A week has passed since a powerful bomb ripped through Abbas Town and claimed nearly 49 lives apart from injuring several others, but the investigators have yet to make any significant breakthrough.
The police have already come under criticism for failing to reach the site on time, which compromised the evidence. On top of that, the water used to put out the fire that broke out in several flats further removed all evidence.
The Supreme Court has already rejected a report that a police team prepared and ordered them to form a new team of “honest and sincere officers”. The police have, however, yet to set up the team as departments keep shuffling responsibilities between each other.
“Initially we lost evidence by reaching the blast site late,” admitted a senior police officer. “Now these additional postings have further delayed the setup of an investigation team.” There have been several organisational set backs in the police department.
Crime Investigation Department Additional IG Ghulam Shabbir Shaikh has been given additional charges after the removal of Sindh IGP Fayyaz Leghari. DIG East Aleem Jafri was also removed and now DIG Admin is substituting for him.
Meanwhile, Malir SP Dr Najeeb has been given an additional charge of Malir SSP after the suspension of SSP Rao Anwar.
“Until there are proper transfers and postings, the temporary in-charges will investigate as they see fit and not take it seriously,” he said.
The police officials have yet to decide which officers will be included in the investigation team. “The whole day on Friday was spent at court, how could have we worked?” said the acting IGP Sindh. “The offices are now closed on the weekend. Hopefully the new investigation team will be finalised by Monday,” he told The Express Tribune.
The officers who have taken up new posts are perplexed about how to go ahead with the investigations. “I am only on ‘look after’ charge,” Admin DIG Minhas said. “The permanent DIG orders will come through in a day or two and then he will carry out the investigations. Until then, I am looking over the developments generally.” The CID, Special Investigation and Anti-Extremism Cell are also looking into the blast.
The CID usually deals with cases of terrorism and after any major terrorist activity, the investigations are transferred to the CID or other specialised units. However, in the case of Abbas Town, the CID officials are distancing themselves. “Investigating is not our job but the job of the local police,” said CID SSP Chaudhry Aslam. “We only arrest culprits and we will arrest those behind the Abbas Town blast very soon.”
An officer told The Express Tribune that since the Supreme Court initiated suo motu proceedings on the Abbas Town blast, the police officers are scared to get into the investigations. The Sindh Police have planned to install scanners on all entry and exit points of the province to prevent explosives and weapons from tribal areas and other parts of the country from entering. “We wish to carry this out as soon as possible,” said the acting IGP. The scanners, worth nearly $2 million, will be brought in from China and will have to be operated by a separate group of employees.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2013.
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