As the country came to a standstill following the brutal attack on the Ismaili community passenger bus, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed sadness over the attack, saying the attack is an attempt to spread divisions in the country.
“Ismailis are a very patriotic and peaceful people who have always worked for the wellbeing of Pakistan,” the premier said.
At least six gunmen on motorcycles boarded a bus and opened fire on commuters belonging to the Ismaili community in Karachi’s Safoore Chowk area, killing at least 43 people.
Following the attack, Army chief General Raheel Sharif arrived in Karachi, cancelling a pre-scheduled three-day trip to Sri Lanka.
“COAS cancelled his pre schedule three day visit to Sri Lanka due to Karachi terrorist bus attack,” Director General (DG) Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa.
The prime minister is also scheduled to travel to Karachi Wednesday evening where he will be visiting the victims of the attack.
The army chief, along with corps commander and DG Rangers, is likely to visit the injured at Aga Khan University (AKU) hospital. Security has been beefed up at the hospital’s vicinity following General Raheel’s visit.
Militant group Jundullah, which has attacked Muslim minorities before, claimed responsibility. The group has links with the Pakistani Taliban and pledged allegiance to Islamic State in November.
The United Nations also strongly condemned the attack carried out in Karachi. In a statement, Resident UN Coordinator in Pakistan Dr Jacqui Badcock said they were horrified by this act of brutality.
High level security meeting
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is chairing a high level meeting at Governor House in Karachi to assess the security situation following the grisly attack on Ismaili community earlier in the day, Radio Pakistan reported.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chairing a high level security meeting at Governor House in Karachi. PHOTO: PID
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Governor Sindh Ishratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, DG Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar, Corps Commander Karachi and secretary interior are present at the meeting.
During the meeting DG Rangers and IG Sindh briefed the premier on the situation.
Expressing his grief and sorrow over the firing incident, the prime minister said innocent people including women were targeted in the attack.
While issuing directions for the apprehension of the culprits involved in Wednesday incident, the premier directed the law enforcement agencies to keep a close eye on anti-state and anti-social elements.
MQM leaders Farooq Sattar, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Rasheed Godel are also present at the meeting, Express News reported.
After the meeting, the prime minister accompanied by the Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, former president Asif Ali Zardari and Farooq Sattar visited the residence of Ismaili community leader Sultan Ali Allana and offered their condolences.