Syria-returned militants may be behind attack on policemen: CTD

Updated June 25, 2017

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Top police and government officials attend the funeral prayers of the slain law enforcers at the Garden police headquarters late on Friday.─PPI
Top police and government officials attend the funeral prayers of the slain law enforcers at the Garden police headquarters late on Friday.─PPI

KARACHI: Investigators probing Friday’s targeted attack on four policemen in the SITE area on Saturday suspected that the militants who returned from Syria were involved in the deadly attack on the law enforcers.

Four policemen were gunned down when armed pillion riders opened indiscriminate fire when they were sitting at a roadside eatery to break their fast.

The Counter-Terrorism Department of the Sindh police had launched a probe into the targeted killing after a case was registered against unknown men under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 at the CTD police station, Garden.

The police investigators had collected around 28 spent bullet casings fired from two 9mm pistols from the crime scene. The empties were sent for a forensic analysis to ascertain whether the same weapon was used in any previous killings.

“The forensic report revealed that one of the 9mm pistols was also used in targeted killings of two policemen within the remit of the New Town police station on May 20,” DIG CTD Amir Farooqi told Dawn.

He said that a spokesperson of a previously unknown militant outfit, Jamaat-ul-Ansar al-Sharia Pakistan, had claimed responsibility for the killing of the four policemen as the assailant had thrown a pamphlet there. The same outfit had also claimed the responsibility of the targeted killing of a retired army colonel, Tahir Zia Nagi, in Baloch Colony area in April.

He said that this newly established militant outfit had declared that they would target law enforcers.

The DIG said as per the CTD’s initial assessment this newly created group appeared to be inspired by the banned Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

“It [the outfit] has evolved recently and the CTD apprehended that it was formed by some militants who had earlier gone to fight in Syria and [had] now returned,” said DIG Farooqi.

Slain policemen laid to rest

The funeral prayers for slain assistant sub-inspector Mohammed Yusuf and three constables — Shabbir, Khalid and Israr — was held at the Police Headquarters, Garden late on Friday night. Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja and other senior officers attended the prayers.

Bodies of three policemen were sent to their hometowns upcountry, while Constable Khalid was buried in an Orangi Town graveyard.

The IGP also held a meeting with the police officers concerned and expressed his extreme displeasure over not following the standard operating procedure to prevent such attacks on the police.

Sources familiar with this development told Dawn that IGP Khowaja directed the police officers that from now on a single police mobile van would not be deployed or conduct snap-checking anywhere in the metropolis. The police mobile should be followed by four policemen on two separate motorbikes or two police mobiles should patrol the locality, he ordered.

The sources said that the IGP also issued instructions to the police officers that the policemen should break their fast at their respective stations or nearby kiosks of Rangers instead of having Iftar at roadside stalls or restaurants.

The IGP also informed the police officers that he had talked to the director general of Sindh Rangers and the police would conduct snap-checking in coordination with the Rangers to meet any eventuality.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2017