A bomb hoax created chaos on Monday at the Malir District and Sessions Court, disrupting the proceedings as litigants and staffers headed for cover.
The anonymous call which caused the commotion came at 9:28am. Adnan, a junior clerk at the office, picked up the phone ringing in the court’s office and was told that an explosive device had been planted somewhere on the premises. Then, the caller clicked the phone shut even before Adnan had time to absorb the information. When the message finally did sink in, panic ensued. The administration instantly alerted the police, which scrambled to evacuate the judges, litigants and staffers.
But some people at the site were unfazed. A personal assistant to the judge, Zubair bin Mehmood, said the Bomb Disposal Squad combed the premises carefully and concluded that it was a hoax. “I didn’t panic and kept working in my office as it’s the second time we have been warned about a bomb on the premises.” While remembering the first incident which occured on May 28, 2011, Mehmood said he was offering his prayers in the mosque located on court premises when rumours about a bomb surfaced and spread like wildfire. “People left their prayers halfway and ran for their lives,” said Mehmood.
Shah Rasul, who is in charge of the IT department, said, “Court proceedings were running normally until the rumours about a bomb surfaced. After that, everyone headed outside without a delay.” A number of cases were put off and the court staff and litigants had to wait outside as law enforcers searched for the explosive device. The hunt continued for about an hour-and-a-half before law enforcers declared the call as a hoax.
“The bomb disposal squad scoured the courts,” said Nazar Muhammad, who is in charge of the courts. He said that security measures within the court premises were satisfactory. He, however, said the court police have not been provided metal detectors even after several requests to high-ups.
Mehmood said that another caller had also given the same threat in May 2011 but the police hadn’t been able to trace that suspect, he added. He said that court proceedings were resumed after law enforcers assured everyone that the information was false.
The police officials said they were trying to trace the caller to ascertain the motive behind the warning call.
The city courts have also faced similar threats. On January 17 a letter was found on court premesis, warning of an explosive device planted there. The letter, which caused chaos turned out to be a hoax. A similar letter had been found there three months before this.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2013.
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