Kamra airbase attack: Three PAF officials face court-martial for negligence, says sources

Published: October 31, 2013
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Arrested officers failed to prevent a terrorist attack on a key air base. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Arrested officers failed to prevent a terrorist attack on a key air base. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Three low-ranking officials of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will face court martial for what authorities say is their ‘negligence’ to prevent a terrorist attack on a key airbase last year.

Defence sources confirmed that senior aircraftman Shawaiz Khan, senior technician Zafar Abbas and Corporal Technician Mirza Waseem Iqbal were formally arrested in connection with August 16, 2012, terror attack on Minhas Airbase at Kamra.

However, despite repeated attempts, the PAF spokesperson was not immediately available for comments on the arrest of three officials.

Another official, who was not authorised to speak to media, confirmed the development but insisted that the officials were not facing court martial for their involvement in terror attack rather they were indicted over charges of negligence.

Sources said the three officials would face court-martial proceedings from next month.

The strategically important airbase came under attack when at least nine militants stormed the base destroying a Saab 2000 surveillance aircraft and killing a security official. All nine militants were later killed in shootout with security forces.

Several squadrons of fighters and surveillance planes are said to be housed at the Minhas base. Over 30 planes were parked at the base, including JF-17 Thunder fighter jets at the time of attack.

The outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was a revenge of May 2011 secret US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in his Abbottabad compound.

The airbase, located 70 km north of the capital, is a heavily guarded compound with the air force’s Kamra Aeronautical Complex also in its vicinity, where Pakistan assembles and overhauls JF-17 Thunder fighter jets in collaboration with China.

The key strategic installations of PAF and Navy have been the target of militants.

In 2009, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra. Two security officers and six other people were killed in the attack.

In 2011, six Taliban gunmen attacked a naval base in Karachi to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden. At least 10 military personnel were killed and 20 wounded in the 16-hour assault.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2013.

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