Karachi: Police inspector named in Malir Halt blast case
KARACHI: Investigations into the suicide attack targeting SSP Malir District Rao Anwar took a shocking twist late on Thursday when one of the suspects nominated in the FIR turned out to be a policeman who allegedly maintained links with the Tehreek–e–Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The FIR, lodged by SSP Anwar at the Model Colony police station, named Inspector Azam Mehsud and his brothers Sher Zaman Mehsud and Zubair Mehsud, along with other TTP activists, as accused.
A senior intelligence officer, while choosing to remain anonymous, said that Azam Mehsud became a controversial figure after two majors of an intelligence agency and several other police officials sustained injuries when they conducted a raid to capture TTP leaders in Sohrab Goth, including a man named Sher Zaman. Inspector Mehsud, who is Sher Zaman’s brother, was suspended by the then inspector general of Sindh and later transferred to the interior of the province with orders to deliver information on his brother Sher Zaman. However, the policeman’s wanted brother is still absconding despite the passage of two years.
SSP Anwar was responsible for leading a crackdown against Sher Zaman Mehsud as he and his groups were allegedly extorting money from businessmen and construction companies. The group was accused of killing those businessmen who refused to pay and were also involved in land grabbing cases.
Officers maintained that SSP Anwar had arrested a number of Mehsud’s associates, while some of the militants were even killed during encounters with the police. Following these developments, Sher Zaman continuously threatened Anwar with dire consequences.
Meanwhile, investigations of Thursday’s suicide attack on the police officer were transferred to SSP Mohammad Aslam Khan of the Anti–Extremism Cell (AEC) by the Sindh government. SSP Anwar was heading towards the chambers of the district and sessions judge Malir when the blast took place near his armored personnel carrier (APC). A number of policemen in Anwar’s squad were injured in the deadly explosion. The banned TTP claimed responsibility for the attack.
Some of the witnesses claimed they saw a young man blow himself up as soon as he saw the police van approaching Malir Halt. They added the explosives weighed about five kilograms and 16 number sized ball bearings were used in the attack.
The police called Nadra officials to gather further information on the bomber based on CCTV footage. The body parts and hair of the suicide bomber were also sent to the Islamabad Laboratory for DNA tests.
Recently, the CID managed to arrest two leaders of the TTP. Daud was taken into custody by SSP Chaudhry Aslam, while Qayyum Mehsud was captured by SSP Mohammad Fayyaz Khan. Following these arrests, a number of senior police officials, including Chaudhry Aslam, Fayyaz Khan, Farooq Awan, Raja Umer Khattab and Rao Anwar, were warned that they were on the hit list of the militants.
An officer, while recalling the confession of TTP leader Qayyum Mehsud, said that Sher Zaman had visited Warizistan and asked the top brass of the militant organisation to kill SSP Rao Anwar as the policeman had managed to arrest a number of militants. Sher Zaman was assured by the TTP leadership that a suicide bomber had been trained to carry out the attack.
The information extracted from Qayyum helped save SSP Anwar’s life on Thursday as he increased his security in light of the danger.