KARACHI: Mystery shrouds Wednesday’s grenade explosion outside a police armoury in Garden Police Headquarters as investigators on Thursday found 68 more grenades stored there but all of them were made by the Pakistan Ordinance Factory and not Russian made.
While police claimed that the grenades kept at the armoury were for fighting terrorists and criminals/kidnappers in Katcha areas of the province, there was no explanation as to how the two Russian-made grenades — one of which went off on Wednesday — ended up there.
On Wednesday morning, Constable Shehzad and Cobbler Sabir were killed while Sub-Inspector Saeed and Constable Ali Gohar critically injured when one of the two Russian-made grenades, RGD-1, exploded outside the police armoury.
South-DIG Sharjil Kharal said that an inquiry was under way to ascertain as to how the incident occurred there. He said a special team had been constituted for ascertaining facts/inquiry of the explosion.
Police doubt grenades part of armoury’s inventory; 68 POF-made hand grenades rust away
On Thursday, the DIG clarified that the grenades were part of equipment/ammunition for protection of police and fighting against criminals. He added that they were not ‘case property’.
Another police officer, who wished not to be named, said that the wounded policemen were not in a position to talk to the inquiry team and tell them exact circumstances that led to the explosion.
He said that not only grenades but mortar shells had also been kept there for fighting criminals, particularly dacoits/kidnappers in Katcha area of Sindh as the armoury at the Garden Police Headquarters dealt with arms and ammunition for the whole province.
The officer hinted that some of the grenades stocked at the armoury dated back to 2014.
As the explosion took place outside the armoury and across the road, the officer said they were also looking into the possibility as to whether the grenades were brought from outside or taken from the armoury.
68 grenades, 266 mortar shells ‘defused’
The Bomb Disposal Unit of Special Branch in their post-blast report on Wednesday identified presence of 68 hand-grenades and 266 mortar shells at the armoury and suggested their “demolition” by Pakistan Army as the same were in ‘rustic and dangerous condition’.
According to the BDS report reviewed by Dawn on Thursday, the bomb experts had inspected 68 grenades, ME-36 made-in Pakistan Ordinance Factory, which were in “rusted/dangerous condition, metal body colour brown/complete”.
The report said that all the grenades required to be demolished.
The report added that the technical experts of Special Branch also inspected 266 mortar shells and found that all these shells were in ‘old and dangerous condition’.
The experts recommended that these shells also required demolition and handed over to Pakistan Army for safe demolition.
Meanwhile, DIG-South Kharal claimed that the 68 grenades stocked at the armoury had been ‘defused’ and the shells had also been made safe by the police’s technical experts.
Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2022