Even the PPP govt. in Sindh did nothing seriously during its 15-year rule to dispense justice
By Dr. Abdul Razak Shaikh
The Karsaz bomb attack on former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s procession took place on the night of October 18, 2007 in Karachi, two months before she was assassinated in Rawalpindi. The bombing left approximately 180 dead, and more than 500 injured, and the Edhi Morgue located in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area was filled with unidentified bodies, some of which lay there for weeks.
And even after 16 years, the investigators have no idea of, or maybe they are hiding the elements, elements behind the twin bomb attack. The police and allied agencies still seem clueless about the perpetrators of the carnage.
Benazir Bhutto was on the way from Jinnah Airport to Mausoleum of Jinnah with tens of thousands people who had thronged to welcome her on return from eight-year self-exile during which she lived in Dubai and London.
Two explosions occurred in front of the rallying truck from which she greeted her supporters and party members. About halfway from the airport to the mausoleum for a scheduled public meeting, just after Bhutto’s truck had crossed Karsaz overhead bridge.
In a press conference on 19 October 2007, Benazir Bhutto said that her security team couldn’t prevent the attack because the street lights were turned off, and called for an inquiry into why this happened. On 20 October, authorities released a photograph of the suspect responsible for the suicide attack. On 23 October, then Prime Minister Shoukat Aziz rejected PPP demand for a probe into the suicide blast by foreign experts, expressing confidence that Pakistani law-enforcement agencies can probe in a very objective manner. But even after 16 years, Pakistani investigators are silent.
Surprisingly, three inquiry committees were constituted since 2008 to trace the mastermind, handlers, and executors of the attack, but to no avail.
After the devastating blasts, the then provincial government, led by the Chief Minister Dr. Arbab Ghulam Rahim had set up an inquiry tribunal to investigate the blasts. The tribunal headed by retired Justice Dr. Ghous Mohammad started proceedings and recorded the statements of around 40 witnesses.
In March 2008, the police produced in court one Qari Saifullah Akhtar, an alleged Al Qaeda militant, but he was released for want of evidence.
Qari Akhtar was brought before the administrative judge of the anti-terrorism court and was remanded to police custody for alleged masterminding the twin blasts. The court, however, released him some 10 days after his remand since the police officer, DSP Nawaz Ranjha, who was later gunned down, submitted that no incriminating evidence had been found to link him with the blasts.
The arrest and production of the alleged militant was made before the PPP came into power and since then there has hardly been any effort made to track down the culprits and bring them to justice.
In 2012, the then Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that the provincial government had constituted another committee, headed by a Deputy Inspector General of Police, to inquire into the Karsaz tragedy but there was no outcome to these inquiries.
Later, former Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also announced a five-member inquiry committee to re-investigate the twin blast case.
The PPP government was in power in Sindh province for 15 years without interruption, but the innocent blood of martyrs was not dispensed Justice.
PPP just continues observing anniversary of the carnage every year on October 18. Following its tradition of observing anniversaries, public gatherings in every district are planned in Sindh even today (October 18) while the party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will give a speech online to the workers.
Dr. Abdul Razak Shaikh, who retired from provincial health department, is President, People’s Doctors’ Forum Sindh.