Chehlum attacks: Karachi, Lahore hit again

Published: January 26, 2011

Security officials gather around the wreckage of a vehicle at the site following a suicide bomb blast in Lahore on January 25, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

Security officials gather around the wreckage of a vehicle at the site following a suicide bomb blast in Lahore on January 25, 2011. PHOTO: AFP A paramilitary soldier (L) stands beside the wreckage of a police van after a motorcycle bomb blast in Karachi on January 25, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI / LAHORE: Terrorists targeted mourning processions marking the Chehlum of the martyrs of Karbala in Lahore and Karachi within two hours on Tuesday, killing at least 17 people and wounding scores more, officials said.

In Lahore, a teenage suicide bomber attacked the first cordon of police which was set up to monitor the queue towards Karbala Gamay Shah where the Chehlum procession was to culminate.

Thirteen people, among them three policemen, were killed and at least 80 wounded ­ over 15 of them critically.

Two police vehicles and a car were also damaged in the attack. An emergency was declared in government hospitals throughout the city.

Constable Nadeem Akhtar, driver of DSP Imran Karamat’s damaged vehicle, told The Express Tribune that the attacker was aged 14 to 15 years and was carrying a briefcase.

He was stopped by security personnel for jumping the queue when he blew himself up, Akhtar said. The DSP, he said, was safe as he had left the spot a few minutes earlier.

Lahore Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Rao Sardar Ali said that the severed head and torso of the suicide bomber were recovered from the site and sent to the Mayo Hospital for identification. Ali said the attacker was carrying a bag laden with explosives.

According to Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) official Allahyar, high-intensity explosives, weighing at least four kilograms, were used in the attack.

Lahore police chief Aslam Tareen said policemen had warded off greater losses by stopping the attacker at the outer check-post.

Following the blast, security was tightened around the procession and at the Data Darbar shrine where thousands of devotees were participating in the annual Urs celebrations.

Senior adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Zulfiqar Khan Khosa condemned the blast and visited the Mayo Hospital to meet the injured. Chairperson of the Sunni Ittehad Council Sahibzada Fazal Karim announced a countrywide protest on January 28.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, in his condolence message, said the entire nation is proud of the police officials who laid down their lives in the line of duty.

Hours after, an alleged suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a police van, killing four and injuring 15 others.

According to officials, the attacker was targeting buses carrying the mourners but the buses had already passed by the route.

As the city panicked, security was put on high alert and an emergency was declared in

all hospitals. Massive traffic jams were reported in various parts of the city, including on Shahrah-e-Faisal.

Investigators recovered a severed head from the crime scene which they believed was of the alleged suicide bomber.
However, as families of the deceased arrived at the scene, they identified the head as that of police constable Kamran. SI Raja Nawaz also confirmed that the head is the police constable’s.
The motorcycle used in the attack was completely damaged.

A contingent of rangers, police and the BDS also reached the site but a report is yet to be submitted. Neither the po lice nor the BDS were willing to disclose anything about the intensity, weight and type of explosives used. “I am not in a position to state anything,” BDS Sub-Inspector Nasab, who inspected the site, told The Express Tribune. “We are trying to ascertain the intensity, weight and type of explosive. We are also searching the area for body parts of the bomber.” On the other hand, East Zone Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Commandant Shaukat Ali Shah said that nothing could be said until investigations were complete but said the attack was a suicide bombing.

Shah, however, insists that the head found belongs to the suicide bomber. “The bomber was carrying an explosive-laden bag. He wanted to hit the buses carrying mourners returning from the procession to Malir, Jafar Tayyar Society and Khaimae-Abbas. Fortunately, police intercepted him upon which he rammed his motorcycle into the police mobile,“ Shah said.

The deceased policemen have been identified as ASI Mushtaq, Head Constable Kamran and constable Imran, while the passerby was named Kashif. The policemen were called from the Razzakabad Training Centre for security duty.

Crime Investigation Depart ment (CID) SP Investigations Mazhar Mashwani said that pallets were used in explosives.

