KARACHI: One Pakistan Navy official was killed and four men injured when a time-bomb went off at 10.30 am outside the main gate of a naval base in Baldia Town on Thursday.
The bomb had been planted in a motorcycle, attached to its battery, police and navy officials revealed, adding that an unidentified man had parked the motorcycle outside the gate moments before it exploded. According to the officials of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), around 2.5 kilogrammes of explosive material had been packed inside the bomb, which had been triggered to explode with the help of a delay switch. The bomb exploded eight minutes after the delay switch was pressed, BDS officials revealed.
The resultant blast destroyed six motorcycles and claimed the life of 45-year-old Muhammad Zada, who was a head constable of the naval police. Sixty-five-year-old Salman Khan, a retired DSP, was injured along with ASI Badrul Islam, Masud Ahmed and an unidentified man in the blast. They were taken to the Civil Hospital Karachi.
“All I remember is a thundering sound,” an eye witness, who been talking to a friend when the bomb went off, told The Express Tribune.
Navy officials initiated an evacuation of the area soon after the blast and a branch of the National Bank of Pakistan, which is located near the gate of the base, was closed while customers remained inside the building after police officials believed that the bank may also be targeted in a follow-up attack. Soon after, the area was cordoned off and BDS officials arrived at the scene. Meanwhile, officials suspect that the attack was meant to take place inside the base.
“The attacker, however, was unable to enter the main gates,” DIG Iqbal Mehmood said, who was of the belief that the attacker may have considered using a suicide jacket to enter the premises of the base, but was unable to do so because of the security at the main gates.
Mehmood added that samples of blood, along with other evidence, were collected from the scene for DNA testing.
Officials speculate that the attack was meant for a Pakistan Navy arms depot that is located near the gate. Meanwhile, two suspects, Hasnain and Mumtaz, have been arrested and further investigations are underway, it was revealed. An FIR, however, had yet to be registered with the area police, Mauripur SHO Ali Haider revealed.
Post-blast security concerns
Security was beefed up at all bases of the Pakistan Armed Forces soon after the blast. Contingents of Rangers and police were deployed on roads that led to military bases and other “sensitive areas”.
Home Minister Dr Zulfikar Ali Mirza directed law enforcement agencies to tighten the security in Karachi, as well as other cities across the province. He called for additional checks and police patrolling and demanded that the accused be arrested as soon as possible with the help of intelligence agencies.
Mirza also directed CCPO Waseem Ahmed to set up a team to unveil the elements behind the attack. Government and private buildings, offices, airports, railway stations, bus terminals, shopping centres, commercial centres, financial institutions and parking lots must be secured against criminal activities, Mirza ordered.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 11th, 2010.