Thursday February 29, 2024

Investigation into KPO attack picks up as CTD arrests three suspects

Security on high alert in Sindh; IG warns supervisory officers against any security lapses

February 20, 2023
An area inside the Karachi Police Office compound is seen cordoned off by a barricade tape a day after an attack by Pakistans Taliban in Karachi. — AFP
An area inside the Karachi Police Office compound is seen cordoned off by a barricade tape a day after an attack by Pakistan's Taliban in Karachi. — AFP

KARACHI: Three suspects were arrested during late night raids by the Counter-Terrorism Department as investigation into the Friday terrorist attack on the Karachi Police Office picked up Sunday night.

The law enforcement agency conducted raids in the Al-Asif Square area of Sohrab Goth on the outskirts of Karachi after geofencing data identified several facilitators of the terror attack that shocked the city, Geo News reported.

On Friday evening, three terrorists with suicide jackets entered the building of the KPO. In the hours-long operation that followed, police commandos and paramilitary soldiers cleared the building.

All the three terrorists were killed in the operation and four persons, including two policemen and a Sindh Rangers sub-inspector, embraced martyrdom in the nerve-racking operation that lasted for more than four hours.

At least 17 other people, including police and Rangers personnel, were also injured in the terror attack, which occurred after a deadly suicide attack at a Peshawar Civil Lines mosque that left at least 85 dead.

DIG East Muqadas Haider, DIG South Ifran Baloch, DIG Rapid Response Force (RRF) Nasir Aftab, Special Security Unit (SSU) and Sindh Rangers participated in the tense operation. The Pakistan Army also assisted the law enforcers.

A news cameraman films the shrapnel-riddled glass outside the Karachi Police Office compound. — AFP
A news cameraman films the shrapnel-riddled glass outside the Karachi Police Office compound. — AFP

A case has also been registered against the Tehreek-e-Taliban at a CTD police station.

The latest arrests were made over an intelligence report, sources aware of the developments into the investigation into the KPO attack shared. The three suspects were shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation.

“Some mobile SIMs have been recovered from the detained persons," the sources said, adding that more than 100 mobile numbers were declared suspicious in geofencing.

“Out of those 100 numbers, at least 10-12 numbers are switched off since then.”

CCTV footage

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have obtained closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage of the KPO attack.

As per details obtained from the footage, the attackers entered the KPO at around 7:15pm by opening fire at the constable manning the main gate between the mosque and KPO and hurled grenades soon after it.

Before reaching the first floor, they shot Amjad Masih, a janitor, and again lobbed a grenade attack.

Meanwhile, police commandos got into position and retaliated. Most of the shootout took place on the first and second floors.

Quoting details of the FIR lodged at the CTD police station, officials said that law-enforcement agencies, including police and Rangers, immediately reached the KPO after receiving information from the wireless police control about the attack.

The forces took a cautious strategy as office staff was inside the building and entered through different directions amid the sound of heavy gunfire and explosions.

By the time the security contingents entered the building, the militants had reached the second floor.

The Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) was instructed to clear the building by preserving the suicide jackets and other explosive materials held by the terrorists.

Officials quoting eyewitnesses revealed that three terrorists had got off a car number ALF-043 outside the Family Quarters of Police Lines and scaled the wall of KPO by cutting the barbed wire.

They added that there were also two other men on a motorcycle who greeted the attackers before their entry to the building and rode away.

Sindh on high alert

Meanwhile, Sindh Police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon on Sunday held a high-level meeting attended by senior-most officers and officials of all ranges of Sindh at his office and ordered a red alert throughout the province.

IG Memon gave directions to take foolproof security measures for the safety of Chinese residents and foreigners associated with various development projects in Sindh.

He warned the supervisory officers over any security lapse and said that they will be held responsible for any untoward incident.

Moreover, he directed security officials to enhance security at all important installations, police lines, government offices training centres, establishments and others.

The Sindh police chief added the investigation into the KPO attack will be taken to its logical conclusion and the facilitators of terrorists would be dealt with an iron fist.

In addition to forming a high-powered committee to investigate the incident, he has also formed a reward committee under the chair of Additional IG CTD, whose members include the DIG Headquarters Sindh, DIG Establishment and the AIGs Welfare.

They will prepare a list of prizes and certificates for the officers and jawans who countered the attack with bravery. Ghulam Nabi Memon also gave instructions to ensure taking care of martyred policemen’s families and providing quality medical facilities to all the injured.