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Pak: Naval chief moots relocating Karachi establishments

May 24, 2011 19:55 IST
A day after terrorists wracked havoc on his forces lone air base, Pakistan's naval chief has mooted plans of relocating all naval installations away from residential areas. "We are trying to relocate all the vital naval base and installations away from residential areas," Admiral Noman Bashir said at a media briefing of the navy on the incident.

The admiral admitted that it was difficult to enforce effective security due to all these establishments being hemmed in by residential areas. He said five P3C Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft were parked at airbase, while four others were currently being modified in the United States.

Pointing out that the attackers of the Mehran base were highly trained and carried sophisticated weapons like RPG launchers, Bashir said the response time to the rate had been only three minutes and that his commandos had forth back bravely to try to contain, kill or arrest the militants.

The PNS Mehran airbase built in 1975 is right in the heart of the city close to the main Shahrah-e-Faisal road and adjacent to the Pakistan Airforce Faisal base.

Defence experts say that during peace time all vital installations and assets of the navy are parked or kept at the Mehran airbase.

One side of the airbase station is surrounded by a low laying low income neighbourhood from where the militants are supposed to have come across a river and scaled the walls to enter the base to cause extensive damage.

Interestingly, close to the PNS Mehran base there is a public museum and wedding lawns in the faisal base area.   The naval chief said the naval installations were planned and built in the Karsaz area around Shahrah-e-Faisal road when it was not populated and away from the city. But he pointed out the times have changed and there has been growth of residential areas.

To a question about the involvement of any country behind the terror attack on the base, he said only investigations could reveal the truth.

Interestingly while Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said repeatedly that four attackers were killed and two others might have escaped, the Shahrah-e-Faisal police station has registered the first information report of the PNS Mehran attack against 12 terrorists, on Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, the FIR has been registered on the complaint of Lieutenant Irfan under Explosive Act and Anti Terrorism Act sections 302, 324, 427, 353 and 121.

The recovery of suicide jackets, Kalashnikov and rocket launchers were also mentioned in the FIR.


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