`Pak navy base attack staged with inside support`

The information about "inside support" was based on the findings of an internal inquiry committee.

Updated: Jun 30, 2011, 17:23 PM IST

Islamabad: The terrorist attack on a key
Pakistani naval airbase last month during which 10 security
personnel were killed and two maritime surveillance aircraft
destroyed was carried out with "inside support", senior
Pakistani military officials told a Parliamentary panel.

The naval officials told the Standing Committee on
Defence of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament
during an in-camera briefing that "insiders" were involved in
the attack on PNS Mehran airbase in Karachi on May 22, TV news
channels and newspapers reported today.

There was no official word on the development.
The Deputy Chief of the Pakistani navy and an Air Vice
Marshal gave a two-hour briefing to the Parliamentary panel
behind closed doors.

They told the panel that the information about "inside
support" was based on the findings of an internal inquiry
committee, the media reports said.

Ten security personnel were killed and two P3C Orion
maritime surveillance aircraft, each worth over USD 30
million, destroyed during the attack on PNS Mehran.

The attackers besieged the airbase for over 16 hours
before they were killed by security forces or blew themselves
up.
Responsibility for any lapses in the incident will be
fixed after a joint investigation team completes its probe,
the media quoted the military officials as telling the
Parliamentary panel.

The internal inquiry committee has already completed
its work.

A statement issued by the National Assembly
Secretariat said four terrorists were involved in the attack.

There were considerable discrepancies in information
provided by officials about the number of terrorists involved
in the attack.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik had claimed the attack
was carried out by six terrorists, four of whom were killed
while two escaped.

However, the First Information Report filed by the
navy initially said up to 12 attackers were involved but the
number was subsequently revised.

The Parliamentary panel decided to take up the matter
again after the joint investigation team completed its work.

Standing Committee on Defence Chairperson Azra Fazal
Pechuho, the sister of President Asif Ali Zardari, assured the
members of the panel that responsibility will be fixed after
the final report on the incident is received.

Pechuho said the panel suggested guidelines to improve
the security of important assets to prevent similar attacks in
future.

The Pakistan Taliban had claimed responsibility for
the attack, saying it was carried out to avenge the killing of
Osama bin Laden in a US raid on Abbottabad on May 2.

Taliban commander Waliur Rehman told Al-Arabiya news
channel that the attack on PNS Mehran was the first of 10
attacks planned by the militants on important Pakistani
installations.

PTI