Local network helped Khanzada's attacker: report

Points to security lapse; says the suicide bomber was a Punjabi teenager

Abdul Manan August 24, 2015
A file photo of Shuja Khanzada. PHOTO: REUTERS


While pointing out a security lapse, a three-member inquiry committee, formed by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to probe the assassination of Punjab home minister Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada, has said the attack that left 19 people dead, was carried out by a Punjabi terrorist supported by a local network.

Sargodha’s Regional Police Officer Zulfiqar Hameed, Sihala Police College Commandant Dr Sohail Habib Tajik and Rawalpindi’s Commissioner Zahid Saeed were members of the committee, which submitted its report after reviewing crime scene evidences, eyewitness statements and post mortem report.

Read: Three held in raid for alleged role in Khanzada's assassination

According to the sources, the report said the attack was carried out by only one suicide bomber, who was a local, Punjabi teenager. However, the fingerprints of the terrorist could not be traced either in National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) or police’s record.

Citing an eyewitness, Tahir, who is also the survivor of the attack, the report said the attacker entered Khanzada’s dera – a 40-feet wide and 38-feet long covered space supplied with charpoys and a row of chairs – and after offering greetings, sat on an empty chair.

The eyewitness said the attacker was sweating and had a bulging file, which he kept pressed to his chest as he restlessly waited to approach Khanzada. Tahir said that after sitting there for three minutes the attacker stood up from his seat and blew himself up while shaking hands with Khanzada. “The rubble fell on us but I escaped as I was sitting close to wall and crawled outside the rubble,” he said.

According to a postmortem report, the limbs of the suicide attackers were attached to the body of Khanzada. Two hands of Khanzada were removed while his whole body had burnt. In the explosive laden vest, chemical was used instead of ball barring. It said all the people including Khanzada died on the spot.

The committee found that the suicide attacker had arrived at the dera on a motorcycle. It said that the terrorist, whose name was probably Umer, would target Khanzada on the road if he failed to meet him at dera.

The report said the suicide attacker and his handlers had an effective local intelligence network as they were informed about the arrival of Khanzada at the Dera for the second time in the day. The attacker did not come during Khanzada first visit and sat outside the building on his motorbike while waiting for the home minister’s arrival.

Read: The attack on Shuja Khanzada

The committee pointed out that there was no proper security, no body search, no metal detectors, no walk-through gates and no police pickets at the village. The committee fixed responsibility for the lapse in security on Rawalpindi regional police officer and Attock’s district police officer.

The special branch and other concerned security institutions also failed to get an inkling of the plan and could not advise Khanzada to postpone or shorten his visit to his hometown.

The call data record and other information also did not provide any help in tracing the perpetrators and their local network as they relied on human interaction instead of using telecommunication network.

The committee, however, expects a video statement from Lashar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) or its allied organisations, claiming responsibility of the attack.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2015. 


Jalal | 8 years ago | Reply RAW is not involved. What would the propagandists do now?
Cheema | 8 years ago | Reply So when APS attackers and most of Talibans are Pushto speakers, did some stated them as Pushtoon terrorists?. Why in this case it is stated like a Punjabi Terrorist?. Biased behavior must have some limits. A Terrorist is a terrorist. If the ethnicity of Safora attacks of Karachi and in the attacks of more than 1000 suicide bombers is not mentioned then why the ethnic game is played here?
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