Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nine Pakistani Policemen Blamed And Sacked For Rashid Rauf's "Escape"

Nine Pakistani police officers, including six supervisors, have been sacked following the "escape" of terror suspect Rashid Rauf, who slipped away from police custody last month in either Rawalpindi or Islamabad (accounts differ).

Rauf, the alleged mastermind of the so-called Liquid Bombers, is wanted in the UK in connection with the stabbing death of his uncle in 2002.

The nine officers who have been fired include Constables Wazirzada and Muhammad Tufail, who were escorting the suspect back to prison from a court appearance when he disappeared.

Accounts of the disappearance have been sketchy, as we have detailed (here and here and here and here and here).

The first reports indicated that Rashid Rauf had overpowered his guards and escaped, presumably still wearing handcuffs. Later reports said he had been allowed to visit a mosque while his police escort waited for him; after twenty minutes one of the officers went into the mosque, only to find Rauf had slipped out the back door.

A subsequent report -- quoting sources inside the investigation -- hinted that all this was merely cover; that Rauf had been released in the courthouse district of Islamabad and never made it to the mosque at all. This report seems more credible than any of the others I have read, but its impact has not been felt, especially in Western coverage (this BBC piece, like most others, rehashes the second cover story as if it were genuine).

In addition to the escorts, the following policemen have lost their jobs over the incident: Assistant Sub Inspectors Raza Muhammad, Mohsin Raza, Khalid Mehmood, Sajid Mehmood and Muhammad Junaid, Head Constable Muhammad Ashraf and Constable Muhammad Ashraf.

For a look at the Liquid Bombers in context of the Terror War, please see "Inadequate Deception: The Impossible Plots Of The Terror War".


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