Election violence: Five killed as Taliban target MQM in Karachi

A view of the site after a bomb attack on an MQM office in the Nusrat Bhutto Colony of Karachi. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN / EXPRESS

KARACHI / DI KHAN / QUETTA / FAISALABAD: 

Barely 48 hours after a bomb attack outside a Muttahida Qaumi Movement camp office on Tuesday, another bomb blast close to an MQM election office in the city’s North Nazimabad neighbourhood left five people dead, prompting the party to call for a day of mourning on Friday (today). 

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the explosion which occurred in the city’s Nusrat Bhutto Colony Chowk area. A similar assault outside an MQM office in Karachi’s Peoples Chowrangi on Tuesday killed four people and injured dozens more.

Police said Thursday’s attack was caused by an Improvised explosive device (IED) which was rigged to a motorcycle parked outside a dry-cleaner’s shop near the party office.

The targeted election office for NA-245 had been closed since Tuesday’s incident, but one of its shutters was still open and the victims were sitting on a pavement right outside.

All the deceased were activists of the MQM. They have been identified as M Bilal, Islamuddin, M Imran, Aadil Siddique and Ayub. Twelve people were injured in the blast and were shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where two are still in a critical condition.

According to the Bomb Disposal Squad, four to five kilogrammes of explosive material were used in the device, and BDS officials said the materials used in Tuesday’s and Thursday’s blasts were identical.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attack.  “This is in continuation of our policy to target three political parties, the ANP, MQM and PPP,” he said from an undisclosed location. “These attacks will continue,” he warned.

Day of mourning announced

Following the incident, the MQM’s Coordination Committee announced a day of mourning on Friday (today).

According to a press statement, the committee appealed to traders and transporters to suspend their activities, and directed workers across the country to hold special prayers for the victims.

The associations of private schools in Karachi also announced that they will keep schools closed on Friday, in view of the MQM’s strike call. Meanwhile, the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) again rescheduled three papers of its Matric general group students for Saturday.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain condemned the blast and expressed his sympathies with the victims’ families.

In a press statement, the MQM chief said that election campaigns are running only in Punjab. He said that the MQM, ANP and PPP were the target of militants, whose aim is to keep these parties away from polls.

Meanwhile, the MQM has postponed its rally in Nawabshah.

Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso ordered the police and law enforcement agencies to ensure safety of the citizens and arrest the culprits involved in the Karachi blast.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his brother former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif also condemned the attack.

Election violence continues

A wheelchair-bound activist of the PML-N was shot dead near his house in Model Colony, Karachi, on Thursday. Police said that 55 year old Raja Anees, who was the PML-N’s secretary information for PS 121, was sitting outside his house in a wheelchair when four unidentified armed men opened fire on him, fatally wounding him.

In a statement, PML-N Sindh Chapter President Ghaus Ali Shah condemned the murder, calling it a conspiracy to prevent the party from campaigning in Sindh.

Meanwhile in Faisalabad, two unidentified assailants fired upon and injured Farzana Tariq, the District General Secretary of the PML-N Women Wing.

According to police, Tariq was walking to Sitiana Road when men on motorcycles opened fire on her. She received bullet injuries in her leg and was immediately shifted to a hospital where she was said to be out of danger.

Meanwhile, a man was killed and another suffered injuries in a hand grenade attack on the office of PPP’s NA-260 candidate Sardar Umar Gorgage in Nushki.

Nushki Police head constable Waheed Ahmed told The Express Tribune that unidentified men riding a motorcycle hurled a hand grenade in the office of Umar Gorgage located on School Road. As a result, two people sustained serious injuries. The attackers escaped and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Zohaib
    Apr 26, 2013 - 3:24AM

    INSHALLAH MQM will prevail from all the kinds of suppression either from state or non-state actors. MQM has shown it before and they will do it again, no one can suppress our voice. our elders gave their lives for the independence of pakistan and we will give for the protection of Pakistan. INSHALLAH moderate forces will defeat right wing radicals in upcoming elections and we will built our nation on the model of Turkey and Malaysia

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  • Shaharyar
    Apr 26, 2013 - 3:43AM

    We all should condemn this ruthless behaviour of Taliban and why isn’t army taking any action against talibans spokesperson?

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  • Bilal
    Apr 26, 2013 - 4:05AM

    Absolute mayhem in this country.

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  • Pakistani Ostrich
    Apr 26, 2013 - 4:15AM

    Feel sorry for all the brave MQM and ANP candidates who are out there risking their lives for democracy. Only candidates that are safe from taliban/ttp terrorism is PTI candidates. Me thinks PTI-TTP bhai bhai.

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  • Caretaker
    Apr 26, 2013 - 4:46AM

    Such sadness all around. I dont know why this is happening in Pakistan. Things dont seem to changing any bit.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Apr 26, 2013 - 5:35AM

    The violence in Karachi is not new. It is being going on for a long time but the ‘Election Voilence’ is a new terminology which is now used, though the damage is no difference from the daily and routine voilence.

