ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday said investigations into last week’s Sabzi Mandi blast were making headway, claiming the fruit crates containing the explosives had been transported to the capital from South Punjab.
“Many developments have taken place in the last 72 hours and the police have now focused on the area from where the guava crates containing the explosives or a device were transported (to the Sabzi Mandi),” the minister told a news conference at Punjab House here.
He, however, added that he did not want to disclose the name of the city from where the crates were brought to Islamabad.
Though the minister denied the claim of the shadowy United Baloch Army that it had carried out the terrorist act in Sabzi Mandi, he did not name Taliban or any other banned outfit for the terror act.
“A Baloch had claimed responsibility for the incident but according to our initial and viable intelligence reports, the links go somewhere else,” he said without elaborating.
Terror struck the federal capital on Wednesday when a bomb tore through the fruit and vegetable market killing 24 people and injuring over 120 others. Most of the victims were vendors and labourers form Fata and Waziristan.
Chaudhry Nisar said that according to initial police reports, the fruit crates had been transported through a passenger bus instead of a truck or goods vehicle.
He claimed that the police had identified the vehicle through which the crates were brought to Sabzi Mandi and some eight to 10 labourers, who had loaded and unloaded these crates, were being interrogated.
Visibly upset over criticism on his ministry’s performance by some political and media circles, Chaudhry Nisar asked his opponents not to do politics on security issues.
He said it was unjustified to express apprehensions over Islamabad’s security after the bomb blast in the capital’s suburbs. According to the minister, it was not possible for the police and law enforcement agencies to check each and every vehicle entering Sabzi Mandi area which spread over 400 kanals and where some 15,000 people remained present during peak hours.
The minister seemed satisfied over the investigations being carried out by the police and security agencies and expressed the hope that the culprits would be brought to justice.
He said Islamabad would be made a “model security city” within a year with the help of the national security policy, modern technology and increased coordination between various law enforcement agencies. He said a contingent of Elite Force had already arrived in Islamabad from Punjab and soon Rangers would also be deployed in the capital city. Moreover, he said, about 2,400 CCTV cameras were being installed at various places in Islamabad and Rawalpindi while a central command system was also being set up for surveillance. He said the new inspector general of police (IGP) for Islamabad would be appointed next week.
In reply to a question, the minister said, “security perception” for the capital was there but “security threat” had declined to a great extent. Chaudhry Nisar expressed annoyance over the presence of a huge slum near Sabzi Mandi where hundreds of “unregistered people, including foreigners” have been living for the last over a decade.
“Who is responsible for allowing these people to live in these slums? These slums have not come into existence in one year time,” the minister said.
He said the ministry had decided to collect data about the slum dwellers with the help of Nadra and intelligence agencies. He added that some 200,000 unregistered people were residing in Islamabad.
“These katchi abadis should be relocated,” the minister said in response to a question if the government planned any operation against the slums. He said the Afghan refugees should only be confined to the camps and should not be allowed to live in cities or slums