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Over 300 policemen deployed along border with Balochistan after Chinese consulate attack

Updated November 30, 2018


63 posts have been set up in Jacobabad, Kashmore and Qambar. — AFP/File
63 posts have been set up in Jacobabad, Kashmore and Qambar. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Sindh has deployed more than 300 police personnel along its border with Balochistan after investigators found that the suspects involved in last week’s foiled attack on the Chinese consulate here had come from the neighbouring province, a senior official said on Thursday.

The move, he said, was a follow-up to the decision taken at a meeting presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and attended by Chinese Consul General Wang Yu, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah, Inspector General Dr Kaleem Imam and other senior officials of the provincial government.

He agreed that the available resources and manpower of the Sindh police did not allow the law enforcement agency to properly man all the 63 Balochistan border posts and it was incidents like the consulate attack which pushed the authorities towards adopting temporary measures.

“A total of 323 policemen have been deployed at 63 Balochistan border posts,” he said. “It’s the sanctioned strength for a dedicated purpose which [is] keeping an eye on the movement of people and spotting terrorists or outlaws on the [inter-provincial] borders. These posts were supposed to check regular movement of people from the two sides. Of the 63 posts, 31 are in Jacobabad, 19 in Kashmore and 13 have been set up in Qambar.”

63 posts have been set up in Jacobabad, Kashmore and Qambar

Three heavily armed militants were shot dead in an encounter with law enforcers during a gun-and-grenade attack on the Chinese consulate in the city that also claimed the lives of two police officials and two visa applicants last Friday morning. The assault on the consulate, situated in the “high-security zone” of Clifton’s Block-4, also left a private guard of the foreign mission wounded.

Later, the banned Balochistan Liberation Army promptly claimed credit for the terrorist attack and the police during the investigation traced their route to reach their target. An initial probe convinced the authorities that its planners, handlers and perpetrators had come from the neighbouring province.

Though the Balochistan border posts were built years ago, the officials said, their effectiveness always came under question whenever such an incident hit Karachi.

“These posts were actually set up in 2006 after the killing of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in the wake of growing threats from separatist militants,” said the official. “However, it has always been a tough job due to limited resources, poor infrastructure on the border and a large part of the terrain which cannot be manned round the clock. In 2016, the same move was initiated after twin suicide attacks targeted an Eidul Azha prayer congregation in Shikarpur that killed a policeman and left around a dozen people wounded. The decision was made to strengthen security after it was established that the handlers and perpetrators had come from Balochistan. The move proved short-lived.”

This time, he said, the police authorities had made detailed plans and taken effective measures that would prove fruitful in tracking the movement of people at the inter-provincial borders.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018