KARACHI: At around 7:14 am on Friday, a roadside bomb exploded on main University Road near Safoora Chowrangi, injuring seven Rangers men, three of whom died shortly after.
The authorities claim that the Rangers were in their vehicle and on duty at their regular spot when the bomb went off nearly 15 feet away. They said that it was buried near a tree.
The Rangers were taken to Combined Military Hospital, Malir, where Naik Muhammad Rashid, Sepoy Muhammad Ibrahim and Sepoy Ijaz Ahmed succumbed to their injuries.
The blast not only damaged the Rangers mobile but blew all sorts of glass exteriors and windows in the area to smithereens.
The police suspect that the bomb could have been planted on Thursday night to disrupt the procession that was scheduled to pass through. However, the procession went ahead undisturbed. The Rangers claim that it was just another cowardly act by terrorists.
“The Rangers were their target, there is no doubt about it,” said Brigadier Waseem Ayub while talking to the media after the funeral. “You see, this had to happen given our performance in the last four months and the Ashura procession.” He felt that the people had planted the bomb purely out of frustration.
People in the neighbourhood said that the entire area was in shock after the blast because it was so powerful and was heard for miles. However, no one actually witnessed the explosion. “The injured Rangers just lay there screaming,” said a man while talking to The Express Tribune. “We took them to the hospital with the help of police and other Rangers.”
According to one 25-year-old man at the scene, a motorcyclist threw some sort of explosive materials at the Rangers. So far, the authorities have not confirmed this story.
District East DIG Naeem Borkha confirmed that three Rangers were killed and four more were injured. He added that no civilian was injured in the blast and an investigation was being carried out.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack by the time this report was filed, however the authorities believe that militants are to blame.
The investigators claim that evidence suggested a resemblance with the blasts which took place on 9th and 10th Muharram.
According to the brigadier, a terrorist group was behind the attacks and they were trying to figure out which one.
The funeral prayers were offered at the Rangers Bhittai wing and were attended by DG Rangers, IG Police and other officials.
Brigadier Ayub spoke to the media and said that eight Rangers were present when the blast took place. “The terrorists targeted our jawans when they were on duty,” he said. “At 8 am, the other shift was about to start. The terrorists must have planted the bomb at night.”
The law enforcement agencies were put on high alert while Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan said that the families would receive a compensation of two million rupees each and the injured would receive Rs0.2 million.
The Bomb Disposal Squad did not find any evidence which would help suggest what sort of device was used. An official from the squad said that they were trying to find out if the terrorists used a timer or a remote. Initial investigations showed that the bomb weighed 3.5 kilogrammes and could have had an impact for up to 84 square feet. The official added that the bomb was quite similar to the one used on December 5 and December 6. “They were all uni-direction bombs,” he said. “This means that they would only explode and cause damage in the direction they were kept or set in. The same group made all three bombs.”
About two years ago, a Rangers mobile was targeted near A O Clinic in Nazimabad. The blast left several Rangers injured and the police are said to have arrested some men from the Jundallah group for the attack.
FIR No. 808/11 under section 4/5 of the Explosives Act, section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code was registered at the Sachaal police station on behalf of the Rangers Inspector Sajjad.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2011.