QUETTA/ KARACHI: Hand-grenade blasts – not fireworks – took place across Sindh on the eve of Pakistan’s Independence Day, while security forces killed five suspected militants planting a bomb on a railway track in Bolan.
In Karachi, at least two people, a woman and child, were killed and 40 others were injured when hand-grenade explosions took place at the Karimabad Jamaat Khana and the Metroville Jamaat Khana in SITE, on Tuesday.
At Karimabad, the hand grenade was hurled from outside the main entrance at 7:15 pm – 15 minutes before the evening prayer. The site of the blast was the front lawn, an area designated for women and children. The explosion caused some infrastructure damage, including shattered glass windows.
Meanwhile, Karachi City Police Chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo said that none of those injured in the blasts were in a critical condition and therefore, the death toll was not expected to rise. Thebo added that the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi nexus was suspected to be responsible for the attacks, because similar threats had been issued by outlawed militant organisations last year.
The police chief explained that the TTP issued a warning letter to the Aga Khan Foundation regarding death sentences of two convicts, Attaullah alias Qasim and Mohammad Azam alias Sharif. Both were to be executed on June 26, 2012, in the murder case of Dr Ali Raza Pirani.
A member of the Aga Khan community had served as a key witness in the case. Earlier, President Zardari had put a stay on their execution but black warrants for both convicts had been re-issued recently.
He added that police was looking into the possibility of the organizations having carried out the attack to harass and intimidate the Aga Khan community, as the prisoners were scheduled to be hanged soon.
Similar blasts across Sindh
At least 12 hand-grenade explosions took place in different cities across the province, including Hyderabad, Larkana, Dadu and Mehrabpur. No casualty was reported. The Karachi City Police Chief said that unlike the Karachi incidents, these blasts were allegedly conducted by nationalist parties who wanted to give an anti-state message on the eve of Independence Day.
Five ‘militants’ killed
In Balochistan, security forces exchanged fire with suspected militants, killing all five of them, in district Bolan on Tuesday night. According to officials, the alleged militants were planting explosive material on a railway track in the Kumbari Bridge area when Frontier Corps (FC) personnel opened fired at them.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.