PNS Mehran fiasco: Civilian investigators being given cold shoulder

Published: May 27, 2011

Govt ‘not ready’ to reinstate investigators as it would hurt PML-Q alliance. PHOTO: AFP/NNI

KARACHI: 

The role of civilian investigating agencies who have been charged with probing last week’s PNS Mehran attack is being undermined by the naval authorities, prompting observers to question the impartiality and effectiveness of the investigation process currently under way. FIA and police officials say that their role has been reduced to paperwork despite the fact that they are part of the joint investigation team charged with probing into the incident which led to the loss of human lives and equipment worth millions of dollars. Ironically, while Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced that the FIA and the police will be part of the investigation which will be headed by the navy, the civilian investigation agencies have not been allowed access to the scene of the disaster. Their investigations are based on data provided to them by the military agencies, officials confirmed.

The case of the terrorist attack on PNS Mehran has been registered in the Sharae Faisal police station to fulfill legal requirements. Based on this FIR, the senior most officer of the District East investigation department has started to investigate the case.

However, the officer and his colleagues are not allowed to independently investigate the case, causing many to wonder whether there is any purpose to the joint investigation. Police officials are also not being given access to relevant personnel who need to be questioned as part of the investigations.

All the investigations are being carried out by the military intelligence agencies while the police are provided very limited data just to fulfill legal requirements and formalities, say sources.

Police are not even allowed to ask follow up questions to understand the flaws and the gaps in the information provided to them.

The example of this kind of flaw is the case itself registered in the police station in which a junior officer of the Pakistan Navy, contrary to the statement of the  naval chief, told the police that the number of the attackers was 10 to 12 and the police accepted this statement without questioning it.

The forensic experts of the anti-terrorism wing of the FIA are also not allowed to inspect the arms used by the terrorists, the dead bodies of the terrorists and the route used by the terrorists to enter into the base.

These FIA experts have a record of providing reports that have led to success in the past but this access is being denied to them, which has led many to fear that the relevant authorities may not be interested in getting to the bottom of the incident.

Police officials told The Express Tribune that the military intelligence agencies are not allowing them to conduct independent investigations. They attributed this attitude to the traditional sense of superiority found in the armed forces with respect to civilian agencies.

Though police and FIA representatives have been included in the joint investigation team formed by the naval chief, not a single meeting has been convened of the team so far, nor has there been any exchange of information with civilian organizations.

The logic of giving the investigations to the navy despite the fact that this incident occurred under its purview has also made many question the motives of the relevant authorities.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • May 27, 2011 - 8:23AM

    Smells like a cover up. Surprise surprise, everyone wants the police to get their act together and yet they are not allowed to..Recommend

  • Mirza
    May 27, 2011 - 9:01AM

    How dare the bloody civilian comes in our empire. According to the army “it is our way or the highway”. When there was no accountability or fact findings after East Pakistan surrender, portection of OBL or Kargil, how could this “tiny” incident investigated by a bloody civilian? We did not keep the damn police away from the incident scene for nothing?
    Let us run our empire like usual. Recommend

  • RizwanTKhan
    May 27, 2011 - 10:16AM

    Yet another blow to Naval Chief! Why our leaders so chicken? Where are the real soldiers in our Military? Of-course there is something fishy. Recommend

  • SD
    May 27, 2011 - 11:00AM

    @TightDhoti:
    Not everything has a conspiracy behind it friend. ‘smells like a coverup’ chuckles

    This is clear evidence of mis-coordination and lack of trust between civil and mil. intel outfits, which is saddening specially when one would expect them to rise above their inter-departmental rivalry after such a shocking incident.Recommend

  • Imran
    May 27, 2011 - 11:00AM

    I cannot speculate if CID branch is usually tasked with investigating such unprecedented acts of terror. However, given the record of CID Karachi in capturing the most dreaded militant commanders including the sectarian terror outfits, one wonders why weren’t they asked to look into it. Apparently, like every major incident, the guardians of faith-inspired state don’t want to expose one of their own. Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    May 27, 2011 - 11:53AM

    @TightDhoti:
    I agree with you TIGHTDHOTI. This is very fishy. What else can you expect from a commission headed by a Naval Commodore??? He is there to PROTECT Navy not INVESTIGATE !!! Recommend

  • A Khan
    May 27, 2011 - 1:34PM

    Navy Chief may already know who the actual culprits are thats why, sounds like an inside job.

    As a resident of Shah Faisal Colony and born next to the Base I can see where this all is going.

    SSP/TTP nexus with the Tableegh-e-Jammat activities at PNS Mehran.Recommend

  • M Ali Khan
    May 27, 2011 - 1:48PM

    Haha!

    The Army did this for Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report of 1971 defeat by freezing its public release indefinitely,

    they did it for Ojhri Camp blast by dismissing the civilian PM Junejo who demanded public enquiry,

    they did it for Kargil because of Musharraf not wanting to be shamed,

    they did it for GHQ attack because its GHQ afterall,

    they now doing it for PNS Mehran embarrassment!

    The Army will NEVER make their investigation proceedings public and they NEVER have in their entire history!Recommend

  • silent obsrvr
    May 27, 2011 - 2:01PM

    @SD and Tightdhoti..
    if your country’s RAW keeps on interfering others system and exploiting from the very basic. such thing would happen. Actually you are exploiting not only other Nation rather you are disrupting the whole region including your own Nation and trying to sell it to other nations .Recommend

  • Moderate
    May 27, 2011 - 2:17PM

    Military mentality as usual. I wonder why there are sms related to Pathan and Sikhs are being circulated when we can replace all of them with our military and their way of thinking.Recommend

  • M Ali Khan
    May 27, 2011 - 3:56PM

    @silent obsrvr:
    please enough of this defensive nonsense! dont deflect the attention and duty of army of being ACCOUNTABLE to the people of Pakistan and the people demanding the Army and ISI being transparent and open to us as ‘traitors’

    i’ve had enough of this head-in-sand conspiracy mentality of my so-called ‘educated countrymen’ who are born and nurtured in a culture of sazish bakbak!Recommend

  • Safder Lodi
    May 28, 2011 - 6:58AM

    H.Quran ” And We [ Allah ] bring these days to men by turns . . . And Allah does not

    love the Unjust “. [ 140 / 3] { Many other Holy Verses may be presented } .

    The lesson is no society remains alive without Justice . Allah does not allow Cruelty to His Creature even the Poorest / ignorant. In our society unfortunately , Justice Flew & Fled from all department of life . And this is the Only Cause the Ship is Sinking like a Stone . The Time is now Over for the Cruel Establishment [ Generals + Judges+ Bureaucrates] .

    Now this is Taliban Turns . Establishment are digging Trenches & Tunnels around the Islamabad ” Security of Security Personal ” . this cannot save them, from, ALLAH kA AZAB. They Captured the all financial-Resources of the Nation for their Family only and leaving the Civillians for Suicide Option . So No Escape for Them . . . Recommend

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