Police team sent to Islamabad for arrests


Shah Waliullah April 13, 2010

KARACHI: A police team was sent to Islamabad on Monday to arrest National Highway Authority chairman Maj Gen Farrukh Javed, project director Yousuf Barakzai and other officials in the Shershah bridge collapse case.

Former president Pervez Musharraf had inaugurated the one-kilometer long Shershah bridge over the Karachi Nothern bypass on August, 6, 2007 but it collapsed only 25 days later. At least four people were killed and several others were injured. An unknown number of people were trapped underneath.

The Sindh government formed a police team, headed by DSP Rao Iqbal, to carry out the arrests. The Sindh home department had sent a request to the chief commissioner of Islamabad to cooperate and assist it. On April 9, the SITE B police registered a case against the eight men involved in the case.

The Supreme Court ordered for an FIR to be lodged on April 8. The Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission, headed by Lt Gen (retd) Farooq Ahmed and including structural experts, was formed to investigate the tragedy.

In the commission’s investigation report, apart from the NHA chief and project director, engineers Zohair and Khalid Mirza, member planning Raja Nowsherwan, member motorway Altaf Chaudhry, engineer Syed Najamul Hassan, general manager construction Colonel (retd) Tahseenul Haq were named as those responsible for the construction of the faulty bridge.

Their names were included in the Exit Control List, which prohibited them from leaving the country. However, all of the accused men acquired pre-arrest bail and faced no prosecution for three years.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry initiated suo motu proceedings in the Supreme Court Karachi registry. The Supreme Court ordered the arrests and for the victims to be compensated.

The Northern Bypass at Paracha Chowk in Shershah was built at a cost of Rs300 million by the NHA. Architect and structural expert Zafar Razzak told the Online news agency that the bridge was heading for a collapse from the day it was built. “The bridge was not straight; it was tilted towards the right at the end,” he said, adding that this structure is considered faulty by one school of thought.

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