However, a senior officer said on condition of anonymity: “We had serious threats during Chehlum and therefore we deployed a heavier security contingent in every part of the city,” he said. “I think Lashkar-e-Jhangvi might be behind the incident but nothing can be said with certainty.” Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has announced Rs2 million each for deceased policemen while Rs0.2 million for injured policemen.

Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sultan Sallahuddin Babar Khattak also visited the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center and announced promotions for the dead policemen. He also announced Rs0.1 million other than compensation for families.

JPMC Emergency Incharge Dr Seemin Jamali confirmed the death toll and said the victims sustained pellets on their bodies and some of them had head injuries and fractures.

One mourner Ali Mehdi who was on one of the buses of mourners told The Express Tribune that the suicide bomber wanted to hit their bus with his motorcycle but he hit the motorcycle with the police van when he was intercepted.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • faraz
    Jan 25, 2011 - 9:32PM

    Our strategic assets have struck againRecommend

  • MN
    Jan 25, 2011 - 9:43PM

    Our ministers including the Premier, in their shells “strongly condemn” these acts and then go to sleep!!! eat chicken, drink Coca Cola and burp… God is there to save Pakistan!!!!Recommend

  • asad
    Jan 25, 2011 - 10:00PM

    We should achieve strategic depth in Afghanistan. That will stop all this…right?Recommend

  • Jan 25, 2011 - 10:13PM

    If TTP “regrets” the loss of civilian lives then why does it make sure that it attacked any and every Shia procession?Recommend

  • Sadae-Mazlomen Pakistan
    Jan 25, 2011 - 11:39PM

    Sadae-Mazlomen Pakistan strongly condemn this terrorism act & attack on innocent people of Pakistan. This act will possibly be backed by some unknown enemies of unity of Muslims in Pakistan. SM-Pak consider this attack on Azadari Jaloos in Lahore and Azadar’s bus in Karachi as lame activity of Terrorists that can not see peace in the country.

    Sadae-Mazlomen Pakistan
    IslamabadRecommend

  • Noor Lodi
    Jan 25, 2011 - 11:48PM

    We can thanks Saudi Arabia bringing Pakistan to where it is. They have been funding the madarsas and the anti-shia contingency in Pakistan. Exporting hatred to us. All to keep Iran in check.

    Saudi’s are not friends, they are enemies of Pakistan. Sooner we realize the better we will be.

    As per these extreme Sunni & Shias. Please go at each other. Kill each other faster so that we can get it done and over with. Neither you will live, nor will your hate philosophy.

    Please kill, kill and kill more of each other extreme elements and do it faster. No need to wait for Muharram. Just do it everyday. Recommend

  • I.A
    Jan 26, 2011 - 12:47AM

    When the head is corrupt, the body is full of lies and deceit, conspiracies arise – investigation teams are formed and results are fruitless. A pity really that Pakistan is despot of corruption, one man can change the world. For a country filled with beauty; natural, cultural and historically it’s really a shame that we destroy ourselves. A pitiful case indeed, and God only helps those who help themselves. Recommend

  • Ali Xaidi
    Jan 26, 2011 - 2:49AM

    @Imran

    As you know Shia Muslims are infidels(Kafir) in views of Extremist Wahabi’s thats why they are first target to them then Sunni’s who visited to Shrines are on 2nd because they are also Mushrik in their views. You can see program of Kamran Shahid on Express T.V where Mr. Ludhyanvi ( Head of Banned Terrorist Organization Sipah e Sahaba ) showing book where Fatwa of Mullah’s declaring Shia’s as Infidel.

