PNS Mehran: Official naval complaint at odds with ministry

Published: May 25, 2011

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani drives past the wreckage of the P3C-Orion aircraft at PNS Mehran. PHOTO: WIRES

KARACHI: 

The official complaint lodged on Tuesday by the Pakistan Navy regarding the assault on its airbase in Karachi, PNS Mehran, has cited “10-12” assailants being involved in the attack – contradicting categorical assertions by the interior minister that six terrorists launched the daring raid.

There are also some other discrepancies in the complaint and some facts and figures quoted on Monday regarding the storming of Pakistan’s largest naval airbase, which took security forces 17 hours to clear, and resulted in the destruction of two navy aircraft – P-3C Orions.

According to Interior Minister Rehman Malik, 10 security personnel were killed in the raid, which resulted in the death of four terrorists, while two were said to have escaped.

However, in the First Information Report (FIR) lodged by Pakistan Navy at the Sharae Faisal police station, the complainant, Lt Mohammad Irfan, states that at least 10 to 12 men armed with rocket launchers, hand grenades and other sophisticated weaponry entered the base from its rear wall.

“We wrote whatever they told us to in the FIR,” Sharae Faisal DSP Ramzan Gopang told The Express Tribune. “They said that the terrorists entered by crossing the walls but didn’t explain if they climbed over the walls or broke them down.”

Quoting the FIR, the officer said that the complainant’s  statement said: “I was on duty when an official at the nearest tower informed me through the wireless handset that about ten to twelve persons had entered the base, firing rocket launchers and hurling hand grenades at the aircraft and had resorted to intense firing. Upon hearing this, I ordered him to retaliate and informed the high ups and asked different units for help.”

DSP Gopang said that the complainant further said that the gun battle continued after the security forces arrived, lasting till Monday morning. He added that the officials later recovered four bodies. “Three out of the four bodies were of those attackers who blew themselves up using their suicide vests.”

“One of the bodies was bullet-riddled, which made it seem like maybe he was not able to put on his suicide vest.”

However, post-mortem reports from Civil Hospital Karachi stated that two bodies were mutilated, perhaps due to bombs, while the other two were bullet-riddled, appearing to have been shot by sub-machine guns.

The complainant further said in his statement that, while the remaining terrorists had managed to escape, security personnel had been able to recover one suicide vest, ten hand grenades, one rocket launcher and four Kalashnikovs assault rifles.

Investigators believe that the absconders may retaliate. “Judging by my experience, I believe they were the Taliban belonging to the tribal areas,” a senior investigation officer told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity. “Since I deal with terrorists, I know they could prove more dangerous and possibly also retaliate.”

He, however, said there is good coordination between the police officials and the intelligence agencies and the absconding terrorists involved in the attack would soon be arrested.

The FIR, No 447/11, was registered under sections 302, 324, 427, 353, 121/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and ¾ of the Explosive Act and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Prime minister’s visit

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has given Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Noman Bashir the charge of conducting the initial investigation of the terrorist attack.

The inquiry committee, according to official sources, will be headed by a rear admiral.

Talking to the media in Karachi, the prime minister praised the gallantry and valour of the security forces and stressed that the sacrifices of the security personnel killed in the terrorist attack would not be forgotten.

Earlier, the prime minister visited PNS Mehran where the naval chief briefed him on the operation against the terrorists.

The prime minister said that the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, which will meet on May 25, will also deliberate on the terrorist attack, adding that he would comment in detail on the incident after the meeting.

Gilani then visited PNS Shifa and PNS Rahat, where the injured soldiers are being treated.

The prime minister has directed the concerned authorities to revisit, improve and upgrade security at all defence installations.

“There is a need to upgrade security measures keeping in view the intentions of the terrorists,” he said during his visit to the PNS Mehran. “Whatever possible action is required should be taken and the government will extend all support,” he stated.

The prime minister thanked the law-enforcers for extending support to the Navy and said this had re-affirmed the commitment and determination on their part to deal with the hidden enemies of the country with iron fists.

Meanwhile, Lt Yasir Abbas was laid to rest with a full military honour at the Askari 10 graveyard in the presence of his family members, along with the civil and military representatives in Lahore on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Gilani has recommended Lt Yasir for the Nishan-e-Haider, Pakistan’s highest military honour, and later forwarded the nomination to President Asif Ali Zardari. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM agencies)

Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2011.

