ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) claimed before the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it had forewarned of the carnage in which over 87 innocent Shia Hazaras lost their lives in Quetta.

“A huge consignment of explosives was being transported,” the ISI said in a report submitted to a three-judge bench which had taken up a suo motu notice of unabated killings of the Hazara community.

At the last hearing the court had summoned reports from intelligence agencies on the Feb 16 incident.

Read out by Director Legal of the Ministry of Defence Commander Shahbaz, the ISI report said that despite being in a crude form, the information had been passed on (to the provincial government) about an imminent bomb blast. It said the terrorists had taken the advantage of water scarcity in Hazara Town and sent a tanker loaded with 800-1,000kg of explosives.

On Jan 10, an ambulance had been used for a similar blast on Alamdar Road in Quetta.

When raids were conducted, terrorists advanced the date of their nefarious plan by a day before the “chehlum” which was to be attended by a large number of people to mourn the death of Alamdar Road blast victims.

The report said the water tanker had crossed two checkposts of the Frontier Corps and police before entering Kirani Road in Hazara Town. Intelligence always came in a piecemeal basis, it said, adding that had the tanker been checked thoroughly the incident would have been averted.

The ISI never conducts operations; it collects information and passes it on to the relevant authorities. Commander Shahbaz said that even powerful intelligence agencies of the world could not pinpoint the exact happening of incidents like 9/11, Mumbai attack and Al Khubar blast in Saudi Arabia. He offered to arrange an in-camera briefing for the bench by the ISI to help understand the real picture and actual situation in Balochistan and said that divulging some information could endanger the lives of intelligence sources.

But it was a confidential report of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) submitted by Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddiq Akbar which appeared to have convinced the court that 30 to 40 per cent accurate information might have been communicated, but because of negligence on part of the provincial government the blast could not be prevented.

The report was not shared in the open court although the judges went though it.

Additional Advocate General of Balochistan Azam Khattak admitted that although the provincial government had been tipped off, there was no exact information and said the water tanker loaded with explosives was in a garage in Hazar Ganji area of Quetta.

When the court asked for the report which was to be submitted on behalf of Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf, Deputy Attorney General Shafi Chandio said Cabinet Division Secretary Nargis Setthi herself wanted to submit reports on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari, the prime minister and the governor, but she could not do so because she was attending a cabinet meeting on Balochistan.

The bench directed her to submit the reports on Thursday. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that instead of transferring the Balochistan IB chief, the cause of the attack should have been identified by combing the entire area.

The court asked the Balochistan home secretary, DIG and FC Inspector General Obaidullah Khattak to appear before it on Thursday and disclose the names of people who had failed to inspect the water tanker.

Interior and defence secretaries are required to submit reports on the Jan 10 Alamdar road bombing.

Additional Interior Secretary Saqib Javed informed the court that four terrorists -- Shah Wali, son of Makhan Khan, of Rahimyar Khan; Abdul Wahab alias Doctor, of Kohlu; Naeem Jan alias Naeem Bhai, of Kili Nasiran; and Anwar Khan, son of Amrat Khan, of Mangu Pir, had been killed in a pre-dawn targeted operation. Seven others were arrested.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain cited an IB report which stated that the civil administration had failed to chalk out measures to pre-empt the threat.

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