ISLAMABAD: Question marks hang over the strategy to set up check posts in a bid to counter militant activities in Islamabad - the presence of 94 checkpoints has failed to deter the smuggling of explosives.
More than 900 kilograms of explosives were seized by the police during the last three months from different areas in the capital.
The police seized around 800 kg of explosives in January from an area (in Islamabad) close to Pirwadhai bus stop in Rawalpindi. The explosives, packed in boxes, were recovered from a bus. Three suspects, including a woman, were taken into custody.
Later, in February, the police arrested four suspects from Bhara Kahu and recovered around 180kg of explosives from their possession.
On Wednesday night, there was a low-intensity explosion in a parking lot in Sector F-7. The police concluded that it was caused by explosives used to make fire crackers that had been dumped in a garbage bin.
DIG Operations Bani Amin told The Express Tribune on Friday that no traces of explosives, shrapnel or pellets were found. The police only found pieces of a broken wooden box. The bin blew up as a result of the explosion. Its pieces also shattered the windscreen of one of the cars parked nearby.
The important question, however, remains unanswered: how did these explosives reach the heart of the city despite all the checkpoints?
When asked, the DIG said the issue is being taken seriously. He defended the strategy: “In fact, the presence of checkpoints is helping the police a lot. We receive threats (via phone) everyday, and had these checkpoints not been there, it could have led to a spurt of terrorist acts,” he said.
“The government has decided to make changes in laws regulating the transport of explosives for the purposes of blasting and so on. So, these transporters are finding it difficult now,” he added.
“The checkpoints strategy is working effectively,” the DIG maintained.
However, the facts contradict his claims. Despite the presence of checkpoints, militant attacks have occurred.
Three army officers were targeted by militants during the last year. One of them, Brigadier Moinuddin Ahmed, lost his life; the other two narrowly escaped the attempts on their lives.
Subsequently, in September last year, there was an organised armed attack on the minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi. Around 25 bullets pierced through the car’s bonnet, roof, doors and windows. The minister suffered multiple bullet wounds.
In all these cases, the assailants managed to escape on their motorbikes despite all these checkpoints.
Moreover, seven suicide bomb blasts have taken place after their establishment. The smuggling of explosives also continues, as mentioned above.
It appears, however, that the police are content on relying on the checkpoints strategy.