Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by a suicide bomber at a railway level crossing, Saryab Pattak, on Tuesday. The blast left ten people, including five police personnel from the CM’s motorcade, injured.
“It was a suicide attack and only the bomber was killed in the blast,” Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani told The Express Tribune.
Newly emerged Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami claimed responsibility for the attack. Its spokesperson, who introduced himself as Abdullah Jhangvi, phoned the Quetta Press Club from an unspecified location and vowed to carry out such attacks in the future as well. However, the banned religious outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi denied targeting the CM’s motorcade.
The CM was on his way to Balochistan Assembly from his residence Sarawan House when the bomber struck. The CM managed to escape unhurt as his vehicle passed through the site seconds before the blast.
“The attacker might have been waiting along the wall on the railway track and struck the convoy as soon as it reached there,” CCPO Quetta Abid Notkani said.
According to the bomb disposal squad, three kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the blast that damaged two official vehicles.
The injured were initially rushed to Sandeman Hospital and later referred to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) for specialised treatment. Two of the injured are stated to be in critical condition according to hospital sources.
The head and legs of the suicide bomber were recovered from the scene. “The attacker looks like an Uzbek and his identity would be ascertained through a DNA test,” said the home secretary, adding that the organisation who claimed responsibility is new and no one knows about it.
Four teams have been formed to investigate the attack under the supervision of CCPO Quetta, Crime Branch, CID and FIA respectively.
The CM reached Balochistan Assembly safely in another vehicle and attended the session.
“It was an assassination attempt and whosoever is involved, I believe they are locals,” Nawab Raisani told reporters. Referring to the attack on Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi last week, he said that some elements appear to be pushing the Baloch people towards civil war.
Referring to the attackers, Raisani said the government and tribal figures “would not kill them but hold them accountable for these heinous crimes.”
Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi, who escaped a remote controlled bomb attack in Mongechar area last week, strongly condemned the attack.
“We, Nawab Raisani and Nawab Magsi, are Baloch tribal elders and if someone attacks us, we will retaliate and take action against them at the tribal level,” he said, adding that while “foreign elements are sponsoring the miscreants, those who are carrying out attacks are locals and our own people.”
Meanwhile President Asif Ali Zardari, PM Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Chairman Senate Farooq H Naek and Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza have condemned the suicide hit.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2010.
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