2 internet cafés get blast ‘warning’

Published: July 18, 2010
Rescue officials, Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) teams and the police throng at the Garhi Shahu blast site. PHOTO: MEHMOOD QURESHI

Rescue officials, Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) teams and the police throng at the Garhi Shahu blast site. PHOTO: MEHMOOD QURESHI

LAHORE: Two internet cafes, in different areas of the city, were attacked on Saturday with low-intensity timed devices. The blasts, which were about four minutes apart, left seven people injured.

An organisation by the name of Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz-e-Haqooq-e-Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the ‘warning attacks’. Various media organisations received SMS messages just before the explosions. The messages, in addition to claiming responsibility for the blasts in the provincial capital, also pleaded with the government to “take steps to control the spread of vulgarity” and “not to test our patience”.

Four people were injured in the first blast that took place in Crown Internet Café, situated on the first floor of the Crown Arcade, Habibullah Road, Garhi Shahu. The injured were identified as Muhammad Awais (22), Hassan (22), Kashif (21) and Abduallah.

The second timed device went off at the Fast Internet Café at Begum Kot, Shahdara and injured three people, including Naveed Khan son of Aziz (35), Haider Ali son of Najaf Shah (24) and Atique Khan (40) son of Khalil Khan.

Both the cafes were completely destroyed as a result, with shattered glass scattering to a distance of up to 100 feet. All shops in and around the plazas were shut down after the blasts. After the blast, all the internet cafes on Garhi Shahu Road were closed.

Heavy contingents of police reached the sites of the blasts soon after the explosions and cordoned off the areas by placing barriers and erecting tents. Personnel of Rescue 1122, Edhi Foundation and Civil Defence helped with the rescue operations. The injured were shifted to Mayo Hospital and Services Hospital.

The Civil Defence district officer, Mazhar Hussain told The Express Tribune that each bomb had one kilogramme of low-yield explosives. He confirmed that no shrapnel or ball bearings were recovered from any of the sites, adding that the devices had been manufactured locally.

Initially, the city police had conjectured that the blasts were caused by exploding UPS batteries. Even though at both the blasts’ sites there was no evidence that pointed to exploding batteries, the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO), Muhammad Aslam Tareen remained unclear about the actual cause of the explosions – saying that it was hard to determine whether the blasts were caused by low-intensity time bombs or exploding batteries. The CCPO added that if timed devices were used, ‘local elements’ were probably responsible.

The Crown Arcade housing the internet café in Garhi Shau also has two art academies, two beauty parlours and a juice corner. The arcade is part of the Crown Banquet Hall, previously the Crown Cinema.

Mian Ahmed Meraj, the owner of Crown Arcade, told The Express Tribune that Amir, the owner of the internet café, had been his tenant since 20 years. Meraj said that they had never received any threats from terrorists.

He said that Amir was currently in India with his family and his brother Awais had been running the café, adding, “No objectionable activities took place in the café.”

The internet café in Shahdara was set up about two months ago and was located in the basement of a plaza. As a result of the blast, around 10 other shops on the floor were damaged. There were also reports of a passer-by, who was injured after she fell as a result of the explosion. However, she was administered first-aid at the scene and allowed to leave.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Jul 18, 2010 - 5:26AM

    One must go through the chronicle of the father of Mushfiq Khawaja edited by the son himself.In this minutes and resolutions of such meetings are on record,where it was resolved to “attack” the houses of Zanan e bazari.It has also been claimed that Poet of the East’s tacit support was there.Nazria Pakistan Trust is also a qabza group,but the style of expression of honourable Khawaja Sharif has been tailored by these nazriati nobles.Mansoora is also the supply depot of weapons and volunteers for mild/hard shots. Recommend

  • Jul 18, 2010 - 5:37AM

    So .. a new extremist faction — the Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz-e-Haqooq-e-Pakistan (TTHP). Al qaeda affiliated?

    With this name of “Huqood-e-Pakistan”, they should be fighting for the rights of Pakistanis; fighting against the corruption, unjust, intolerance, bigotry, fanaticism, and for the victim of unwarranted and unwelcome violence and terrorism. Such a hypocrisy!Recommend

  • Bunty
    Jul 18, 2010 - 6:57AM

    “No objectionable activities took place inside the cafe.”

    It is clear that the agenda is to talibanise us and send us back into the 7th centuryRecommend

  • Hamood
    Jul 18, 2010 - 8:49AM

    These medieval terrorists must realize that they cannot mess with Lahoris culture. Lahore has liberal culture and values for centuries. These Saudi influenced terrorists cannot change it by bombing it. Shame on Punjab government and Police though for staying asleep.Recommend

  • mussarat ahmedzeb swat
    Jul 18, 2010 - 9:54AM

    JI should we blame the blackwater or USA for the blasts?Recommend

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jul 18, 2010 - 11:16AM

    Terrorists and murderers wont stop until they get their ultimate objective – to create a nation that is devoid of any culture, governance, financial system, entertainment, education, foreign policy and institutions.. Just close your eyes and imagine a country where there are no banks, no education for girls, no female doctors, no working women, no tv, music or entertainment areas, women covered from head to toe and always in the company of a man, men with beards with shalwars up above the ankles, no cinemas or shopping centres, no constitution of pakistan and the justice system (except the sharia-law interpreted by a semi-literate 19 year old), no internet and religious police at every corner of the road telling you how to run your life… Those that think this is not possible, wake up and listen to any authenticated interview of a dozen odd leaders from TTP and all its affiliates. Pandering to them is a suicide for an independent, peace loving man and woman. We have 2 choices, either to fight these thugs and eradicate them by-force or negotiate with them thinking of them as our misguided brothers and keep giving them room to breathe and multiply. Either accept the above as reality and welcome third degree depression into the collective lives of all Pakistanis living under these draconian laws or wake up and fight this evil, hellbent on taking from us our liberty, our culture, our way of life and the whatever is left of our semi-open society.Recommend

  • Palvasha von Hassell
    Jul 18, 2010 - 4:25PM

    The agenda of the latest “Tehreek” cannot be, as one reader comments, to “send us back to the 7th century”, as Islam was a progressive and enlightened force back then against superstition and ignorance, but rather, to continue the attempt to equate Islam with Talibanization or its equivalents. This is what has to be resisted. It is important to see the difference.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jul 18, 2010 - 8:34PM

    @Anwaae Ahmed: Can you kindly elaborate when you say “poet of the east…? ThanksRecommend

  • Jul 19, 2010 - 12:48AM

    off course Allama Iqbal according to their claim.Recommend

  • Sadia Hussain
    Jul 19, 2010 - 6:25PM

    The attacks on internet cafes are a message from Taliban which is linked to the whole agenda of Talibanization. These attacks are a threat our social values of moderation the attacks on Data Darbar depict the narrow mentality of Taliban. These attacks must not deter our commitment as in Swat the locals abandoned their businesses we must stand firm against Taliban onslaught. Recommend

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