Apex court finds chink in Islamabad police armour

Apex court finds chink in Islamabad police armour

ISLAMABAD: Dissatisfied with the performance of the capital police following the twin attacks in the city’s district court, the apex court on Tuesday ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to submit a comprehensive report into the attack on March 10th.

“If the men in uniform cannot protect us, then who will?” questioned Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who took suo motu notice of the incident in which 11 people were killed including an Additional District and Sessions judge.

The court sought a report from the IGP on the number of police officers who were deputed at the court on the day of the attack. It also asked for information on how many policemen fired at the attackers in retaliation. The bench sought written statements from district and sessions judges. President Islamabad District Bar Association (IDBA) Moshin Akhtar Kayani was also directed to submit a written statement about the incident.

Interior Secretary Shahid Khan presented a report stating that 66 police officers were deputed around-the-clock at the courts and 47 were present on the day. The report confirmed that two gunmen had used hand grenades and later blew themselves up during the attack. Additionally, the interior secretary informed the court that there were 12 walkthrough security gates on the court premises but he admitted that all gates were dysfunctional at the time.

Khan said the incident is being reviewed at the highest level and necessary instructions have been issued to all authorities concerned. A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been formed to probe the matter and an investigation is underway, he said.  Additionally, an inquiry has been ordered of the Islamabad deputy commissioner by March 7.

The interior secretary’s report stated that eight meetings were held in the interior division over the last six months to review the security situation and 42 messages alerting the Inspector General of Police and Chief Commissioner Islamabad were sent between March 1st to the 3rd. Khan said a house survey in capital has been conducted and so far 50,000 houses have been surveyed.

The bench directed the federal government to install CCTV cameras at city courts within 48 hours and ordered the government to ensure compensation to families of the victims by Tuesday evening. The court will take up the matter on March 10.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2014.