Little bombs, big noise

Express June 25, 2010

SUKKUR: Trains in railway stations across Sindh and Punjab were halted because of a series of low-intensity blasts in the province on Friday.

The railway system received rude shocks when four bombs exploded, one after the other, in Ghotki, Setharja, Sarhari and Kandhara. However, no casualties were reported. According to some reports, one unidentified person was injured in the last bomb that exploded at Kandhara.

The mysterious explosions started around 2:30 pm when two bombs went off at the Tando Phattak tracks near the Ghotki Railway Station. Even though the tracks were not severely damaged due to the low intensity of the bombs, the loud sounds spread panic and fear among residents. The only physical damage was to the nuts and bolts of the railway sleepers.

Following the incident, SP Hafiz Abdul Qadir Chachar and Ghotki SHO Akbar Channa arrived at the site, with Rangers and railway officials close on their heels. It was discovered that the mini-bombs had been planted beneath the railway lines. When they exploded they caused stones among the tracks to jut out.

The bomb disposal squad (BDS) was also called to the site. The BDS in charge, Malik Tahir Mahmood, supervised a check along a radius of one kilometre from the bomb site, however, no other explosives were found.

According to Mahmood, the bombs were of low-intensity and were home-made, containing just one pound of explosives. “If the bombs had contained crossing wires and a train was passing by at the time of explosion, there would have been more damage,” he said.

It seems that the main purpose behind the blast was to spread fear, the official added.

After the blasts, the Awami Express on its way to Ghotki and other trains at Mehesero, Sarhad, Panu Aqil, Rohri, Deharki, Mirpur Mathelo and trains at different stations in Punjab were instructed to halt. Meanwhile DPO Ghotki Saqib Ismail Memon told journalists that investigation was underway and those involved will soon be arrested.

The BDS soon gave clearance and trains were allowed to continue onto their destinations. An FIR was filed at the Ghotki Police station against unidentified persons.

However, this was just the first of the four explosions that spread fear throughout the province. Soon after, a loud explosion was heard at railway lines at Setharja, near Ranipur. The damage here was worse, with the tracks being destroyed near Koro Hisbani. Once again the brown-and-green scenery whizzing past was brought to a complete stop as passengers at different railway stations expressed misgivings and annoyance at the unscheduled interruptions.

According to railways officials, trains at Ranipur, Setharja, Sukkur, Rohri and other railway stations were asked to stop.

However, the railway lines were repaired quite soon after which the trains resumed their due course. But 15 minutes later, another bomb exploded at Sarhari near Nawabshah. The last of these bombs exploded at Kandhra near the Nara Canal railway lines in Rohri around 6 pm. Here the BDS found another bomb, which they effectively defused.

All the bombs were of low-intensity and had a similar make.

Published in The Express Tribune, June, 26th, 2010.


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