Reader Comments (21)

  • May 25, 2011 - 9:01AM

    Nishan-e-Haider is it?Recommend

  • SHA
    May 25, 2011 - 10:10AM

    Nishane Haider? for what?Recommend

  • muhammad sarmad
    May 25, 2011 - 10:27AM

    yup,the confusion is there because it takes time to make up stories when you know that it is your very own creations that have now turned against you.The media knows,the establishment knows that the islamic terrorists who they nurtured,raised,funded & trained have now turned against their masters & the establishment can’t accept this fact as to accept this would mean that it would have to admit that it’s policy of 30 years of supporting islamic terrorism was wrong & they’ll never accept that they were wrong & spent the public’s taxmoney on feeding the religious monster that is now killing the people.Recommend

  • Merc!
    May 25, 2011 - 10:58AM

    Love the car!!
    hmara nara: Long Live Pakistan!
    in ka nara: Long live luxuries!
    the day they dispose these luxuries, Pakistan will RISE! Recommend

  • anniedarc
    May 25, 2011 - 11:59AM

    Really! Feel sorry for the Shaheeds but let us not make a glaring lapse, weakness and poor performance sound like a victory. Must ask the P.A.F. what it was doing? Sirs this blame has to stick. How about the Army Aviation,no guards,no one to join in? All aircraft parked in the open are guarded by DSGs ,where were they? Heads must roll. After Abbot Abad and now this, cronyism and scratching each others back or supporting favourites who have failed is not our tradition. Please sack, shuffle or punish someone,all is not well. Recommend

  • A Suhail
    May 25, 2011 - 12:06PM

    I hope these terrorists start destroying BMW’s and Mercedes’s our leaders and Generals so much cherish. Only then they will wake up to reality and start doing their jobs. Recommend

  • Rizwan
    May 25, 2011 - 12:27PM

    “He, however, said there is good coordination between the police officials and the intelligence agencies and the absconding terrorists involved in the attack would soon be arrested.” and later, off the record, he added to this statement, “BAZINGA!!!”.Recommend

  • Imran
    May 25, 2011 - 12:34PM

    Nishan-i-Haider has become a joke! After every humiliating fiasco, we trash out Nishan-i-Haiders. This time its no exception.

    My question to our beloved prime minister is that: What credible information has convinced him that this Lt. Yasir deserved it. Has he made the recommendation based solely on media reports? Or an inquiry just got concluded? How can he be so sure that he was not killed without even lifting his gun. Get real Mr. Prime Minister!Recommend

  • jazz
    May 25, 2011 - 12:46PM

    we are at war soner we realize this better it is for us pakistani’s , get our preorities wright, we need to decide who is our enemy and what can we do to get pakistan out of this dangerous and humiliating situation, some 1 who humiliates you can never be your friend so america isn’t out friend thats for sure, we have got contract killer’s mercenaries walking about in the streets of pakistan and no one can touch them we have become 3rd class citizens in out own country, life of oversees pakistani’s is hell these days they rather be called aghans’s,indians or bangali then pakistani’s , our media(geo) has got nuthing to do but depressing pakistani’s they start a story but never finish it they are all being paid by zionist’s but one thing which has surprised every one in the world is the don’t care behaviour of us pakistan’s there ill be a major blast in a market next minute people will go there and shop as we don’t give a f…, in reality us pakistan’s are so engaged with other issues created for the sole purpose so we ignore whats happing in our country that we care and then not care and the mind set that whatever we do it won’t change any thing is depressing it self, i think our high up’s need to be truthfull about who is doing this to us and what’s the purpose so every pakitani’s is on bord and solve all these problems 2gether.Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    May 25, 2011 - 12:59PM

    @SHA:
    For letting the terrorists escapeRecommend

  • Fawad
    May 25, 2011 - 1:11PM

    Just to aid the drama which opened with Rehman Malik’s press briefing on the sad day, a Nishan-e-Haider is being dished out. I am convinced that the leutenant showed exemplary courage, but the attackers none the less still succeeded. They met their targets and we even let a few escape. I am proud of the leutenant but lets not make a mockery of our most prized military award. Recommend

  • sajid imran
    May 25, 2011 - 1:11PM

    When leaders or chiefs of the Pakistani control power agencies fell asleep these kind of attacks will continue,
    A request to the commanding authorities please forgive Pakistan and be patriot…
    don’t become MIR Sadiq and MIR Jaffar.
    PAKISTAN ZINDABADRecommend

  • Sajjad
    May 25, 2011 - 1:21PM

    a stara jurat is enough. professionalism of our armed forces has deteriorated.in 1958 we shot down an indian spy plane on eid day.now we can’t even defend our bases and assets.i feel sad and disheartened.Recommend

  • Waqas
    May 25, 2011 - 1:30PM

    @Imran:
    If you were the relevant person; all your queries would already have been answered before your puny little mind even starts tickling to have these queries born.

