Lal Masjid arms seized during operation ‘stolen’: Did ISI ‘retrieve’ its assets for redistribution to Takfiri Deobandis?

Lal Masjid arms seized during operation ‘stolen’

by Mohammad Asghar

ISLAMABAD, Dec 21: A large quantity of arms, seized by security forces during the Lal Masjid operation and stored in the Aabpara police station’s heavily guarded armoury, is missing, reported ‘stolen’.

Dawn has learnt that, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik has suspended Senior Superintendent of Police Ahmad Latif and Superintendent of Police Dr Shahzad Asif and ordered registration of a case against SHO Inspector Naeem Iqbal and 14 other police personnel on charges of criminal breach of trust, theft and burglary.

All the accused have been suspended and arrested.

The adviser also recommended registration of a case against ASP Dr Shahzad Asif.

The arms included assault rifles, rocket launchers, anti-tank mines, grenades and a large quantity of bullets, which were seized by the security forces during the Lal Masjid operation which ended on July 11 last year.

Surprisingly, nothing else seized by police — liquor bottles and jewellery — has been stolen.

According to police, the stolen arms include 47 small machine-guns, three light machine-guns, several AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers and hand grenades, seven rockets and 2,800 bullets.

A source close to police told this correspondent that no locks had been broken by the thieves. It is believed that duplicate keys might have been used to open the armoury located in the basement of the police station.

He said that police came to know about the theft on Saturday night. The police station was immediately closed and a search was undertaken. Sniffer dogs were also used but the culprits but the culprits could not be traced.

All police personnel posted at the station were interrogated and some people working in nearby markets were taken into custody.

An investigation team, comprising police and Federal Investigation Agency officials, has been formed. The team is headed by DIG Inayatullah Farooqi.

The police officials booked and arrested were identified as Inspector Naeem Iqbal, ASI Shan Muhammad, Mansoor Ahmad, Shabir Ahmad, Niazi, Fayyaz, Head Constable Samiullah and some constables. (Dawn, 22 Dec 2008)