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A plume of smoke rises from the background as a military official uses a phone at the entrance to the Mehran naval aviation base which was attacked by militants in Karachi, May 22, 2011. — Photo by Reuters

KARACHI, May 21: At least three senior naval officers have faced court martial in connection with last year’s terrorist attack on PNS Mehran base.

The ISPR (navy) confirmed that these officers were tried “under the naval law and were accordingly penalised”.

The punishment and the relevant law were not specified.

According to sources, the penalised officers are Commodore Raja Tahir, Commander Asrar and Lt Commander Absar. They held senior commanding positions at the base at the time of the attack.

When an ISPR official was approached for confirmation of the officers’ identities, he refused to do so.

The court martial was held in the light of the report of a joint investigation team that included personnel from the three services.

Terrorists launched the attack on PNS Mehran, a heavily guarded facility of Pakistan Navy located along Sharea Faisal, on May 22 last year.The attackers, four of whom were killed during the attack, scaled the wall of the base, which also housed air force and army facilities.

They blew up a four-engine P3C Orion reconnaissance plane of Pakistan Navy by firing a rocket. At least 10 personnel of the forces were killed in the strike, which ended well past midnight.

The assault raised questions about the terrorists’ capability to penetrate armed forces installations.

Although some officials have been penalised, nothing has been disclosed about measures taken to upgrade security at bases situated near densely populated areas.

According to sources, personnel manning these bases have to go through intensive screening nowadays because some intelligence reports hinted at links between officials working at Mehran base and extremist organisations. — Shamim-ur-Rahman