KARACHI: Tuesday’s blast at Ayesha Manzil was the handiwork of a splinter group of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) settled in Manghopir, according to the investigators.
The bomb disposal squad experts said that similar motorcycle blasts have occurred in the city in the past — two of them took place near imambargahs in Abbas and Orangi towns during Muharram last year and another took place near the Chinese consulate in Clifton in July last year.
On Tuesday evening, as participants of the ‘Safar-e-Inquilab-e-Pakistan’ rally organised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Minhajul Quran International, were boarding their buses home, a bomb went off on a motorcycle and killed at least four people. Over 40 people were also injured in the explosion in Federal B Area.
Soon after the blast, the outlawed TTP Hakeemullah Mehsud group claimed responsibility of the attack, but investigators believed that the plan was executed by TTP’s splinter group in Karachi, which is being operated by its Ameer, Sher Khan, from Manghopir, Sultanabad, Kunwari Colony, Pirabad and Sohrab Goth.
“The TTP has several splinter groups in Karachi, but the one in Manghopir is the strongest,” said Crime Investigation Department’s Anti-Extremist Cell (AEC) chief SSP Chaudhry Aslam Khan. “It is most likely that they were assigned the duty to plant the bomb at Ayesha Manzil.”
Investigators admitted that TTP militants have become active in Karachi. Earlier during Ashura, an alleged TTP militant, Gul Muhammad Mehsud, was killed and an alleged mastermind of the Abbas and Orangi towns blasts, Ataullah, was arrested after an encounter with the Anti-Extremist Cell (AEC) of the Crime Investigation Department. Several other members of the Sher Khan-led TTP group have been arrested and are currently in Central Jail, Karachi.
SSP Khan told The Express Tribune that the accused, Ataullah, confessed during interrogation that his group members have an expertise in installing bombs on motorcycles. “We will interrogate the TTP suspects in custody and that will surely help us solve this case,” he said.
The Gulberg police have registered an FIR No. 1/13 under sections 302, 324, 427 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 3/4 of the explosives act and 7 of the anti-terrorism act against unidentified men on behalf of a victim Tayyab’s brother, Shamsul Haq, said SHO Tariq Baig.
Gulberg division SSP Amir Farooqui agreed that TTP Manghopir could be involved in the attack but he refused to confirm this until the investigations are completed.
According to an official at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, most of the injured were released from the hospital after treatment, and only 11 injured were still hospitalised. He said that there are out of danger.
The MQM called a day of mourning on Wednesday but business activities stayed normal. Shops did close down in neighbourhoods where the funerals of the blast victims were held.
Tayyab’s funeral prayers were offered at Rehmat Chowk in Orangi Town and he was buried later at the Ghaziabad graveyard. Another victim, Rehan, who lived in Surjani Town was laid to rest in the New Karachi graveyard, while the bodies of two more victims, Talib and Hashim, were sent to their hometowns.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2013.