At least four people were killed and over 40 injured on Tuesday evening when a powerful bomb went off in Karachi’s Federal B Area, less than half a kilometre from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) headquarters Nine-Zero.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the blast that took place soon after the conclusion of a rally organised by the MQM and Minhaj-ul-Quran International at Jinnah Ground in Azizabad. The MQM announced a day of mourning today (Wednesday).
The bomb attack occurred around 7pm, when participants of the “Safar-e-Inqilab-e-Pakistan” rally were boarding their buses to go back home. It damaged over half a dozen buses and coaches and smashed the windows of dozens of vehicles.
Several vehicles driving past the nearby Shara-e-Pakistan thoroughfare bumped into each other due to the panic caused by the explosion.
Scores of MQM workers reached the site after the blast, and shouted slogans against extremism.
Most of the victims belonged to MQM’s Orangi Town Sector.
A witness, who was also an MQM activist on security duty at the time, told The Express Tribune that there was no police or Rangers around for protection. “As usual, we were handling the security ourselves, but our focus is normally on making sure the buses get parked and traffic control,” Abdul Aleem said.
The explosives were planted in a motorcycle near the buses parked for the pick and drop service. A Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) official told The Express Tribune that around two kilogrammes of explosives were used in the bomb planted on a motorcycle.
“Ball bearings were also used to maximise casualties – fortunately, the motorcycle was parked between two buses … if they weren’t parked there the damage would have been far more extensive,” he added.
The BDS member also said that the evidence collected from the blast site suggested that it was remotely-triggered bomb and that the person who detonated it was present within a 100 metres distance.
TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attack. In a phone call to Peshawar-based journalists, he warned that it was “only the start” and that “more attacks will follow”. No case had been registered till the filing of this report.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2013.