KARACHI: A few hours after the reported suicide attack on the Sindh police’s ‘encounter specialist’ SSP Rao Anwar in the Malir locality, a banned militant outfit, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility of the attack.
The banned militant outfit issued an image of the man, who, according to its claim, had carried out the suicide attack. TTP claimed through social media that this was its third suicide attack in the current month. According to the claim, the name of the suicide bomber was Ismail Afridi who belonged to the TTP’s TSG group. The banned outfit further claimed that the suicide attack resulted in the deaths of several policemen in SSP Anwar’s squad. “We will continue to kill those who are against the fighters of Islam just as we killed the mastermind of fake encounters Chaudhry Aslam,” read the statement allegedly issued by the TTP.
The police registered a case against unidentified suspects allegedly responsible for the suicide attack at the Malir Cantt police station. The case included charges of encounter, explosives’ possession and attempt to murder along with sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
SSP Anwar’s convoy reportedly came under the attack as he was heading towards his house in the Malir Cantonment area Tuesday night. According to SSP Anwar, a suicide bomber first hit his armoured personnel carrier, however, he and his squad members remained unhurt in the attack. Then, his two accomplices opened fire on the police who were killed in the retaliatory fire. The police also claimed to have recovered two 9mm pistols from the possession of the attackers.
Though, the TTP’s claim identified the suspected suicide bomber, the police were still looking for the identification of all the three suspects killed during the attack whose bodies were shifted to Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth.
Reported details of the alleged suicide attack followed by the TTP claiming responsibility on social media have raised doubts over the authenticity of both the claims – those of SSP Anwar and the TTP.
According to the police, no policeman was killed or injured in the attack, which is in stark contradiction to the reported TTP’s statement which claims that several police officials of SSP Anwar’s squad were killed in the attack. If the TTP’s claim is authentic, then in the light of this glaring contradiction, it can be said that the banned outfit is itself not aware of the results of actions carried out by its men.
Despite the inclusion of the sections of the ATA, the case, interestingly, was not registered with the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) which deals with the terrorism cases. Senior CTD officers have also raised doubts over the authenticity of the reported details of the attack and have asked the police high-ups to transfer the suspected suicide attack’s investigations to the CTD.
“This has been observed for the first time that the suicide bomber, despite having himself blown up with explosives, was only burnt,”a senior CTD officer said requesting anonymity. “While examining the site of the attack, no traces of any explosive material were found. Even there was no smell of explosives,” he added.
The officer said the suspected attack on SSP Anwar had raised several questions and its investigations should be transferred to the CTD to ascertain actual facts. “How it is possible that a major terrorism case was registered by the Malir police itself despite the fact that such cases lie in the domain of the CTD,” he remarked.
The bomb disposal squad is called to examine the site in case of suicide attacks but interestingly, experts from the squad were not called this time. “We visit the scene after the police call us but they did not call us,” said a senior officer of the bomb disposal squad.
The body of the suspected suicide bomber was brought to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre where his postmortem was conducted. “He [suspected bomber] had some burnt injuries and traces of some type of explosives and chemicals were found on his body,” said Medico-Legal Officer Raja Memon.
Anwar, who is the Malir SSP since at least last six years, has killed some 200 suspects in various encounters. During this period, he was removed from the post multiple times and then reinstated. He has also survived some targeted attacks as well. All the attacks on SSP Anwar have occurred within the limits of Malir police jurisdiction during the times when he was posted in District Malir.
In April 2012, five people were killed and several others injured in Malir Halt when SSP Anwar’s armoured personnel carrier was targeted in a bomb blast while he was on his way to a Malir court for meeting with a sessions judge regarding the inquiry into the murder of former Malir Bar Association president Salahuddin and his son Ali.
Also in June 2015, the convoy of SSP Anwar came under an attack outside his house in Malir Cantonment. All policemen travelling in the convoy had remained unhurt in the attack, whereas all attackers were killed in retaliatory fire.
'Why don’t we put you behind bars so you can promptly appear before the court'
The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claims responsibility for the attack
The slain men were reportedly affiliated with AQIS
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