Karachi bombings

Security officials and media reports have tied both groups to India

May 19, 2022


Karachi has been facing a wave of terrorism unseen for several years, with a terrorist bombing every week for the past three weeks. The latest attack saw one woman killed and 12 people injured after an IED attached to a motorcycle exploded in Kharadar late on Monday. Early reports suggest the actual target was a police van that was passing through the area, although almost all of the victims were civilians, including at least one child. Investigators also believe that the bomb was similar to the one used in the recent Saddar bombing. That attack also appeared to be targeting security officials — a Coast Guard van was among the damaged vehicles.

Although no group took responsibility for the most recent motorcycle bombing, the earlier one was claimed by the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SLA), and both came on the heels of an attack at Karachi University, where a female suicide bomber killed three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani driver. That attack was claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a terrorist organisation engaged in a long-running violent separatist campaign targeting security officials, foreigners, civilians from other provinces, and even Baloch civilians who oppose their cause. The SLA is a less prominent group, although it does stand out because Sindhi nationalist groups have rarely been associated with the level of violence that Baloch separatists and the TTP employ.

Security officials and media reports have tied both groups to India. However, while this is well within the realm of possibility, given India’s long-running efforts to destabilise Pakistan, little evidence to illustrate the methods and level of support has ever been made public, leading to speculation about their funding and total strength. Unfortunately, we do have evidence that violent separatist groups continue attacking security officials and civilians alike, not just in the borderlands but in the heart of the country’s financial capital. Apart from the obvious human cost, with an economy in disarray, we can ill afford to let such incidents occur and spook potential investors.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2022.

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