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Pakistan: Three killed near Shi'a religious gathering in Karachi bomb blast


KARACHI, (The News): Three people were killed and 15 others, including five Rangers personnel, were injured in a huge explosion that shook Abbas Town when a Majlis was being held at an Imambargah nearby.

The blast took place near Jamia Masjid Imambargah Mustafa on Abul Hassan Isphahani Road, sparking tension and fear in the area. Police and rescue sources said Azhar Hassan, 32, Mohammed Haider, 35, and an unidentified man was killed while 15 others, including five Rangers personnel were injured in the explosion that took place in Sachal police remits. At the time of blast ‘Majlis’ was being held in the Imambargah.

Police said that the explosion took place at Abbas Town market area outside a milk shop due to which several persons got injured. Eyewitnesses said that intensity of the blast was so high that windows panes of several nearby houses were smashed while a number of parked vehicles were also damaged. They added that the blast victims were immediately shifted to Patel, Liaquat National and Aga Khan hospitals.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Raja Umer Khattab of CID Sindh has led suspicion upon banned outfits Lashker-i-Jhangvi (LJ) or Jundullah behind the explosion.Superintendent of Police (SP) Rao Anwaar Ahmed of Gadap Division said that on receiving information a heavy contingent of police moved to the scene and cordoned off the spot to preserve evidence. The blast victims were shifted to various city hospitals by the police and locals, he added.

SP Anwaar said that due to terrorists threat they had already adopted security measures and had installed two barriers and a security check-post around the Mustafa Imambargah. He added that as the ‘Masjlis’ started at the Imambargah they deployed the personnel for checking.

It seems that the terrorists failed to find a way to reach the Imambargah and parked the motorcycle in the busy market of Abbas Town due to which three people succumbed to their injuries at Patel Hospital while rest were stable in condition. Moreover, three shops and two vehicles were damaged in the explosion.

He added that terrorists had planted the bomb in a motorcycle KFE-5038.He said that according to an initial report by the Bomb Disposal Squad the weight of the bomb is about 5 to 6 kilogrammes and the terrorists had used remote-controlled device to detonate the locally made explosives carrying ball-bearings.

Moreover, the police had also called the bomb disposal squad and forensic experts to preserved the evidences. Police sources said that they had found the engine of the motorcycle used in the blast. The two-wheeler was registered on May 24, 2011, in the name of Khwaja Naeem, a resident of Al-Noor Society, Block-19, Federal B Area, they added.

The police had also raided the said address but couldn’t find any person with the name of Khwaja Naeem there.They added that they were also trying to check whether any Close Circuit Camera was installed in the area so that they could make sketches of suspects behind the blast.

After the explosion, residents and mourners present at the Imambargah came onto the roads and protested against the law enforcers, demanding arrest of the culprits.Moreover, power supply in Abbas Town was shut after the explosion and the law enforcers faced difficulties to enter the area and collect evidences.

According to various hospitals sources, three people identified as Azhar Hassan, Mohammed Haider and an unidentified man were died at Patel Hospital while 15 others were injured. The wounded include two women Ms Saleh Fatima and an unidentified lady besides five Rangers personnel. Two of the injured Rangers men were identified as Sepoy Shafiq and Lance Naik Irfanullah.

The bodies were later taken to Ancholi Imambargah for funeral prayers. Talking to The News, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Raja Umer Khattab of CID Sindh termed the blast as remote-controlled, saying terrorists had used mobile SIM in the explosion. He added that according to preliminary investigation there might be involvement of LJ or Jundullah behind the explosion.

SSP Khattab said that earlier the banned outfits had used motorcycles in explosions between 2007 and 09 during the months of Moharram. He said that they had used motorcycles in various blasts, including Malir Halt explosion, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre’s parking lot blast and Lines Area incident. He added that in the recent blast in Bohri Market of North Nazimabad the similar pattern was used.

He added that the terrorists groups have changed their modus operandi of using snatched motorcycles as this time it seems that they have became financially strong and now they were using two-wheelers, which they had purchased from various markets.

The SSP said the terrorists usually plant bombs in the side pockets of motorcycle. He added that now terrorists were using mobile SIMs to detonate explosives by simply giving a call at the SIM attached with bomb.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardar has taken serious notice of the security laps resulted in the Abbas Town bomb blast, in which three people were killed and 15 others injured.

The president condemned the terrorist act and expressed grief over the killings.He directed the Sindh government to beef up security measures during Moharram in the city.The president phoned to Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and inquired about the incident and losses.

He also directed the provincial government to provide medical facilities to the injured.In the meantime, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) President Mian Nawaz Sharif also condemned the blast and expressed grief over the casualties in the terrorist act.

He demanded the arrest of culprits and those who were responsible for the security arrangements.Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad also condemned the terrorists act and sought report from the administration of the incident.

They also expressed grief over the killings of innocent people and directed the law enforcement agencies to take more security measures in the city. Provincial ministers Agha Siraj Durrani, Sharjeel Memon, PPP leaders Taj Haider, Waqar Mehdi, PML-N leaders Salim Zia and Nihal Hashmi also condemned the bomb blast.

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