    TTP is playing leading role in destabilizing Karachi as well as the entire country.

    The question arises: why our Police and other law enforcement agencies have failed in arresting TTP terrorists and eliminating them from the grass root level?

    How long the ordinary and innocent people of Pakistan will remain becoming the soft target of TTP in Pakistan?

    Recommend

  • Tahir Ali
    Apr 26, 2013 - 5:56AM

    Sad but why close the city and schools .The economy as it is hurting.Small traders and daily wage earners are hurting.

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  • Randeep Sherpao
    Apr 26, 2013 - 6:35AM

    Elections are being celebrated through out Pakistan with bombs and bullets

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  • Obaid
    Apr 26, 2013 - 7:12AM

    I wonder how one would weigh Mr Tsunami Khan’s demand for pulling out the army from Waziristan in the midst of all this killing. Some PTI diehards would definitely be scraching their heads

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  • Raj - USA
    Apr 26, 2013 - 7:14AM

    IK should not think that if other parties are not able to do electioneering he could have a walk-over. It would be very disastrous for Pakistan. If other parties are not able to campaign or if the voter turnout is low, and consequently they loose the election. They shall not keep quiet. There will be riots after election and this could have serious consequences for Pakistan. Voter turnout should be as high as possible in order to avoid any riots later on.

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  • Max
    Apr 26, 2013 - 7:26AM

    How to get your guy to win in the elections? Get rid of the competition. Any word of an official press release from PTI or PML-N condemning these attacks? Not likely…..Recommend

  • Riaz
    Apr 26, 2013 - 7:51AM

    @Zohaib
    Never shall Pakistan become like Turkey. I dislike everything about Turkey. Kemal Ataturk it founder a was a member of a secret Jewish organisation called the young turks who destroyed the Caliphate. Turkey has turned its back on Islam.

    Recommend

  • Joe
    Apr 26, 2013 - 8:22AM

    On a average there seems to be a blast every day.
    Sad to see so many innocent people being killed.
    But not even one terrorist ever gets caught and hanged.
    That is really strange.

    Recommend

  • mkz
    Apr 26, 2013 - 9:28AM

    @Pakistani Ostrich:

    Are you serious? The PTI are apparently the only ones who havent angered the TTP yet. Nothing to do with alliances.

    Recommend

  • Snoop Dog
    Apr 26, 2013 - 11:08AM

    @Riaz:
    Professor, You really know your history.

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  • Apr 26, 2013 - 12:20PM

    Its all about UNKNOWN people!!

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  • Hassnain
    Apr 26, 2013 - 1:23PM

    @Obaid:
    Isn’t it strange that all these parties who are making hue and cry, have enjoyed the throne of Pakistan for last 5 years? These parties controlled the law enforcement agencies so why didnt they strengthened the security infrastructure? why is that the same alliance seeks to delay the elections which would be the biggest beneficiary since the presidential setup -which would continue in case of delayed election- comprised members of these parties.

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  • omair shahid
    Apr 26, 2013 - 2:25PM

    @Obaid:
    There is no other solution other than this for 8 years now we are fighting this war it’s getting worse day by day we are just pointing fingers

    Recommend

  • Apr 26, 2013 - 5:41PM

    One too many times we see people overlooking the obvious culprits who are clearly working to disrupt nation’s peace and order. The upcoming elections in Pakistan have once again pulled the lid off their hidden and dangerous motives against the nation. TTP’s dangerous objectives are being exposed to the whole nation. Those who still choose to side with conspiracy theories should take a deep look into these incidents and realize who poses a threat to the region’s stability. At a time, when the nation is celebrating civilian government’s first completion of its 5 years term, these terrorists are diligently focused on sending the nation into chaos. We encourage the nation of Pakistan to stand behind its government and support their counter measures. We hope to build on our improving relationship and work together to curb this menace from the region. We condemn all violence targeting political candidates and leaders in Pakistan. And we hope to see free and fair elections with a peaceful power of transition.

    Ali Khan

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  • Apr 26, 2013 - 7:36PM

    Election shall be held on time. TTP’s strategy will be to create panic near several polling booth or in MQM/ PPP’s stronghold area by bomb blasting so that people get scared to cast votes.

    However attacking the candidates/ leaders of these parties (by TTP) will help them to gain sympathy votes.

    Recommend

  • Obaid
    Apr 26, 2013 - 7:51PM

    @Hussnain

    My friend just because I express my criticism for a political party, it does not imply any support for the other parties. If I find any proposition, agenda or policy to be against Pakistan’s national interest I have a right to criticize it. As simple as that

    Recommend

  • Obaid
    Apr 26, 2013 - 8:03PM

    @ omair shahid

    So how do you think calling back the army would help restore peace? The Taliban want nothing less than everything and we can’t give them anything more.

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Rizwan Ali
    Apr 27, 2013 - 8:21AM

    Very Sad , what happend.
    As per news, TTP said, PPP,ANP, MQM, these are on their hit list,
    What about, PML N, PTI
    Have they surrended against TTP ?
    Or Mukmuka …..

    Recommend

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