Double jeopardy: Police say banned outfit to blame for Ashura blasts

Nearly 30,000 law enforcement agents were on duty during the processions.


Express December 07, 2011

KARACHI:


The authorities suspect that the two explosions on the 9th and 10th of Muharram were the work of a banned religious outfit. They added that the sound was not caused by a gas cylinder explosion as assumed earlier.


Initial investigations showed that al Qaeda or the Taliban were not involved. The investigators suggest that the suspects planned to target the Ashura procession.

Although the provincial government had deployed nearly 30,000 law enforcement agents to monitor the processions, the suspects had managed to plant and detonate two bombs on the route.

The first blast took place after the procession had passed through Abysinnia Lines on Monday night. At first, the police had suspected that it was a cylinder but the Bomb Disposal Squad suggested otherwise. According to Brigade SHO Jahangir Mahar, the squad had found explosive materials at the crime scene.

The second blast took place on Kala Pul at 11 am on Tuesday as people in a passenger bus were heading towards the main procession. Manzoor Hussain, Rasheed, Iftikar and Kaneez Begum were injured and taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. The explosion left a large crater in the middle of the bridge and has also damaged the bridge’s barriers. DHA DSP Zameer Abbasi had a theory that since the first explosion did not attract enough attention or cause maximum damage, they planted the Kala Pul bomb out of frustration.

The police claim that fortunately the bombs exploded at the wrong time and not much damage was done. “It is true, the terrorists were unsuccessful in achieving their goal,” said a senior police officer. “On the other hand, we must admit that we were also unsuccessful. If the bombs had exploded at the right time, there would have been a lot of damage.”

Both bombs exploded with a loud bang that were heard nearly six kilometres away.

Sources from the Bomb Disposal Squad said that both bombs were quite similar and were made by the same person. They added that the first bomb weighed between seven and eight kilogrammes while the Kala Pul bomb weighed nearly 3.5 kilogrammes and was controlled by a remote device.

Cases were registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act - at the Brigade police station, FIR No. 342/11 under section 3/4 of the Explosives Act, 1884 and section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and section 427 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on behalf of Fida Hussain, the caretaker of an imambargah. The Defence police have registered FIR No. 501/11 under section 3/4 of the Explosives Act, section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and section 324 of the PPC on behalf of the state.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2011.

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