KARACHI: Less than two weeks after armed men walked into a Telenor outlet and opened fire on employees, another telecommunication company was attacked. On Monday, a Mobilink outlet was targeted and an explosive device was used in the attack.
The outlet is located on Sher Shah Suri Road in the Hyderi area of North Nazimabad. It is just a few kilometers away from the Telenor outlet which was attacked last month. At around 1:05pm, two young men drove up to the outlet on a motorcycle and threw the device at it. Two security guards, Zafar and Younus, were wounded. They were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed hospital for treatment. The guards were critically injured as the device exploded very near to them. Two passersby were also injured in the attack. They were given first aid treatment at a private hospital and then discharged.
“I don’t know what they threw at the outlet, but the blast was of a very high intensity,” said a witness, Imran Ahmed. “One of the attackers was clad in shalwar kameez and the other was wearing a shirt and trousers. Nobody knows where they fled after the attack.” A heavy contingent of law enforcement personnel, including officers from the police and Rangers, were deployed at the site. The area around the outlet was cordoned off and traffic had to be diverted to other routes.
The explosion partially damaged the Mobilink outlet. Law enforcement agencies had their hands full as a crowd of people gathered in front of the outlet. District Central SSP Asim Qaimkhani said that the object used in the attack could either be a grenade or an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The police have also obtained footage from the CCTV camera installed at the outlet.
“The footage clearly reveals that two men drove up to the outlet on a motorcycle and lobbed something at it,” he said. “But we will require the help of experts to discern the facial features of the suspects and determine what the object actually was.”
Mobilink opened the targeted outlet four years ago. Representatives of the organisation said that the employees there did not have any personal enmity towards anyone. No extortionists had ever approached the outlet, nor had anyone received threats. “I can’t really comment on the attack,” said the manager of the outlet, Asfar Siddiqui. “I’ve already told the police whatever I knew. Now it is their job to track down and apprehend the suspects.”
The bomb disposal squad also inspected the site and said that it seemed like a hand grenade had been used. An official from the squad told The Express Tribune that a Russian-made RGD-5, weighing 65 grams, was used in the attack.
This is the second attack on an outlet of a telecommunication company within the span of two weeks. On December 23, two men entered a Telenor outlet and opened fire on the people who worked there. As a result, two people died and two others were wounded. No progress has been made in the case despite the fact that the law enforcers have been analysing the CCTV footage.
The owners of both telecommunication franchises said that they had no personal enemies, had never been harassed by extortionists or received any threats. SP Chaudhry Asad said that the attacks could be linked, but nothing can be said with certainty until the investigation is completed. The law enforcers investigating the case even warned that more franchises in the city could be targeted. An FIR has not been registered as yet.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2012.