed at least eight people and left over 50 wounded. Though the past attacks were blamed on banned outfits, one way or another, the recent one emerged a little different both for the investigators and intelligence officials.

“The murder of the Navy officer was a targeted killing but its motive appeared to enhance the sense of insecurity in the metropolis,” said the DIG-East, retired Capt Tahir Naveed, ruling out the possibility of a robbery attempt or personal enmity being behind the attack.

“The investigators are thinking on the lines that the killers knew that the murder of the senior armed force official would make big news and trigger hue and cry about insecurity. It seems linked to the city situation.”