ISLAMABAD: Just days after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the mailing of anthrax in parcels to government offices rattled a jittery American public. The issue had died down, but now seems to have resurfaced – this time in Pakistan, and the target seems to have been Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Police on Wednesday said that they were investigating a parcel sent to the Prime Minister House last month which contained Anthrax, an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bacillus.
“The parcel containing anthrax powder was sent last month, about 20 days ago. After the laboratory test confirmed that the parcel contained anthrax, we registered a case against unknown people,” said police officer Hakim Khan.
While the Prime Minister House confirmed the incident, it was not immediately clear who was responsible, or how they could have accessed anthrax, of any quality, in Pakistan. Some reports suggested that a lady professor was responsible and had sent the package from Sindh’s Jamshoro District.
“We have sent a police team to investigate it and to find the culprits there (Jamshoro),” said Khan, an officer at the secretariat police station.
But in Jamshoro, police said they had not been informed by Islamabad of any anthrax delivery, and had, instead, found out through local media reports. “We have not yet received any instructions from the government to investigate this matter,” police official Bashir Ahmed told AFP.
“We have asked the local post office protectively to check their records to know about the sender.“We can’t say how long it will take to complete the investigation. We expect a quick result if the sender’s identity is not fake.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2012.