After 28 days and countless tests at two forensic laboratories, it has been established that explosives were indeed used in the blast outside the Cantt railway station.
“Around 20 types of chemicals usually used in making dynamites, fireworks, detonators and homemade bombs were used,” Sindh police forensic division chief AIG Munir Sheikh told The Express Tribune.
On December 29 last year, six people were killed and at least 50 more were wounded as a powerful explosion ripped through a Sargodha-bound passenger bus. Investigators were confused about the nature of the blast as earlier it was attributed to a CNG cylinder and then to an air-conditioner compressor.
From the first day, the bomb disposal experts had believed it was a terrorist attack. The police even registered the case under anti-terrorism and explosives laws but were unable to find any reliable evidence.
The Federal Investigation Agency collected samples, including clothes and metal pieces, and sent them to a forensic laboratory in Islamabad. The Sindh police also sent some samples to the forensic division of the province.
The report from Islamabad ruled out any traces of explosives. The lab suspected, however, that fire fighters may have washed away evidence as they put out the blaze. Now the Sindh police forensic lab has apparently resolved the mystery, confirming the blast was a terror activity. “The samples were sent to two labs to confirm the cause [of blast] and then start investigation in the right direction,” the case investigation officer, Inspector Nazeer Hussain, said.
The police have to ascertain now whether it was a planted device or suicide bombing. “The explosion happened outside the bus as the passengers, driver and cleaner remained safe and all victims were pedestrians,” Hussain said. “The CCTV footage indicated somewhat that it was a suicide bombing.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2013.