    Only a moron like you can think of giving the top ranked tamgha based only on media reports…

    Grow up!!!Recommend

  • Adeel
    May 25, 2011 - 1:31PM

    they should travel in locally built Suzuki Mehrans…not these luxurious Mercedes!Recommend

  • May 25, 2011 - 1:42PM

    I think our Prime Minister does not know the criteria for awarding Nishan-i-Haider. I wish some bold person from the Cabinet Devision or Prime Minister’s Secretariat should advise him to learn the criteria of this highest gallantary award.Recommend

  • Wajahat
    May 25, 2011 - 7:08PM

    @ Sqn Ldr Ausaf:
    As you seem to have more knowledge of the criterion, please let us know also.Recommend

  • Maula raza
    May 25, 2011 - 8:35PM

    Dear all I believe none of you know exactly what happened thief so plzzzzzzzzzzz just don’t make assumption who should get and who shouldn’t one plus for my friend yasir is that he was an engineer not commando and if he fought for the security of the nation you all should be proud and let the military decide aaaa sir retd army officer right Now your military need recognition now you should be giving not just one nishan-e-haider intact you should consider to give more you have currently lost around 3000 soliders what you think none of them were brave enough to show enough courage to deserve a nishanehaider medal your forces need encouragement this war is not a taditional war it’s phycologicap war and those brave soul including Lt yasir shaheed fought it and I am sure they all fought well enough to get the nishanehaider Recommend

  • SM.
    May 26, 2011 - 3:13AM

    @Iftikhar-ur-Rehman:
    I dont know if he deserves the Nishan- e- Haider, but the martyred lieutenant can certainly not be blamed for the damage done by the terrorists. He was an engineer in the Pakistan Navy, not a trained commando. It was not part of his job description to go fight terrorists. That he felt he should still face them is proof of his bravery and dedication. To laud him is a matter of personal opinion, but to criticise him is very shallow of you. Recommend

  • Junaid
    May 26, 2011 - 10:17AM

    Nishan-e- Haider for Lt. Yasir is recomended on the basis that he was not at all trained for the assault attacks and professionally he was an Engineer, Unluckily or Luckily he was on duty on that day to take actions on any sudden incidence. he only have basic Fire Arm training. Keep in mind that PNS Mehran is not a commando or infantry sort of Unit. It provides Air Arm support to navy. so Unit Utilizes its own Manpower for the secondary duties likes one which assigned to Lt Yasir on that day. On realizing the Fact that his aircrafts are attacked by the terrorist, he could have the option to wait for the regular assault force and till that time hide and engage them lightly. But he realized that if he give them more time they will surely head up towards more aircraft and can detsroy who air arm fleet within 20 – 30 minutes as they all are line up one after other and they have the critical positions to detsroy then. Keep in mind he did not have much sophisticated weapon at that time (and its not my assumption its reality), he even did not have much force to stop them properly. HE courageously rushed towards them and put all available force with him to realize them that there is good force at other end to kill them, he knew it very much that this is most dangerous as it is face to face battle and he donot have even bullet proof jacket. he was pretty much sure that he wil gona die but even this thinkig did not stop him. He leads the whole squad from the front and succeded in scrambling the hostile. Its also not a assumption because if you see in the map, where P3C orion are parked, soon after that attack of Yasir they got scattered into the near building and stop targetting on other aircraft, as they realized that it is now not possible to head forward. they shot down yasir and some of his squad men got injured as well. Recommend

  • Lubna Sunawar
    May 26, 2011 - 11:47PM

    Every Shaheed of this nation deserves Nishan-e-Haider. Our brave and valiant soldiers who are standing like an iron curtain before terrorists at the borders are real heroes of this nation. Despite of knowing that anything could happen to them the very next second, in harsh and severe weather when temperature drops upto -20 C in winter, having no contacts with families back home for months; they keep moving forward without having proper food and clean water; these valiant soldiers and officers are sacrificing their today for our tomorrow. “Shaheed” itself is a coveted status by Allah Almighty and those who embrace Shahadat are blessed and chosen ones. Shaheed does not need any worldly medal but in order to recognize that their sacrifice means a lot for us; for our motherland; we acknowledge their bravery. There’s absolutely no compensation or replacement of any human life but a medal or few words of consolation for bereave families are nothing but token of goodwill gesture and we can make them realize that we will never forget brave sons of this soil. I want Prime Minister of Pakistan to recommend every single Shaheed of Operation Rah-e-Rast and Rah-e-Nijat for this highest military award.Recommend

More in Pakistan