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Monday, June 9, 2014

Karachi Jinna airport attacked by militants ...

It was known to the ancient Greeks by many names: Krokola, the place where Alexander the Great camped to prepare a fleet for Babylonia after his campaign in the Indus Valley; Morontobara  from whence Alexander's admiral Nearchus set sail; JRD Tata, the father of civil aviation in India made India's maiden voyage from Juhu Aerodrome in Bombay to Drigh Road airstrip on 15 October 1932 carrying mail in a Puss Moth aircraft.

It is Karachi, the largest and most populous metropolitan city of Pakistan and its main seaport and financial centre, as well as the capital of Sindh province. It was the capital of Pakistan until Islamabad was constructed as a capital to spread development evenly across the country and to prevent it from being concentrated in Karachi. After the independence of Pakistan, the city population increased dramatically with influx of immigrants.  The city is located on the Arabian Sea coastline.  It was here  Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was buried… the International airport is named after Jinnah.  The airport provides a secondary hub for the flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Air Indus, Shaheen Air, and airblue as well as many other private airlines.

It is in news for wrong reasons as  Taliban gunmen disguised as police guards 'intended to hijack planes' in attack that killed 27 in five-hour siege at Pakistan's biggest airport.  Reports suggest that 10 gunmen attacked Jinnah International Airport in Karachi with machine guns and a rocket launcher. Flames and explosions lit up the night sky above the airport as the armed group launched the high-profile assault and loud explosions were reportedly heard.  The army commandos battled it out killing all 10  gunmen as the  Pakistani Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attacks. 

Gunmen disguised as police guards attacked a terminal at Pakistan's busiest airport on Sunday with machine guns and a rocket launcher during a five-hour siege that left 27 people dead as explosions echoed into the night. The Pakistani Taliban, an alliance of insurgent groups fighting to topple the government and set up a sharia state, later claimed responsibility, saying it was in response to army attacks along the Afghan border. The attack on the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, began late Sunday and continued on into the dawn hours of Monday, although officials said all the passengers had been evacuated.

Some reports suggest that  terrorists entered the terminal in two groups.  They were foreigners, and some of them seemed to be Uzbeks.  Chief Minister of Sindh province, Qaim Ali Shah is quoted as saying that 'They were well trained. Their plan was very well thought out,'  'It is a message to the Pakistan government that we are still alive to react over the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages,' said Shahidullah Shahid, a Taliban spokesman. The spokesman for the Pakistani military, General Asim Bajwa, said on Twitter that no aircraft were damaged and that as a precautionary measure, security forces were sweeping the airport before operations would be returned to the Civil Aviation Authority and airport police.  Cricketer turned politician Imran Khan tweeted this morning: 'Khi airport terrorist attack shocking. Continuing security & intel lapses reflect a failure of the govt's National Counter Terrorism Policy.' The city, Pakistan’s largest, has been a hiding place for a number of senior Taliban and Al Qaeda figures. Peace talks between the government and Taliban that began this year have stalled, with the military recently resorting to air strikes on militant hideouts, killing at least 75 people.

Firstpost reports that India's security managers need to draw two quick lessons from the deadly terror attack and the overnight siege of Karachi's Jinnah International Airport. One, firewall Indian airports against fidayeen attacks where the terrorists’ brief may be to dig in their heels and hijack a parked plane. And two, from now on, security agencies at all Indian airports need to look for painkiller injections as well, not just weapons. In a first, terrorists in the Karachi airport attack were reportedly armed with a ready supply of painkiller injections. The idea was obviously to prepare them for the long haul and keep on fighting even after sustaining injuries, by using the painkiller injections. India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has rightly issued a nationwide alert at all airports.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
Photo and news credit : dailymail.co.uk



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