President, PM step in to save Sindh coalition
KARACHI: Four of the six militants who were involved in the armed raid on Pakistan?s Naval air base have been eliminated in the retaliatory operation by the security forces while two managed to escape, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said here Monday. He put the number of martyred armed forces personnel at 10 and the injured at 15. Talking to media men here at Chief Minister House after his visit to the PNS Mehran at Sharea Faisal, the Interior Minister said the martyred troops would be awarded Sitara-e-Shujaat posthumously. “The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have claimed responsibility for the attack,” Rehman Malik said. He said two terrorists were killed by the security forces in clashes, another blew himself up in one of the buildings while body of the fourth is said to be in the debris. “They were wearing black shirts and trousers.” He said two naval surveillance planes P3C Orion were destroyed by the terrorists who were equipped with rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), LMGs and hand grenades. Malik said other planes were towed away by Navy personnel assisted by Rangers out of the terrorists’ firing range. He said 17 foreigners including 11 Chinese and 6 Americans were rescued by the Naval commandoes. The foreigners were there to give training to naval personnel about Orion planes. Interior Minister said two other suspected terrorists were stated to be seen running away by the eye-witnesses at the base and added that the terrorists sneaked into the base from the back side by scaling the walls with the help of ladders. “Two ladders and cutters were also found from the spot,” he said. The Minister said that the terrorists were between 22 to 25 years of age with fair and sharp complexion. He said the security personnel who achieved martyrdom included one officer Lt. Yasser Abbas, 3 firemen, 3 SSG personnel, 1 sailor and 2 personnel of Pakistan Rangers. The attack started at 10. 30 pm Sunday night and clashes continued till the operation was completed by personnel of Navy and Rangers by 3.30 pm on Monday. Rehman Malik said that President and Prime Minister were in constant touch with him during the operation and added that an investigation team led by Pakistan Navy will be established whose report will be made public. He said all terrorist activities were being planned in Waziristan andAl-Qaeda and TTP were destroying the assets of the country at the behest of other forces that wanted to destabilise Pakistan. “I appeal to all political parties to get united against common enemy and protect the homeland,” he maintained. To a question, he said Pakistan was fighting the terrorists not only to protect itself but the whole world and this terrorism on naval base was attack on Pakistan. On the occasion, he paid rich tribute to Navy and Rangers troops who embranced martyrdom especially Lt. Yasser Abbass who, he said, sacrificed his life and saved the assets and personnel of Navy at the base.