ISLAMABAD, Feb 1: The security staff members of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday went into a state of shock over the revelation that a parcel received at their boss’s official residence in October last year carried deadly anthrax.
Initially, investigations by the law enforcement agencies traced the consignment’s origin to the district of Jamshoro in Sindh.
A female associate professor at Sindh University Jamshoro is being suspected of dispatching the parcel to the official residence of the prime minister, said a Prime Minister House official who requested not to be named.
He said as multiple law enforcement agencies were working on different leads to investigate the case, it wouldn’t take much time before they would be able to nab the real culprit.
“Had it been simple powder, one could imply someone has bluffed but now as laboratory tests have confirmed that it was anthrax, we are left with no other option but to take it very seriously,” added the official.
He said in October the security staff posted at the outer gate of the Prime Minister House noticed a powder-like material in the parcel and immediately informed the high-ups who sent it for laboratory test.
When asked, the official said, it was part of SOP that all parcels received at the secretariat were checked at variously levels both by security staff and through scanners.
Anybody holding the parcel in question in his hands could feel it was carrying a powder-like material which led the security staff to go for its thorough investigations, said the official. The official residence of the prime minister has multiple security cordons.
After receiving a complaint from Abdul Hafiz, a deputy director at the PM Secretariat, the police registered a case against the unidentified sender and started investigation.
Sources said the parcel did not bear the name and address of the sender and was received at the PM House on October 18.
Later, it was sent to the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research which conducted a test on the powder and declared it anthrax. The report was sent to the PM Secretariat last week.
On January 31, the complaint accompanied by the PCSIR report reached the Secretariat police station where the case was registered under section 270 PPC (malignant act likely to spread infectious disease dangerous to life).