“This is a different and dangerous narrative of the new militant [groups] and needs to be countered aggressively,” said Additional IG Dr Sanaullah Abbasi, heading the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of police in Sindh.
Militants ‘regret’ targeting civilians
Dr Abbasi believed that the attacks on the police vans in New Town, SITE and Korangi as well as the attack on traffic constables in Gulshan were linked due to their common pattern.
A new group, Ansarul Sharia Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for most of these incidents.
“Ansarul Sharia Pakistan is a reality and we believe that it is involved in recent wave of terror in the metropolis,” said the CTD chief.
The CTD assessment suggested that this group seemed to be far more professional, combat trained and media savvy, indicating a higher level of education.
He said that mobile patrols and traffic police were being targeted as they represented the softest targets for the militant group that has declared it would only target law enforcers and armed forces.
The CTD chief said the increase in frequency of attacks in the past month indicated that this group might have ‘additional resources’, allowing it to step up attacks.
“Perhaps the number of weapons that the group has also increased, as ballistic test indicates that there are at least two 9mm pistols and one TT pistol at their disposal.
“The fact that one of the assailants also took away MP-5 [rifle] from traffic constables seems to indicate that the group may be stockpiling weapons for a large-scale attack,” apprehended the CTD chief.
Following the recent attacks on policemen, it was decided that besides the deployment of Rapid Response Force, the Rangers and police would conduct joint patrolling and raids.
“There are apprehensions that the security threat posed by this group may continue until this outfit is eliminated.”
It was decided that profiling of policemen would be done and only young officers would be deployed in the field while aged personnel would be assigned desk jobs, said the CTD head.
He said it was also decided that police patrol and deployment would be made in an unpredictable manner, taking into consideration the pattern of attacks on police in recent months. The police van attacked in New Town had been stationed there for the past six months, he explained. “Now there will be an element of surprise in the patrolling of police,” he said.
Dr Abbasi said that the recent incidents of terrorism were not Karachi-specific, as policemen were also attacked in Lahore where 10 personnel were killed in the recent blast.
Besides, he added, it was also not area-specific in the city as the militants targeted police personnel wherever they found them as ‘soft targets’.
The CTD chief said that in the traffic police attack case, they followed the SOPs as they were wearing bulletproof jackets owing to which the life of one traffic policeman was saved.
“It is unfortunate that there were many onlookers due to rush hour but nobody tried to help the police,” said Dr Abbasi. He said any car could have hit the armed motorcyclists. With the people’s help, the attackers could have been arrested and their group might have been busted, he added.