Investigators said on Thursday they could not obtain footage of Wednesday’s deadly bomb attack on a Sindh High Court judge’s motorcade as the main cameras installed in the higher security or red zone were not working.
Justice Maqbool survived Wednesday’s attack but his driver and nine police officers protecting him lost their lives, prompting security officials to re-examine their security plan for all judges and safeguarding the red zone area.
There are at least a dozen closed-circuit TV cameras in the surroundings of Burnes Road and the high court building — but all of them are out of order. Investigators pointed out the problem during a briefing at a meeting held at the Central Police Office (CPO). Inspector general of police in Sindh, Shahid Nadeen Baluch, had called the meeting in an effort to chalk out a strategy for guarding high court judges.
The IG directed the law enforcers to repair the CCTV cameras and install new cameras at strategic places within the red zone.
Intelligence reports claim that a couple of judges of the high court and subordinate courts are also facing threats. The judges, according to police officials, will be briefed about their security and their [travel] routes in the wake of intelligence reports.
Sindh Chief Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry told The Express Tribune that the plan to revive red zone security could not be finalized as yet because law enforcement agencies were weighed down by the latest investigation.
“Tomorrow (Thursday) the officers of the law enforcement agencies including, Commissioner, DG rangers, IG Sind and other office barriers of law enforcement agencies will conduct a meeting and revive the security plan for safguarding the high security zone area,” he added.
Roadside bomb not ruled out
Sources pointed out that though the police have found parts of the motorcycle used in the blast but were unable to ascertain the makers and registration of the two-wheeler.
Investigators say they cannot rule out the possibility of an explosive device being planted on the road because unknown labourers were seen digging the road a day before the bomb attack.
They also believe that despite the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s claim of responsibility for the attack other groups such as Jundullah or Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) could be behind Wednesday’s attacks, citing their similarity with the 2010 Ashura blasts and Orangi Town attacks.
The LeJ had issued threats to Justice Baqar in the past, according to police investigators.
Security sources said that investigators have started questioning close aides to LeJ chief Asif aka Chutto and are also grilling Jundullah operatives of Qasim Toori group. However, they say, the TTP remains a prime suspect in the attack as it has a strong organizational structure in the city’s suburbs and maintains close links with all defunct organisations.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2013.