Attackers asked policemen for their officer before shooting

Muhafiz Force van was the only target, killing of other three cops not part of plan

Policemen continued to provide security to health workers on the last day of the polio campaign on Thursday despite Wednesday’s brutal attack. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD AZEEM/EXPRESS


One of the eight attackers who gunned down policemen in Orangi Town went up to the policemen and asked them for their officer before pumping bullets into them.

Investigators probing the brutal attack on the law enforcers guarding polio teams shared this breakthrough on Thursday. At least seven policemen were killed in two consecutive targeted attacks in Orangi Town. Four of the cops were killed when they stopped the police van to grab a bite to eat at Bangla Bazaar.

7 dead as police vehicle comes under fire in Karachi

"One of the cops left the [police] van and was going towards a biryani shop to place an order when one of the attackers came close to him and asked him about his officer," said Pakistan Bazaar SHO Sarfaraz Alyana, while talking to The Express Tribune. "Later, he [attacker] first shot the officer sitting on the front seat and then he and his companion shot other policemen in the van." According to the investigators, the Muhafiz Force police van was the only target. Killing the remaining three policemen did not appear to be part of their plan, said an officer, privy to the developments. "When the attackers moved towards the streets after shooting the policemen in the van, they found the other officers on the street. Before the policemen could respond, the attackers shot and killed them."

The Muhafiz Force van was performing security duty for a foreign delegation belonging to the World Health Organisation, which was visiting the area to overview the polio campaign, said a senior police investigator. "The foreign doctors were in a private vehicle while two police vans of the Muhafiz Force were on their security duty. Only one of the vans went to the biryani shop." The investigator reasoned that it may be the case that the attackers wanted to target the foreign doctors or they wanted to send a message to the international community.

Missing clues

The police are also looking for a sub-machine gun (SMG), which has been missing since the shooting. The attackers took away two SMGs with them when they were running away from the van. They threw one of the guns while fleeing but the other one is still missing.

Poisoned mindsets

The investigators have also found 11 empty bullet shells from both the crime scenes. Seven were found on the site of the van attack while four were found on the street where the three cops were targeted. The police have also obtained a forensic report of the ballistics cross match of the empties, which suggests that the same 9mm weapons that were used in recent attacks on policemen. "These weapons had also been used in nearly a dozen cases of targeted attacks in 2014 and 2015," said the forensic report.

Most of these weapons were used in parts of Orangi Town where a majority of policemen were targeted with these weapons, the report stated. "These weapons were also used in the 2015 attack on Muttahida Qaumi Movement MPA Saifuddin Khalid in Sir Syed Town that he survived."

The investigators also claimed to have traced a militant group behind the deadly attack. Although Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) - Jamaatul Ahrar has claimed responsibility, a senior investigator said that TTP militants and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were behind the attack. "We have traced a group behind the deadly attack and the culprits will be arrested soon," confirmed Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja. On the other hand, an FIR No 139/16 under Section 302/34 and 7 ATA has been registered on behalf of SHO Alyana against eight unidentified persons at the Counter-Terrorism Department.

PPP worker shot dead in Karachi's Orangi Town

Slain policemen buried

The bodies of Ghulam Rasool Chachar, Wazir Chachar and Daimuddin Chachar were brought to Ghotki and their funeral prayers were offered at Government Degree College. Ghulam Rasool was buried in his native graveyard in Allahyar Chachar village near Adilpur. Wazir and Daimuddin were laid to rest in Chutto Chachar and Ganji Chachar villages, respectively.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2016.

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