Shikarpur suicide attack FIR registered against six men

HYDERABAD: Police on Wednesday registered a First Information Report (FIR) in connection with a suicide attack targeting Eidul Azha prayers in Shikarpur’s Khanpur tehsil on Monday.

At least 13 people, including five cops, were injured as police foiled two suicide attack attempts during Eid prayers.

The FIR was lodged against six suspects under sections 120-B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 324, 353 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), sections 3 and 4 of the Explosive Substance Act and 6/7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act on the complaint of Syed Mohammad Shah Kazmi, a member of the Shuhada Committee.

The committee is a district level forum of the Shia community that was formed in the wake of last year’s suicide bombing in a Shikarpur imambargah that killed 61 people.

The complainant said he has nominated six persons in the FIR in light of the initial statement given by an arrested accused.

“We don’t trust the police, that’s why we have come forward to lodge the FIR ourselves,” Kazmi told Dawn.

Khanpur police confirmed that four men nominated in the FIR include Abdul Rehman (dead), Usman (arrested) and Umer and Hafeez (their handlers) who had fled away. Two accused remain unidentified. Their possible affiliation with any outfit is not yet known.

SSP Shikarpur Umer Tufail said that since members of the Shia community were volunteering to register the FIR “we didn’t raise any objection and the FIR has been accordingly registered”.

Police have rounded up close to two dozen suspects in the Khanpur area of Shikarpur district after the incidents. In the first attack, two suspects fled after throwing a grenade as policemen pursued them, injuring 13 people. In the second incident at an imambargah, one suicide bomber – who was later identified as Abdul Rehman, a resident of Bajaur — was gunned down and another identified as Usman was apprehended by police.

“When a sub-inspector of police asked Abdul Rehman some questions, who was wearing an ajrak, he couldn’t respond which prompted the officer to search him,” a police officer said.

Initial investigation by police shows that Abdul Rehman and Usman had travelled to Shikarpur on a motorbike after travelling for three hours.

“This shows that they had stayed somewhere in another district like Jacobabad or Jaffarabad in Balochistan,” a police source said.

Usman, who is in custody of police, is a resident of Swat’s Kabal tehsil. He is a student of a religious seminary in Karachi. It is learnt that Usman is being handed over to Sindh police’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) for questioning.

IGP Sindh A.D. Khawaja confirmed talking to Dawn over the telephone that the case of Tuesday’s incident was being transferred to CTD Karachi along with the arrested suspects for investigation.

Shikarpur police have transferred SHO Bahar Deen Keerio following the attack after complaints of Shuhada Committee leaders.

Kazmi remarked that SHO Keerio was incompetent.

“We [the Shia community] are facing a different scenario and a conventional type of policing will not help us and this is what we are trying to tell everyone,” he said.

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