Pak says private guards’ negligence caused WFP office blast

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik during a press conference in Islamabad in this Sept. 19 picture. Photo:   | Photo Credit: STR

Pakistan on Tuesday said all private guards posted at the UN food agency’s Islamabad office, where a suicide blast killed 5 people, have been taken into custody for questioning, claiming that their negligence enabled the bomber to enter the building in the garb of a security man.

It blamed the Taliban for carrying out the attack that killed five people, including an Iraqi national and two women, at the heavily-guarded World Food Programme (WFP) office in the heart of Islamabad yesterday and warned that the group could launch more such strikes.

All private guards at the WFP office have been taken into custody for questioning and records of all WFP employees are being collected as part of the investigation, Interior Minister Rehmam Malik told reporters.

“It is a complicated matter and the investigation may take some time,” he said and claimed that the attack was the result of the negligence on the part of the private security guards posted at the WFP office.

The bomber, who struck the WFP office, was disguised as a paramilitary trooper and entered the building by saying he wanted to use the toilet. This has raised serious questions about security arrangements in the Pakistani capital.

Close circuit TV footage showed the bomber, wearing the black uniform of Frontier Corps, entering the WFP building. He detonated his bomb in the lobby of the building. The Iraqi national and two Pakistani staff died at the scene and two others died later in hospital.

Mr. Malik said Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan carried out the attack to avenge the killing of its leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone attack in August. “The group has decided in a meeting to carry out more attacks.”

“The militants who target innocent people are enemies of Islam and Pakistan and they want to destabilse Pakistan,” Mr. Malik said after visiting those injured in the attack.

The Taliban leadership in the northwestern Swat valley has been eliminated or arrested, he said. After the successful military operation in Swat, a targeted action has been launched against the loyalists of Baitullah Mehsood in South Waziristan and further action will be taken in the tribal belt against those who challenge the government’s writ, he added.

He also said anti-terror experts are probing yesterday’s suicide attack. A joint investigation team comprising officials from police and intelligence agencies is expected to submit a preliminary report in a couple of days, he said.

Mr. Malik said his ministry had issued alerts about possible terror strikes to all law enforcement agencies though there was no specific intelligence about an attack on WFP office.

Law enforcement agencies have been told that identity cards of all persons, including those in police uniform and travelling in government cars, should be examined at all check posts, he said.

Despite the release on Monday of video footage showing new Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud, Mr. Malik insisted he did not believe the militant commander is alive.

The man who addressed journalists in South Waziristan on Sunday might be Hakimullah’s brother, he said.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 11:02:17 PM |

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