Delay in release of PNS Mehran attack probe raising doubts


The extraordinary delay in the release of the inquiry report on the terrorist attack on PNS Mehran Base is making the case more suspicious and questions are being raised by the general public and defense analysts about the findings of the probe.
Meanwhile, the change of command of Pakistan Navy would be organised on October 8 as the tenure of Naval chief ends on that day. The list of possible candidates to succeed Admiral Noman Bashir include the current Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, Asif Sandella, Vice Admiral Tanveer Faiz, the deputy chief of Naval Staff Operations, Commander Coast Tayyab Ali Dogar and Commander Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Abbas Raza.
Possibly, the report will be finalised after the change of command to save the candidates from being pressured by the report, defense analysts said. Defense Minister Chaudhary Mukhtar Ahmed late last week announced that the enquiry into the attack had reached its final stage, saying “some heads will roll” for professional negligence. The PNS Mehran was under the command of the commander of Pakistan fleet when the attack took place on May 22. Interestingly, the said commander has not been quizzed over the failure of the armed forces to protect the installation.
“The leadership should set an example for juniors by taking responsibility of the incident and present themselves for inquiry,” said Jawaid Iqbal, former commander of the Pakistan fleet and vice president of PTI. “It seems safe a passage is being provided to some officers,” a navy source said. “The commander Pakistan fleet was issued an explanation call in the form of a letter, to which he responded by writing back.”
Both the Pakistan Navy and the government constituted teams to look into the attack, which was dubbed as an embarrassment for the armed forces. While the government has stayed clear of trying to pin the blame on any serving officer, the navy investigators’ failure to call the commander of Pakistan fleet is because the team is being headed by a junior of the vice admiral.
“The navy team is headed by Rear Admiral Tehseenullah, who wrote the letter to his senior, but failed to collect enough courage and call him for an explanation,” sources said. “This is because Tehseen is commander Pakistan fleet’s junior. The navy enquiry has pinpointed five serving officers who are likely to be court-martialled for their negligence in the line of duty.
“Four of the five are chief staff officer, Pakistan fleet, Commodore Moazzam Ilyas, Commander Naval Aviation Commodore Tahir, Commanding Officer PNS Mehran Captain Israr and Security officer Mehran Base Lieutenant Commander Abrar,” sources said.