Pak govt not probing army HQ siege: media report

Pak govt not probing army HQ siege: media report

"The government is said to have learnt its lessons from the fall of the Junejo government in the aftermath of the Ojhri camp tragedy in 1988, and has stopped short of ordering an inquiry into the stunning attack (on the army HQ) which virtually shook the whole nation last Saturday," The News said.

Instead of calling an urgent meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC), where three services chiefs are represented, to discuss the attack, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani took a flight to China for a six-day trip.

"One top official source claimed that the sorry fate of the Junejo government actually stopped the present rulers from ordering an inquiry into the army HQ attack to determine who was responsible for the failure of three prime intelligence agencies: the Intelligence Bureau, the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Military Intelligence," the newspaper said.

Over 100 men, women and children were killed and many more were wounded by missiles that rained death and destruction in Islamabad and Rawalpindi after the Ojhri camp ammunition dump in the adjacent garrison town exploded April 10, 1988.

Junejo had appointed two committees - one military and the other parliamentary - to probe the disaster. This infuriated then military dictator Gen. Ziaul Haq so much that he dismissed his handpicked prime minister May 29, 1988 on the pretext that he had failed to implement Islam in the country.

Prime Minister Gilani's spokesman Imran Gardezi was not available for comment as he was in China. Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar did not respond to the question whether President Asif Ali Zardari, the supreme commander of the armed forces, had ordered an inquiry into the army HQ attack.

"The sources said instead of ordering an inquiry, both President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani sent messages of 'congratulations' to the top military brass. One commentator said that the opposition too did not demand any inquiry into the incident," The News pointed out. 

One other reason for the lack of a probe could be that the government is already under tremendous pressure from the military on the Kerry-Lugar bill that places severe conditions on the manner in which US aid for the war against terror is to be utilised.

"The military leadership had expressed its concerns over the bill through a press release to the media instead of using the normal channel of the ministry of defence," the newspaper pointed out.