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September 8, 2006

Nishtar Park blast probe: futility is the name of the game

Lahore

September 8, 2006

The tribunal, probing the Nishtar Park explosion, concluded the proceedings without any outcome. Justice Rehmat Hussain Jafri, Chief of the tribunal, has submitted an incomplete report to the Sindh government.

The incomplete report has been sent to the Sindh Home Department with the winding-up remarks, “The statements of the witnesses recorded by the tribunal, and are not sufficient to draw any conclusion.”

“And time for the further probe is not expanded, so it is impossible to conclude the report”, the chief of the tribunal mentioned in his report.

He instructed that the entire record relating to the specific judicial enquiry must be deposited in the record room of the Sindh High Court (SHC).

The clueless end to the tribunal, reinforces the belief that the deaths of more than 50 persons, including religious scholars, and the leadership of the Sunni Tehreek (ST), and injuries to more than 100 people will remain a mystery.

Following this gory incident, a tribunal had been formed to hold a judicial probe by fix responsibility, but the tribunal wound up indecisively.

The tribunal had registered its reservations over the investigations, but the authorities concerned did not bother at all to rectify the situation.

It also had been observed that, the investigators mismanaged the on-going probe regarding the Nishtar Park tragedy.

During the course of judicial probe, dozens of policemen appeared before the tribunal and recorded their statements. And the policemen and officers, who had nothing to do with this incident, also appeared.

The technical experts included the Medico-Legal Officer (MLO) and officials of the Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU), had appeared before the tribunal, where they examined.

However, the tribunal remained unsatisfied with the statements recorded by the police officials, medico-legal experts, and the BDU staff.

One really wonders if the investigations could be fruitful

given the present scenario.

Masterminds of such a brutal sabotage could be unearthed or this case could go into cold storage like so many others.

Since the beginning of the investigations, a non-serious attitude had been adopted by the authorities, as without any evidence it had been claimed that, the blast was a result of suicide bombing.

All investigation had pivoted around the severed head, declaring it to be one of the suicide bomber’s but when the head was identified and according to the identification it was claimed to be that of one Amjad Khan, an activist of Dawat-e-Islami, all investigations became nullified automatically.

Dimension of the investigations designed by invisible forces, disputing statements of investigators and technical experts and winding up of the tribunal, has created several ambiguities, which are yet to be unraveled and there are several questions yet to be answered.

Ambiguities arose when a few police officers propagated for reasons best known to them that mobile phones are not working and they further hinted of the mobile phone jammed.

The situation became volatile following the blast that destroyed most of the evidence, as police could not rush to the scene.

And in a sharp twist of events, a human leg found at the scene of tragedy - a vital piece of evidence - disappeared from Civil Hospital after a few days.

Doctors with years experience of handling such emergencies as well as treating the blast’s victims were of the view, “We haven’t seen such injuries before.”

Independent sources are of the view that the government did not allow the tribunal to complete the judicial probe, as it had unfolded the incompetence of the police and other government functionaries.

The clueless ending of the tribunal, the probing Nishtar Park blast has established that some unseen forces did not want proper probe into the matter. Tribunal had only been announced just to cool-down the aggravated people, instead exploring the facts.

The government has succeeded in completing the task, by giving a lollypop to the masses, who had been demanding a probe into the Nishtar Park explosion.

And the tribunal, after a passage of four months, has ended most fruitlessly.

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