Balochistan govt in touch with Sindh investigators in PSX attack case

Updated Jul 01 2020

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Army personnel secure the Pakistan Stock Exchange building on Tuesday, a day after the terrorist attack. — INP
Army personnel secure the Pakistan Stock Exchange building on Tuesday, a day after the terrorist attack. — INP

KARACHI: Police authorities and the Sindh government on Tuesday confirmed they were in contact with their counterparts in Balochistan to make headway into the investigations of Monday’s attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) as initial findings helped investigators to determine areas of residence of the dead attackers and their masterminds.

Two investigation teams — one set up by the Karachi police and the other belonging to the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Sindh police — found new evidence that convinced them about the origin of the attack and the way it was executed in the city.

The findings led to quick contact between the authorities of the Sindh and Balochistan provinces and that development would further lead to more coordination between the two sides during the course of investigation.

“Police authorities in Balochistan and provincial government are briefed about the findings of the probe so far,” said an official. “The two sides agreed to pursue the available information and keep strong coordination during the course of investigation. The investigators have enough material to connect the dots to solve the case on a faster pace.”

A formal case has been registered under antiterror law; CM visits CPO, announces compensation

The PSX had come under attack on Monday morning when four heavily armed assailants lobbed grenades at its entrance and opened fire on security guards and officials before being killed in an exchange of fire that also claimed the lives of a police officer and three guards.

The outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility through social media. Rangers chief Major General Omar Bukhari had said that the attack reflected the “frustration” of Indian agency RAW over peace in Pakistan’s financial hub, and it was not possible without the help of any foreign hostile agency.

Three of the attackers were later identified as Salman, Tasleem Baloch and Siraj through their fingerprints. The fresh contact and coordination between the law enforcement agencies emerged as a result of such findings.

In another development, the Meethadar police formally registered a case of the incident under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 344 (wrongful confinement for ten or more days), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 (ATA).

Compensation announced

Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday announced a one-step upward promotion for the martyred policeman and announced a Rs10 million compensation, two jobs, continuation of salary till his superannuation.

He also announced Rs5m for the three martyred security guards and a job in police for each family.

An outer windowpane can be seen damaged by a bullet in the ensuing exchange of fire.—INP
An outer windowpane can be seen damaged by a bullet in the ensuing exchange of fire.—INP

“I also urged the PSX and the concerned bank whose security guards lost their lives to match the compensation,” he said.

He made the announcement while addressing a special ceremony organised at the Central Police Office (CPO) to pay tribute to the policemen and security guards who laid down their lives and sustained multiple injuries while foiling Monday’s attack.

Mr Shah announced Rs500,000 financial assistance for seven policemen who sustained injuries while fighting the terrorists.

He said that the attack on the PSX might have caused us more loss than the attack on World Trade Centre by Osama Bin Laden. “Credit goes to the Sindh government which made recruitments in the police purely on merit, otherwise this bravery and timely action against the terrorists might have not taken place,” he said.

He said that the terrorists who attacked PSX had come from another province.

Earlier, the chief minister, Information Minister Nasir Shah and Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Mahar offered dua at the memorial built at the CPO to keep the memories of brave policemen who laid down their lives in the line of duty alive.

Replying to a question, the chief minister said that the provincial government was collecting withholding tax on behalf of the federal government.

“If the federal government wants the provincial government to collect any tax they [Fed govt] would have to formally request the provincial government and then the decision would be taken in consultation with our cabinet,” he said, adding that the provincial government was ready to serve the federal government within the ambit of the Constitution of Pakistan.

To a question, the chief minister said that the unilateral deduction of withholding tax on vehicles by the federal government was unconstitutional.

“Despite our repeated request and letter the deducted amount has not been returned so far,” he lamented.

Talking about the salary structure of the Sindh police, the chief minister said it was better than the policemen of the other provinces.

Replying to a question about the lockdown, the CM said that his government could not impose it unilaterally. “Now, Eidul Azha is approaching and on this Eid virus may take a new turn of highs, if this kind of approach and attitude are continued then the virus would not die down in Pakistan even if it is eliminated in the rest of the world,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020