LAHORE: The Punjab police’s Counter Terrorism Department on Thursday released a sketch of the suspected suicide bomber, a picture of his facilitator and announced a cash prize of Rs1 million to anyone providing key information on the Charing Cross blast.
CTD spokesperson requested potential informants to contact CTD helpline 0800-11111. Authorities assured the name and identity of the caller would be kept a secret.
A newly formed joint investigation team (JIT) took over the probe into the blast and was given all the collected forensic evidence. The investigators analysed the evidence and CCTV footage collected from nearby buildings and the scene of the blast. Statements of eyewitnesses and wounded individuals were also recorded.
As far as the arrest of the handlers or facilitators is concerned, no substantial progress was made.
Only an individual who was to help the suspects escape from Punjab to Afghanistan via Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has been arrested. He was taken into custody from the border regions of Punjab and K-P.
Sketch of the bomber, Screen grab of the suspected facilitator
A search operation by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) was launched on Hall Road and Beadon Road and over 100 suspects were taken into custody and shifted to an undisclosed location. Police used biometric machines and other resource devices for their probe.
Similar checking was conducted at pickets on all entry and exit points of the provincial metropolis. The search operation continued for the third consecutive day across the province.
A mock, quick-response exercise was also conducted at the Lahore Grammar School in Faisal Town led by SP Model Town Ismail Kharak. DSPs, SHOs as well as officials from secret agencies and the Dolphin Force participated in the exercise. The purpose was to instill a sense of security among children during rush hour. In the quick-response exercises, a mock situation was assumed to check the response time of the force.
SP Model Town Ismail Kharak said police would conduct such exercises in every jurisdiction as they would improve the readiness of forces and improve their response time.
The Punjab government announced Rs10 million as compensation for each of the families of the junior police officials killed in the suicide blast on Mall Road, while the heirs of slain Traffic DIG Captain Ahmed Mobin and SSP Zahid Nawaz Gondal would get Rs25 million each.
The government also promised financial assistance to buy houses for the families of the slain policeman, provide them with health care and free education for the children.
CM Shehbaz Sharif visited the families of martyred SSP Zahid Nawaz Gondal, head constable Asmat Ali as well as constables Muhammad Nadeem, Irfan Mehmood Aslam and wireless operator Muhammad Amin.
The government decided to name roads after the martyred policemen.
Earlier, the Lahore police, during a meeting chaired by CCPO Amin Wains, decided to rename Traffic Police Lines Thokar Niaz Beg after DIG Ahmad Mobeen and Qila Gujjar Singh Police Lines after SSP Zahid Gondal.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2017.
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