Islamabad gunman wasn’t alone after all!

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Nisar tells MPs ‘foreign hands’ behind Sikandar drama

Says three people, including police official, arrested for links with Sikandar

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday had to eat his words regarding the Islamabad standoff by a lone gunman, Sikandar, claiming that the initial investigation had hinted at the involvement of “some foreign hands”.

On Saturday, the minister had said that Sikandar was operating alone and was therefore not initially shot down by the police.

Nisar took another somersault on his previous statement that Pakistan had nothing to do with the war in Afghanistan, saying that Pakistan had been a part of the war against terrorism for the past 12 years.

“How can the decades-old policies be reversed in days,” he argued.

“Investigation into the Sikandar episode has revealed that the issue is not simple. Involvement of some officials, sensitive institutions and international mobsters has been indicated. We will unearth the forces handling Sikandar and take the investigation to its logical end,” said Nisar while responding to the concerns of members of the opposition parties in the National Assembly.

The minister did not share the investigation details, saying that some facts could not be shared with the House due to the sensitive nature of the investigation. “This issue is also related to some important issues of national interest,” said the minister and urged the lawmakers not to exploit the matter for “mere point scoring”.

He proposed to constitute a parliamentary National Security Committee and offered to surrender his powers to the committee.

Giving details of the Islamabad incident, Nisar said Sikandar had purchased his weapons from Pasroor on August 6 and left Hafizabad for Islamabad on August 12. “The weapons were hidden between clothes in a suitcase,” he said, adding that Sikandar was in Islamabad for two day before the police apprehended him on August 15.

He said Sikander had hired his car and was roaming around Islamabad when the police intercepted him for violation of the speed limit. However, Sikandar took out his arms and resorted to aerial firing when the police personnel moved closer.

Nisar stated that due to live media coverage and the gathering of locals, it became difficult for the police to take prompt action though he had directed them to fire at Sikandar below the waist and arrest him alive.

Nisar said he was astonished to know that none of the police personnel knew how to operate a stun-gun.

“When a stun-gun expert was summoned, it was revealed that it had a range of only five to seven feet. Therefore, it was decided that an operation be launched against Sikandar at dusk,” he said.

However, Zamurd Khan triggered the risky incident before the police operation, he said.

Justifying the delay in action against Sikandar, Nisar said the security agencies were nervous to operate in the presence of media and a large number of locals as they feared the loss of lives.

Nisar regretted that despite all efforts the media could not be persuaded to give the security agencies a space for operation and an operation was impossible at a time when Sikandar was aware that he was being viewed within the country and abroad.

He said the media should have a code of conduct regarding the coverage of terrorist incidents.

“The media should not glorify crime. We need to be on the same page as far as militancy is concerned. Such incidents should not be covered live as it a matter of national security and respect,” he said.

Nisar said the police interrogated Sikandar and after initial investigation, the law enforcers arrested a head constable from a police checkpost along the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir.

“Another person with a religious background was arrested from Hafizabad and has provided us valuable information,” said the interior minister.

Sikandar’s friend who sold him the arms was also arrested, he said.

Replying to a point raised by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Nisar said the parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly would soon be briefed on security situation and such a briefing will continue off and on.

He added that the government would also be expecting constructive suggestions from the parliamentary leaders.

KARACHI LAW AND ORDER:

Chaudhry Nisar also extended full support to the Sindh government for uprooting outlaws and extremist from the province, terming the Karachi situation “gruesome”.

Responding to a privilege motion raised by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Khwaja Sohail Mansoor, Nisar said “I offer intelligence information, rangers for action and assistance from the federal government to the Sindh government,” adding that the federal government could not take action in Sindh without the permission of the provincial government.

The minister said he would talk to the provincial government and the Sindh inspector general of police.

 

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