LAHORE: Federal minister for Railways, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour while accepting that railways police was negligent in maintaining security at the Lahore station, a portion of which suffered from a bomb blast on Tuesday, was of the view that the district police and a miserly government should equally share the blame.
Up to six kilogrammes of explosive material along with ball bearings were smuggled onto the Lahore railway station on Tuesday evening. It exploded just as a porter and a police constable inspected the suspicious package. The blast killed the two, along with a minor on Wednesday morning, who had suffered fatal injuries. As many as 50 people were injured in the blast which also destroyed the Pak-Business Express lounge.
The Railways Minister, shielding his charges, said that the explosive was not assembled on the premises of the Lahore station, the terrorists had in all probability smuggled the explosive material on to the train from one of the districts it passed on its way to Lahore. Hence, it was the duty of district police to keep proper check and balance of such things, Bilour asserted, while visiting Lahore Railways station on Wednesday.
“What should we do when finance ministry avoids us despite repeated appeals,” he said, pointing towards a shortage of funds. “Six months ago we forwarded the summary for the recruitment of 400 police persons in railways police and demand Rs20 million to improve security situation of all important railway stations, we are still waiting for the funds to be released,” Bilour lamented.
However, the Federal Railways Minister said that despite all hurdles, they are still working and the railways police are doing the best they could to provide security in railways stations and on trains with limited resources. He pointed towards the death of a railways police constable on Tuesday, and the recovery of another package containing 20 kilogrammes of explosive material near Attock from Awam Express on Wednesday, as proof that railways police is alert.
“The bomb defused at Attock, if not recovered by police, would have resulted in scenario much worse [than Tuesday],” he said.
Commenting on the fact that Closed Circuit Television cameras (CCTV) were inoperative at the Lahore station when the bomb went off, he defended his organisation saying police was present, before adding that it is not possible to check each passenger individually as they board the train.
Till date 24 blasts have taken place at different railway divisions. According to official data provided by Railway police, the Sukkur-Karachi track in Sindh has been on the receiving end of the most attacks with 14. Of these, one of the blasts took place within railways police jurisdictions, while 13 blasts took place under the jurisdiction of district police. Similarly in Balochistan, Quetta division suffered the most with eight blasts at different points along the railways track, all under the jurisdiction of district police. One blast at Larkana was under the jurisdiction of railways police in addition to the Lahore station blast on Tuesday.
Bilour further ruled out the possibility of RAW involvement in the incident. No one from outside needs to plot terrorist activities in Pakistan as we are self sufficient in this matter, he said. The terrorists who plot such terrorist activities are rivals not only for the country but also for religion and humanity, Bilour remarked.