LAHORE: With no major breakthrough in tracing and identifying the terrorist network involved in Charing Cross suicide attack, the Capital City Police on Thursday continued search operations in various areas of the city, taking another 124 suspects into custody for interrogation.
A senior police investigator told this reporter that the teams working on the case were at an early stage of investigation and any high-value arrest might take time.
He said the investigators’ main focus was on tracking down the members of Jamatul Ahrar (JuA) which claimed responsibility for the attack.
The search operation was launched after the suicide blast on The Mall claiming lives of 14 people, including of senior two police officials and leaving more than 80 injured.
The government had constituted a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe into the incident. The JIT started recording statements of the policemen and other injured people by visiting different city hospitals. The JIT also analysed the forensic evidences and CCTV footages of the incident.
No breakthrough in Charing Cross attack probe
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of police also issued sketches of the suspected suicide bomber and picture of his facilitator.
Help of the public has been sought to identify the facilitator, and a cash prize of Rs1 million was announced on Thursday for providing any actionable information in this regard.
The CTD spokesperson urged the public to share any information regarding the facilitator on CTD helpline 0800-11111. The authorities said that name and identity of the caller would be kept secret.
The law enforcement agencies (LEAs), including police, intelligence agencies, CIA and CTD launched a search operation in various areas of the city, including Hall Road, Beadon Road, Lorri Ada, Data Darbar, North and South Cantonment areas, Green Town, Sunder, Hanjarwal, Iqbal Town, Wahdat Colony, Nawan Kot, Shera Kot and Kahna.
The LEAs took 124 suspects into custody and shifted them to an undisclosed location for interrogation. The police also used bio-metric machines for identification of the people and those who failed to produce documents to prove their identity were taken into custody.
The police teams also set up pickets at all entry and exist points of the city as province-wide search operation continued for third consecutive day.
Model Town division police also carried out a mock anti-terror exercise at the Lahore Grammar School in Faisal Town under the supervision of SP Ismail Kharak. The DSPs and SHOs concerned, besides officials of the intelligence agencies and Dolphin Force participated in the exercise. The purpose of the exercise was said to be checking the police response time and creating a sense of security among the citizens.
Mr Kharak said such exercises would be carried out in the entire division, adding it was meant for checking preparedness of the force in case of an emergency to improve their response time.
Punjab government has announced Rs10 million and Rs25m financial assistance for the families of each policeman and officer killed in the line of duty, respectively. The government also promised financial assistance for buying a house for the families of the slain policemen, besides free education and health facilities for their spouses and children.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday visited families of slain SSP Zahid Nawaz Gondal at Bahria Town, Lahore, of head constable
Asmat Ali at Sahiwal and of wireless operator Muhammad Amin at Shakargarh, and condoled their deaths. He had visited the residences of constable Muhammad Nadeem at Renala Khurd, constable Irfan Mehmood at Depalpur and constable Aslam in Raja Jang village of Kasur on Wednesday.
The government is considering to name roads and schools after the police officers and officials who were killed in the attack.
Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2017