In the dark: Investigators clueless about attack that left two cops dead

Assailants on motorcycles threw a hand grenade and a flammable chemical at a police mobile on Monday

Our Correspondent November 11, 2014

KARACHI: The attack on a police mobile that claimed the lives of two policemen and injured another on Monday evening has left investigators scratching their heads about the culprits.

Head Constable Shamsur Rehman and Constable Muhammad Mobin were killed and policeman Sohail Ejaz was wounded when assailants on motorcycles hurled a hand grenade and a flammable chemical on their vehicle while they were patrolling on MA Jinnah Road. The chemical immediately caught fire, gutting the vehicle and causing severe burn injuries to the policemen.

Attacks on police mobiles with improvised explosive devices, crackers and hand grenades have become common in Karachi, especially the city's District West, with several police personnel losing their lives. In past attacks, however, the police investigators often confidently pointed to the group responsible, usually the militant groups of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This time, they are less certain, largely because the culprits used chemicals along with the explosive.

"In the past, we have seen members of a political party using such chemicals to set vehicles on fire," a senior investigative officer told The Express Tribune. "But the current spate of attacks is occurring because the TTP are trying to avenge the arrests and killings of their comrades."

The officer said that Monday's attack was the second such incident in Karachi. He said that a similar attack occurred on the night of October 31, when armed motorcyclists threw a bomb with chemicals at a police mobile stationed on the Gulshan-e-Iqbal flyover, injuring two policemen.

Meanwhile, Preedy SHO Ejaz Khawaja said that he could reveal nothing about the group behind the attack until the investigation was complete. He added that although the police had obtained CCTV footage from cameras installed on MA Jinnah Road, the cameras were too far away to help in identifying the culprits.

The funeral prayers for the deceased policemen were offered at Garden police headquarters and were attended by senior police officials. The body of Rehman was later sent to his hometown Swabi, while Mobin was laid to rest in Karachi. Ejaz remained admitted in PNS Shifa Hospital with critical injuries.

The police have registered an FIR on behalf of sub-inspector Gul Faraz, the mobile in-charge, against four unidentified armed men under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and Section 3/4 of the Explosives Act.

"I was sitting in the front seat when I heard a loud explosion as we passed near Gul Plaza," said the complainant in his recorded statement. "I immediately asked the driver to stop the mobile. When we got out, we heard Mobin and Ejaz screaming while Rehman had been burnt to death."

He added that the injured Ejaz had informed him that four men on two motorcycles had escaped towards the Garden traffic signal after hurling the explosives at them.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2014.


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