    This is shameful. How can media allow this type of person on T.V ?Recommend

  • 2 hours ago
    Jan 26, 2011 - 6:09AM

    Yet Another terrorists blow him self for 72 virgins. .rip innocent pplRecommend

  • MilesToGo
    Jan 26, 2011 - 7:07AM

    Does Taliban have right fight for their right to practice their interpretation of Islam freely? Do they have right to fight opression of pak army and a right to fight for their homeland…Recommend

  • Farooq
    Jan 26, 2011 - 9:16AM

    Ulema should get united and urge their followers to stop killing on roads in Pakistan on the name of Islam. This had badly tarnished the image of our country and religion both. I dont think Political leaders enjoy such power as the Ulema.Recommend

  • Jan 26, 2011 - 10:28AM

    Shame on those who are disturbing the peace of country.Recommend

  • SA
    Jan 26, 2011 - 10:28AM

    Why would TTP regret he loss of civilians when its behind every attack on minorities?Recommend

  • PakiBoy
    Jan 26, 2011 - 10:34AM

    Why would someone who isnt mentally challenged even begin to think of attacking ppl who are actually mourning the death of their Imam and his holy companions. These ppl who attacked yesterday would have belonged to Yazid’s Army if they existed then. But, since, these sick idiots couldnt get their hands on the holy souls they are now targeting those who tend to follow them and mourn on his unlawful killing. These extremist or rather kafirs should be hanged till death, coupled with their supporters. Any other punishment wont be justified.Recommend

  • abdullah
    Jan 26, 2011 - 10:44AM

    the gov does nothing ..but the ppl can by not going in2 such gatherings atleast 4 a year let things get under control..i dont think so that they should hold such gatherings….or the other way is 2 go in an open ground with security all around..within the city talibans will attack as its easy 4 them….i know ppl will feel bad 4 what i have said but go and ask the family members of those who have lost their lives………………we mis our prayers most of the day which is the imp part but in such gatherings we get down 2 streets which is not imp and risk our livesRecommend

  • Razi
    Jan 26, 2011 - 11:09AM

    It is very much OK. What happened with 3 of Khulfa e Rashdeen (ra)? What happened with Hazrat Fatima? What happened with Imam Hussain?
    What Umvi and Abbasis did with religion in last 1400 years?

    So nothing new. It is a continual process. Imam Hussain said, “Every day is Ashora and Every land is Karbala”, TRUE.Recommend

  • critic
    Jan 26, 2011 - 11:36AM

    strategic death. shame on all those who cooked this strategy up. you people are the real killers.Recommend

  • PakiBoy
    Jan 26, 2011 - 11:53AM

    Sad!Recommend

  • Indian Shia
    Jan 26, 2011 - 12:46PM

    I strongly condemn these targeted killings. Pakistani Deobandis are vitiating the whole atmosphere. I wonder when the Shias and Ahmediyyas would be left to live in peace….Recommend

  • Jan 26, 2011 - 1:01PM

    and these HADITHERS call themselves MUSLIMS!!!Recommend

  • Jan 26, 2011 - 6:06PM

    RIP.

    A full fledge operation with combing out of illegal residents is required. Recommend

  • num10
    Jan 26, 2011 - 7:31PM

    This is horrifying Recommend

  • Salman
    Jan 26, 2011 - 9:01PM

    @ Noor Lodi: A slight addendum to what you said: We were and continue to be recipients of American aid. They wanted us to fight the Soviets for their own interest. They inducted Saudis and other Gulf Sheikdoms to cough up the aid money to us. And here we are, 30 years later: in a mayhem so badly disfigured that it is hard to recognize ourselves. “He who pays the piper; calls the tune.” This is what happens to nations when they lose their sovereignty. God had blessed us with a wonderful nation and we made a basketcase out of it. Question is, how do we get out of it?????? Recommend

  • Noor Lodi
    Jan 26, 2011 - 10:51PM

    @Farooq:

    Ulema are the ones preaching hate. There say one thing in public and another in private. There may be exceptions out there but then these sane Ulema’s have no power. They will be killed for their sane views. Look what happened to Ghamdi. The most sane and balanced voice, has been driven out of Pakistan.

    90% of what we call Islam in Pakistan is not Islam. Recommend

  • Shehzad
    Jan 27, 2011 - 1:50AM

    @MilesToGo:

    yes they do, in the national assembly. with their words, not their bombs.Recommend

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