KARACHI: The Dawoodi Bohra community is shaken. Tuesday’s bomb blasts in Hyderi, North Nazaimabad have left the community elders wondering if their roots are coming back to haunt them.
The normally hustling bustling neighbourhood was deserted on Wednesday, a day after the twin blasts which left eight people dead and several more injured. With the nearby Dolmen Mall shut for the day, shopkeepers on the Syedna Burhanuddin Road, where the explosives went off, also pulled down their shutters.
“Shias across the country are being attacked these days and we were the target this time,” said Mohammad Ali standing just a few steps away from the scene of the crime.
Ali, like many of the men present there, believed that the banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was behind the attack. “The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi men are killing our people in the country. Everyone knows that but nothing is being done about it,” he said, as he put up a road barrier.
The entire place was cordoned off by wrought-iron barriers, as alert community members stopped curious people from venturing into the zone. While only a handful of police officers stood guard, the volunteers took the pains of keeping a watch on any suspicious movement.
“Outsiders cannot go beyond that point,” said a man pointing towards the residential apartments, mostly occupied by Dawoodi Bohra families. “We are not allowed to speak to the media.”
Some victims were the sole breadwinners of their families. Nooruddin earned his living by driving a Suzuki pickup to transport goods from the market.
His brother Abdul Hussain is in a state of shock, as he sits with other mourners in the compound of his apartment building. “What should I do? No one can bring my brother back,” said Hussain, who learnt about his brother’s death on the phone. “I haven’t yet decided what to do about it, whether to report a case, but the Jamaat would decide that,” he added referring to the leadership of the Dawoodi Bohra community.
On August 13, a Bohra man named Ismail had spotted a suspicious package in the same locality and informed the authorities. The police arrived and found a 25kg bomb, which was later defused. The same man was, however, one of the first ones to die on Tuesday when the first bomb exploded around 7:30 pm.
Of the eight people who were killed in the blast, six belonged to the Bohra community, including Ismail and his 11-month-old nephew. Around six of the child’s family members suffered injuries.
The bomb blast victims were laid to rest just hours after the tragedy struck. Their soyems would be held today (Thursday).
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2012.