A bomb explosion inside a house in Ibrahim Hyderi fishing village on Saturday killed one suspected terrorist. Several other suspects were also arrested from the site.
The police claimed that the terrorists belong to a nationalist party and were preparing bombs to damage railway tracks in the city. It was during the preparation of one such explosive that Zulfiqar Kolachi lost his life. His accomplices, Saddaruddin, Fazal Din and Ismail Kolachi were injured while Faisal and Mobin Ahmed Shar were caught trying to escape. A total of five men have been held.
Police officials said, however, that they are trying to verify their identities as the suspects may be using fake names. SP Investigation Arshad Kamal Kayani described Faisal and Mobin as being between the ages of 25 and 30.
“Activists of the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) were running this office or ‘bomb factory’ in a rented house,” Crime Investigation Department (Investigations) SP Mazhar Mashwani told The Express Tribune. “We have also found the portraits of JSMM’s chief Shafi Burfat and other literature from the house.”
“The explosive material went off when one of the terrorists lit a cigarette,” said the newly appointed Sindh Inspector General Fayyaz Leghari. “They [terrorists] were making a bomb apparently to target railway tracks and any other installations,” he told The Express Tribune.
During interrogations, the suspects disclosed that they were making ‘cracker-bombs’ to blow up railway tracks on Monday, March 7, said East Zone DIG Commandant Shaukat Shah. “According to the instructions of our ‘chief’, the ‘cracker-bombs’ had to be handed over to other terrorists so that they could use them to complete the mission,” Shah quoted the suspects.
The explosives used were similar to the materials used in recent attacks, the DIG admitted. He added that the recent attacks on railway tracks across Sindh and the mysterious suicide attack in Bin Qasim Town, four days ago, appear to have strong links.
The Bomb Disposal Squad refused to share more details except that the explosion was of low intensity. “We cannot give more details but the explosives appear to be the same as those in recent attacks.”
The 60-square-yard house, where the explosion took place, is located on a narrow street in Juma Goth, Korangi No. 5. It collapsed during the explosion. The law enforcers cordoned off the area but no other major arrests were reported.
According to neighbours, the suspects were living in this house for the past five to six months. Bin Qasim Town SP Tanvir Alam Odho said that the owner of the house gave it on rent through an estate agent and that the investigators are trying to trace his whereabouts.
A few people admitted that they found these men suspicious but no one complained to the police. “All kinds of people are living here. How can we keep our eyes on everyone,” asked one resident. “We were doubtful but we had no idea that they would be terrorists.”
Others blamed the law enforcers. “What are the intelligence and law enforcement agencies doing? Who would have taken responsibility if these terrorists were successful in their mission?”
The case was not registered till the filing of this report.
JPMC emergency ward
A policeman waited patiently with handcuffs as blood streamed down the face of Ismail, the 32-year-old suspect, who was injured in the bomb blast. “I was told by an acquaintance that I could get some work at a place. I entered this house, darkness descended and there was a blast,” he whispered in Sindhi to investigators.
“He is spinning yarns to the police,” scoffed a Rangers officer. These men were standing in the emergency wing of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. Another police officer added, “The house they were in is apparently filled with explosives!”
Ismail sustained injuries on his arms and legs and his face had swollen gruesomely from the impact of the blast. “Please call my brother,” he implored doctors while they asked him to move his hands and legs.
As doctors assured Ismail he would be fine, Saddaruddin, the 35-year-old who was also injured, tried to cover himself with a sheet. “Don’t open your eyes,” urged an investigating officer. “Just talk.”
The injured were being shifted into a ward and will be in police custody. Zulfiqar’s body was taken to the hospital morgue.
The head of JPMC’s emergency wing, Dr Seemin Jamali, told The Express Tribune that the injured men were not in critical condition. “They have abdominal injuries, as well as burns and lacerations on their arms and legs.”
Even though Dr Jamali said that “for now, we have stopped the police from taking their statement until they are treated”, police officers and investigators milled around the men.
“What’s his name?” asked one man to a police officer, pointing to one of the stretchers. “Who are you?” retorted the officer. “I’m from the investigation team,” he said, and the two guffawed over the lack of proper introductions.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2011.