Terror revisits Karachi: KMC commissioner survives bomb attack

Matanat Ali’s police guard dies; two suspected terrorists killed in separate blast.

Rescue workers and members of the media gather around the wreckage of the SUV transporting Metropolitan Commissioner Matanat Ali Khan. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS


Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Commissioner Matanat Ali Khan survived a bomb attack on Saturday – a day which also saw the killing of two suspected terrorists when a bomb they were making went off in a congested neighbourhood of the city.

The first blast took place shortly before Iftar near the Essa Nagri area on Sir Shah Suleman Road in the upscale Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighbourhood. Matanat Ali Khan, who is also the acting administrator of Karachi, was driving home to North Nazimabad from his office when the bomb went off near his SUV.

As a result, the acting administrator, his police guard Sohail Anjum Siddiqui, driver Haroon and a passerby, Yamin, were wounded. The commissioner was shifted to Aga Khan University Hospital while the other casualties were driven to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where Siddiqui expired during the course of treatment.

The official’s SUV was reduced to a mangled heap of metal in the blast that also damaged two motorcycles, two auto-rickshaws and shattered the windows of nearby buildings.

According to explosives experts, it was a remotely-triggered improvised explosive device (IED). “The bomb was planted in the fuel tank of a motorcycle parked along the road,” a Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) official told The Express Tribune.

He added that the device weighed four kilogrammes and contained around one kilogramme of ball bearings – designed to inflict maximum casualties.

Police are clueless about the target and motives of the attack. DSP Nasir Lodhi, while quoting the initial investigation, told The Express Tribune that SSP CID Chaudhry Aslam Khan’s escort was also passing the area at the time of the blast. “The target could be Chaudhry Aslam or Commissioner Matanat Ali. We are looking into both possibilities. But we will have to wait for the investigation to be wrapped up,” he added.

KMC officials condemned the attack and demanded that the government bring the culprits to book. “It is premature to say who detonated the bomb and why,” KMC’s media director Ali Hussian Sajid told The Express Tribune. “The commissioner received injuries to his leg but his condition is stable.”

Half an hour later, a powerful blast tore through a house situated on the top floor of a three-storey apartment building in the congested Patel Para neighjbourhood of Karachi.

Police speculated that the house was a hideout of suspected terrorists and the blast took place while they were making a bomb. Two suspected terrorists were killed in the blast which left a woman and two others injured.

“Undoubtedly, it was a terrorist hideout but we’re trying to find out which group they belonged to,” SSP Raja Omer Khattab, the chief of the Counter-Terrorism and Financial Crime Unit of the CID, told The Express Tribune.

The casualties were driven to the Civil Hospital where Medico-Legal Officer Dr Aftab Channar said one of the bodies was mutilated beyond recognition. He identified the injured as Uzma, Imran and Akram, the latter was in a stable condition.

Initial investigations showed that the 40-square-yard house belonged to Munawar, aka Munnu, a nephew of the Soldier Bazaar police station SHO, Raheemullah. He had rented it to a person, namely Matinullah, about two weeks ago.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.