The Supreme Court observed on Friday that the Sindh government and law enforcement agencies in the province had all failed to prevent the Abbas Town bomb blast, despite ‘concrete’ intelligence leads.
The suo motu proceedings of the attack were heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justices Jawwad S Khawaja, Khilji Arif Hussain, Amir Hani Muslim and Ejaz Afzal Khan.
During the hearing, the judges dismissed a report submitted by the provincial government regarding the action taken against former IG Fayyaz Leghari, DIG Aleem Jafri and three subordinates. They ordered the chief secretary to submit a report on action taken against Additional IG Shabbir Khan, who was the acting CCPO Karachi at the time of the incident.
Furthermore, secretaries of interior and defence were ordered to submit intelligence reports by the Inter-Services Intelligence within three days.
At this point, Special Branch DIG admitted they had, in fact, passed on ‘concrete and specific’ information to the police and Rangers 10 days prior to the blast.
The bench disapprovingly noted the severe lack of cooperation between federal and provincial agencies, and said the chief secretary should be interrogated.
During an in-camera briefing by Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer Ghulam Nabi and SP Special Branch Shahid Sohail, the judges dissected the intelligence reports in front of Home Secretary Waseem Ahmed and Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas.
After almost two hours of discussion, the judges also watched a television programme that hosted interviews of grieving blast survivors, who complained that neither law enforcers nor government officers had offered any assistance.
During the proceedings, Chief Justice Chaudhry praised an Express News anchor for realistically highlighting the scale of havoc wreaked by the incident and lack of rehabilitation afterwards.
The bench directed the Sindh government to start taking immediate action against officers who are supposedly in control of the law and order situation.
In the same vein, the bench directed Additional IG (legal) Ali Sher Jakhrani to provide to the AG Sindh a list of police officers hired on contract and, in this way, to ensure the appointments made in violation of the Sindh Civil Servants Act, the SC’s observations and the Police Act 1861 be cancelled before the next session.
Moreover, acting IG Shabbir Shaikh was asked to constitute an honest team of officers to investigate the blast and submit a report to the anti-terrorism court.
Towards the end, the bench snubbed DG Rangers Maj. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar for not observing decorum, as he kept sitting while everyone in the court stood up shortly before the hearing was to conclude. Hearing was adjourned until March 21.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2013.
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