PNS Mehran attack: Police kept out

Published: May 24, 2011

Pakistani soldiers arrive for a military operation against militants at Pakistan's naval air base following an attack by militants in Karachi on May 23, 2011. PHOTO : AFP

KARACHI: As soon as news of an attack at the naval base spread, a posse of civilian law-enforcement agencies, including the police, Crime Investigation Department, Special Investigation Unit, Special Protection Group, Anti-Extremism Cell, Counter-Terrorism Unit, reached the spot. But the navy personnel did not let them in.

“This is not good,“ fumed Anti-Extremism Cell chief SSP Chaudhry Aslam Khan. “What can we do now? They are not providing us access.
No need to stay here. We are going back.“

Angry officers were turned away from the gates of the PAF Museum, PNS Mehran and PAF Faisal through which army trucks whizzed past.
Many officers just hung back, too cagey to risk being embarrassed by rejection.

“Leave it, yaar,“ said a CID official. “Yahan par kharey ho kar apni beizzati karwaien kya?“ He grabbed Aslam’s arm and steered him away too.

Later, some police officials also entered but according to reports all of them had to stay at the guardroom.

The vehicles of intelligence officials went through as did about three ambulances and fire engines. It seemed as if the entire city’s ambulances had reached the spot but all of them were turned away.

Even Karachi police’s Special Investigation Unit SSP Raja Umer Khattab, in his silver SUV, was denied entry. However, a convoy of the Ranger’s wing commander was immediately let in.

Sindh Police Crime Investigation Department’s senior officials SSP Omer Shahid and SSP Chaudhry Aslam in their black SUV managed to reach just the parking lot of the museum, but returned when the Navy Marines began engaging the militants in a fierce gun battle. One or two journalists too sneaked in with the convoy of some of these police officers, but they, too, returned, in one case with bruises on their arms, minutes later. The convoys of Pakistan Army and Rangers, however, continued pouring into the base unhindered till early morning.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2011.


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