KARACHI - Lethargic attitude of the authorities concerned has been putting the lives in danger of the experts who are performing an extremely risky job of bomb diffusing, while the terrorists are modifying their techniques very frequently, The Nation has learnt.

Sources privy to the matter revealed that the available resources and stuff essential for safety still confined in the hands of the VIPs.

In the prevailing law and orders situation, the experts of Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) have been facing multiple challenges including the new modification and technologies being used by the terrorist groups in bomb making and frequent exercises of dismantling explosive devices.

Police statistic revealed that at least 43 bombs went off and 725 bombs of various sort were recovered and defused after the anti-terrorists operation was launched on September 5, 2013. In such circumstances, the bomb disposal department suffers extremely vulnerable circumstances and has to defuse bombs without any proper safety arrangements.

An official of BDS while talking to The Nation said that in the current law and order situation when bomb blasts have became a matter of routine and the department is usually engaged in defusing bombs, no security measures have yet been taken to save the lives of experts doing such a risky job. He said that the terrorists continue upgrading their systems and applying new technologies, multiplying risk hundreds times for the experts of BDS. He said that the authorities have announced to provide safety tool kits but did nothing in this regard.

Another officer of the BDS wished to be anonymous told that the government seemed reluctant to considered BDS as an independent department though in 2010, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had approved a summary ahead of the upgrading of BDS and k9 unit.

It has been announced that BDS will get an 18 grade Deputy Director and two DSP rank officers with some 150 personnel but the project remained in limbo. The total strength across the province including Karachi, 6 experts, 60 personnel, Nawabshah, 15 Larkana,15 without expert, Sukkur, one expert total strength 20,  Mirpurkhas 12 without any expert.

He pointed out that currently department have some six experts in general and one team of BDS consisting of one or two experts with three non experience assistants. It’s worth mentioning here that the second largest city of the province Hyderabad remains without any expert after the lethargic attitude of the authorities.

Sources said that one Saleem died while defusing a bomb and other two namely Fakharul Islam and Ali Khan were supposed to resign when Saleem could not get proper medical treatment and died while shifting Karachi from Hyderabad.

Sources pointed out that two other experts were also wounded seriously couple of months ago due to lack of proper treatment.    

In 2012, foreign investigators of the USA had organised a workshop at Central Police Office for the training of police investigators. The US officials also gifted an EOD suit, weight 75 kg but the suit doesn’t suitable for the environment and it also needs other compulsory accessories.  

Sources said that the UK government had also given the 15, Bomb Disposal Response Vehicle (BDRV) to Pakistan. Karachi would get at least five out of 15 BDRV vans but only one van reached Karachi and the van particularly used for some special occasions.

Sources said that the BDRV has been used in a political gathering in 27th December Larkana and during recent rally of 18 October.

Only four experts, who were trained by foreigners, have been directed by high ups to train other personnel. Interestingly, the van remains without basic equipments such as one “Hot Rod” used for big bombs and through the Hot Rod, experts managed to diffuse the bomb from the distance of 100 to 200 mitres such as explosive leaden vehicles, the second essential kit known as General Distracter, essential to diffused small bombs in begs or boxes and third one “Needle Distracter” for small IEDS.      

DIG Special Branch Naeem Baroka while talking to The Nation said that the issue of BDRVs and essential tools and equipments would be resolved in next two weeks. He said that a summary ahead of the hiring of new staff and equipment remains in the pipeline and hopefully the issues will be settled in near future.

Baroka said that bomb diffusing reboots worth Rs10 million for each have also been proposed to the government. He said that all the issues ahead of betterment of the department and safety for the experts are in the pipeline and would be resolved soon.

BDRVs, which are presently in Islamabad, will reach Karachi within 10 to 15 days, he said added, “We have asked the authorities concerned to send all essential tool kits and light weight dresses gifted by the USA. It is worth mentioning here that long awaiting five DBRV vehicles will be distributed as three for each district of the city and two for railways.