In an attack reminiscent of the Kohistan carnage, gunmen on Friday massacred seven passengers of a bus travelling to Swabi district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Three passengers were also wounded in the grisly assault that took place in Qazi Ahmed taluka of Shaheed Benazirabad district.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but police have blamed the Sindhu Desh Liberation Army (SDLA), an insurgent group which has been fighting for a separate country for the Sindhi people.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sardar Khan Chandio said that they have found SDLA pamphlets at the crime scene.
Lal Khan, the second driver of the bus, told reporters that a passenger, who had boarded the bus in the Sakrand area, asked the driver to stop at Rani Shakh for a while, where his brother was waiting.
“When we stopped, five to six gunmen barged into the bus and opened indiscriminate fire. Later, they fled on motorbikes,” Khan said.
“As they entered, they asked five people to stand up. They first shot Ustaad Haji Sahib (the bus driver) and then Maulana,” said Nadeem, the cleaner of the bus.
According to witnesses, the gunmen chanted slogans that they have avenged the May 22 attack on the Awami Tehreek rally in Karachi.
Other witnesses, however, said that the gunmen said they were taking revenge for the murder of Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz leader Muzaffar Bhutto, whose body was found in Hyderabad on Friday, 15 months after he went missing.
The bus cleaner added that it did not appear to be an ethnically-motivated attack. “They didn’t ask about anyone’s ethnicity. They climbed up and opened fire and fled while chanting slogans.”
Five of the passengers died on the spot, two others succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. According to Medical Superintendent of Qazi Ahmed Taluka Hospital Qadir Khanzada, the victims were shot in the head and chest.
CM takes notice
Condemning the attack, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah sought an inquiry report of the incident from the provincial police chief.
The chief minister said that it was wrong to draw parallels between the bus attack and the firing on Awami Tehreek’s rally. “There is no similarity between the two incidents,” he added.
The deputy inspector general of police, Hyderabad Region, Sanaullah Abbassi, said the “They didn’t ask about anyone’s ethnicity. They climbed up and opened fire and fled while chanting slogans.”
Five of the passengers died on the spot, two others succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. According to Medical Superintendent of Qazi Ahmed Taluka Hospita Qadir Khanzada, the victims were shot in the head and chest.
The deputy inspector general of police, Hyderabad Region, Sanaullah Abbassi, said the police have detained seven suspects in connection with the incident. He told reporters that at least 25 bullet casings were found at the site of the attack. “The attackers fired inside and from outside the bus,” he said.
Nationalists condemn attack Sindhi nationalists denounced the attack as a conspiracy to sabotage their peaceful struggle.
“This has been carried out by local agents of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the CIA and RAW,” Ayaz Palijo of the Awami Tehreek, who led the ‘Mohabbat-e-Sindh’ rally in Karachi alleged at a news conference in Shaheed Benazirabad. He added that the attack was an attempt to overshadow the May 22 carnage in Karachi.
Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party’s Dr Qadir Magsi alleged that the perpetrators of the bus attack were the same ones who had orchestrated the recent killings in Karachi and dumped Muzaffar Bhutto’s body in Hyderabad.
“We demand a high-powered commission of Supreme Court judges to probe all these incidents,” he added. Niaz Kalani, the acting leader of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, also said that the killings were a conspiracy to undermine their peaceful political struggle.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2012.
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ethnicities are dividing the muslims in pakistan, make islam stronger, it is the only glue that can hold pakistanis together.
Mr.Ayaz Latif Palejo will be loosing further his "credibility " ( if any ) as a so called leader after this absurd and laughable " claim " .