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June 21, 2020

Initial investigations hint at involvement of nationalist groups in attacks on Rangers


June 21, 2020

A day after the series of attacks on the Rangers in the province, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Sindh police registered a case on Saturday against unidentified persons under a clause of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) for attacking the Rangers personnel in Karachi's Nazimabad area.

Apart from Karachi, separate cases were also registered in Ghotki and Larkana over attacks on the paramilitary force.

The CTD investigators also claimed to have made a major breakthrough in the investigations into another recent attack on the Rangers in Karachi, which took place on June 10, as they released pictures of the suspected attackers to the media.

An FIR No 76/20 was registered on the complaint of Liaquatabad Additional SHO Abid Ali Shah at the CTD. Besides multiple sections of the Pakistan Penal Code including 302 (murder) and 324 (attempt to murder), the police also placed the Section 7 of the ATA in the FIR.

The complainant stated in the FIR that when he along with other police personnel visited the Anjuman-e-Islamia School in Liaquatabad No 10, where funds were being provided to needy persons under the federal government’s Ehsaas programme, at around 11:15am, he saw around five suspects on the flyover nearby, who were clad in shalwar kameez, and pants and shirt.

"One of them from the flyover threw some explosive material on the Rangers and police deputed on the Ehsaas programme duty, which caused loud explosion," the complainant said.

"The police tried to arrest the suspects but they opened fire on the police and managed to flee under the cover of fire while taking advantage of the vehicular traffic." The investigators also seized seven empty shells of a .30 bore pistol from the crime scene and sent them to the forensic division of the Sindh police for ballistics cross-matching.

Three incidents in a day

The Rangers came under attack on Friday in broad daylight during in the Liaquatabad area. Due to the explosion, a civilian was martyred while eight others were injured.

The paramilitary force was targeted in two other districts of Sindh as well on the same day. A blast in Ghotki claimed the lives of two Rangers personnel and a passer-by. Another explosion took place in Larkana, in which no casualties were reported.

In the Karachi incident, 30-year-old Kashif, son of Muhammad Deen, died while eight others, including Rangers Sepoy Munawar, were injured.

During the investigations, it was revealed that the staff of the Ehsaas programme were busy in their work at the school when unidentified suspects hurled a hand grenade which exploded near the Rangers vehicle. The suspects fled the scene taking advantage of the vehicular traffic.

It seems that the attack targeted the Rangers but investigations are under way to fully ascertain the motive behind the attack.

The bomb disposal squad and forensic experts were also called at the crime scene who collected evidence, which included the remains of the grenade.

Raja Umer Khattab, the incharge of the Transnational Terrorists Intelligence Group (TTIG), a CTD wing, told The News that the recent attacks on the paramilitary force were carried out by the same group and the mastermind behind the attacks was also the same.

The terrorists who carried out the attacks used grenades and it seemed that they either had carried out recce before or were moving randomly to attack any Rangers mobile they found, Khattab said.

He added that the initial investigations had led to the suspicion that some nationalists groups were responsible for the attacks and their leaders were operating outside Pakistan.

Earlier attack in Karachi

This was not for the first time in the recent days when the Rangers came under attack in Karachi. Earlier on June 10, armed motorcylists had attacked a Rangers mobile van in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, injuring one of the paramilitary force’s personnel present in the vehicle.

Due to progress in the investigations into the Gulistan-e-Jauhar attack, the CTD police has issued pictures of the two suspects on the motorcycle who had attacked the paramilitary force on June 10.

"The CTD has issued the pictures of two armed men who attacked the Rangers mobile in Gulistan-e-Jauhar on June 10," said Khattab. "The citizens are requested to inform us through telephone number 02199203430 if anyone has any information about the suspects,” he added and promised that those who would provide information about the suspects would be rewarded and their names would not be disclosed.