Tension gripped Jacobabad as well as parts of Sukkur, after a caravan carrying a religious scholar and his family and followers was hit by a bomb on Wednesday.
Syed Ghulam Hussain Shah, a renowned cleric of Qambar Shahdadkot, was on his way to Ahmed Din Brohi village with his close family members and followers when the incident took place near Koreja Shakh, within Abad police limits around 3pm on Wednesday. Apart from the cleric, his grandson Shafiq Ahmed Shah, driver Imdad Hussain, and Bashir Golo, Hafiz Ghulam Shabbir Chandio, Manzoor Ahmed and Qurban were also injured. All of them were shifted to Civil Hospital Jacobabad, where Shafiq Ahmed succumbed to injuries. There were reports that Ghulam Shabbir Chandio was later moved to a hospital in Larkana in a critical condition. A heavy contingent of law enforcers rushed to the site after the incident and cordoned off the area. The religious scholar’s vehicle was entirely damaged in the attack, while the noise of the explosion was reportedly heard in nearby villages.
Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah condemned the incident, and ordered Larkana DIG to probe the attack and arrest the culprits.
Abad police SHO Ghulam Ahmed Brohi told The Express Tribune that he was himself escorting the cleric’s convoy when the blast took place. It was a remote controlled bomb, and was was planted in a stack of hay that was lying along the roadside. The cleric’s vehicle was the target, and the culprits must have pressed the button as soon as his vehicle was passing by, said Brohi. As a result, Ghulam Hussain’s vehicle bore the brunt of the explosion, while other vehicles in the caravan remained safe, added the Abad police officer.
SHO Brohi added that the law enforcers were searching for the culprits in nearby villages, and that they were hopeful that they would catch them soon. There were also reports that police had nabbed two suspects, and shifted them to an undisclosed location for interrogation. The exact motive for the incident could not be immediately determined, as the religious scholar himself was apolitical, and did not seem to have any personal enmity with anyone.
Protests break out
Meanwhile, religious activists blocked the National Highway, and the Babarloi Bypass in Sukkur, suspending road traffic between Sindh and Punjab. Activists also staged a sit-in at DCO Chowk in Jacobabad, and forced shops to close in the city.
Activists of the Hussaini Jamaat blocked the National Highway, suspending road traffic between Sindh and Punjab.
Markets in Hyderabad were also forced to shut down by groups of young men, who were firing in the air.
Sunni Tehreek activists also staged demonstrations in various areas. They blocked the Wadu Wah Road and staged a sit-in on the Nasim Nagar Chowk.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2013.
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