Investigators find the exploding car had a duplicate of an army official’s plate

Police unable to trace chassis, engine numbers.

The investigation team inspects the remains of the car that exploded at Askari petrol pump at 1:40am on Thursday. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD SAQIB/EXPRESS

KARACHI: The licence plate of the car that exploded at the petrol pump outside Askari IV was a duplicate of another one registered to an army official, The Express Tribune learnt.

These developments have alarmed the investigation team and the case has been transferred to the Crime Investigation Department (CID).

At 1:40 am on Thursday, a black Toyota Corolla of the 2002 model exploded at the petrol pump located on Rashid Minhas Road. The police believed that the driver was connecting the wires of the explosives with the detonator on the back seat when it went off, earlier than he had planned.

The bomb disposal squad claimed that around three kilogrammes of explosives were used in the making of the bomb, but it did not contain any ball bearings. The car was completely destroyed in the explosion, an official said.

The chassis and engine numbers have not been traced but Sharae Faisal police inspector Lal Buksh said that the numbers suggest that the car was smuggled to Karachi from Afghanistan, via Balochistan, on a fake licence plate (AXX-525).The same registration number originally belongs to a Honda City, of the 2008 model, that is currently owned by a serving officer of the army, Major Atif Khan, who lives in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and is currently posted to Rawalpindi.

“We have yet to finalise how the army officer’s licence number was used and why,” said CID SP Mazhar Mashwani. “It may be possible that this was part of a conspiracy to implicate the army.”

The police have sent the fingerprints of the suspect to Nadra but they have yet to receive the records. His remains have also bee sent to the laboratory in Islamabad for DNA testing.

The mobile phone, SIM and memory cards, and a jacket that the police recovered have been sent to Sindh Police’s forensic division. “There are only two phone numbers in the phone’s memory that are being verified,” said an officer. “The memory card contains videos on jihadi training, Arabic songs and elegies.”

Shah Faisal SP Zahid Hussain Shah said that the CCTV footage obtained from the petrol pump suggested that the accused man arrived at the petrol station from the Jauhar Morr side and parked the car outside Select store. A bulky man in shalwar kameez was seen on the backseat, and the explosion occurred within a minute and a half, he added.

A senior bomb squad expert told The Express Tribune that after preparing the bomb, terrorists usually connect the wiring to attach the remote control to the device before planting the bomb. “This is mostly the case in timed devices as there is a chance the bomb might go off at a speed bumper on the way to the planned site,” he said.

The police have registered a case under anti-terrorism and explosive acts.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2013.



Sidrah | 10 years ago | Reply

why can't we control our border with Afghanistan properly? Just because a couple of tribes need to see their relatives we sacrifice the safety of 180 million people?

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