Spy agencies tell SC they warned of Hazara attack
21 February, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Denying responsibility for the massacre of Hazara people in Quetta, the spy agencies on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that they had shared information with the civil administration about procurement of explosives by terrorists from Lahore and possibility of fresh terror attacks on Hazara community.
A report by the ISI, which was submitted by the defence secretary, stated that the terrorists planned explosions on Kinrani on the chehlum of Hazara people who were killed on Alamdar Road on January 10, but changed their plan and carried out a blast on February 16 in Quetta, killing 87 and injuring over 100 Hazaras. Likewise, an IB report, submitted by the interior secretary, also said that the civilian administration had failed to avert the incident by not taking action on time.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has asked the president, prime minister and the Balochistan governor to submit their replies through the attorney general of Pakistan regarding the incident by Thursday (today). The court has also summoned Balochistan home secretary, Quetta CCPO and FC commandant today and asked them to submit reports on steps taken to avert the incident.
Secretaries of defence and interior were exempted from personal appearance, but the court ordered them to submit a report of January 10 attack. "After going through the reports we believe that the agencies performed their duties and shared the intelligence with the law enforcers in Quetta, indicating the likelihood of another terror attack on the community on the occasion of chehlum of the persons deceased at Alamdar Road on January 10, 2013," the chief justice said.
The court noted that ISI's information was 35 to 40 percent accurate, but the civil administration did not act on time, which caused the death of 87 people. The chief justice observed that the intelligence agencies had completed their job and it was the duty of the law enforcers to act on the information and take steps to counter terrorism. Commander Shahbaz from the Ministry of Defence told the court that the spy agencies wanted to give an in-camera briefing about the recent incidents in Quetta.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Additional Advocate General Azam Khan Khattak said that the information was not specific. He said although the ISI and IB reports cautioned about the danger, but they did not state when and where the incident might take place. Balochistan Additional Home Secretary Saqib Javaid told the bench that the provincial administration had transferred the DIG (Operations). He further said that they had arrested seven persons; four of whom executed, financed and masterminded the incident. He said the water tanker used in the incident was prepared in a garage in Hazar Gunji.
Javaid also stated that the tanker came from the road which was controlled by the FC, not police. Upon this, the court said that it would also question the FC IG regarding this negligence. Deputy Attorney General Shafi Chandio, appearing before the court, stated that AGP Irfran Qadir is ill and therefore could not attend the proceedings. He said that a delegation of parliamentarians has met with the Hazara protesters in Quetta and a cabinet meeting was specially summoned under the chair of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Pervez to discuss the Quetta incident. The court ordered that the spy agencies' reports be kept confidential and adjourned the hearing until today.