KARACHI: The CID offices and the buildings around them may have borne the brunt of Thursday’s blast, but areas as far off as Defence and Baldia were shaken by its resounding impact.
“It was an echoing blast that rattled the windows,” said Javed Shakoor, whose house is located in a sequestered lane off Khayabane Rahat in Defence Phase VI. “My wife thought it was a door banging.”
With last month’s Abdullah Ghazi shrine blast still fresh in the minds of Karachiites, comparisons were inevitable.
“The house shook, the windows shook. It was a dull blast, perhaps not as loud as the Abdullah Shah Ghazi mazar blast,” said a resident of Block 4 Clifton, who lives a stone’s throw from the saint’s last resting place. “Our watchman did not hear it, probably because the sound of the traffic drowned it outside.”
A pickup operator from Baldia Town 5 said he was standing with other drivers at the stand when they heard a considerably loud bang.
“We discussed what it could be. Most of us were convinced that it was a blast, but a couple of others dismissed it as a tyre burst and we got back to work,” said Peer Mohammad.
Hakeem Shah, associated with the armed forces and living in a first-floor house at Korangi Crossing, said when the building shook violently, he thought it was an earthquake.
Ali, an executive with a multinational firm having offices on Sharea Faisal, said the windowpanes of their offices violently rattled under the impact of the explosion, and they had no doubt that it was a bomb blast, maybe a little farther from their building.
Close to the site of the blast, a journalist, who had moved into her new Bath Island home on Thursday, spoke of shaking windows and banging doors.
“The intensity of the blast was massive. I had also heard the blast at the mazar which is a lot closer to my old home than my new one is to the current site of the explosion. This blast was a lot louder and stronger.”
For Amina, who lives in an apartment in Clifton Block 2, the blast was “like the rap of the wind on the windows — but there was something different about it.”
Being no stranger to blasts — she was yards away from the US consulate when it was targeted in 2002, and in the vicinity when a bomb exploded near the PIDC building some years ago — it “crossed my mind that it could be an explosion”. “It was like a patakha,” piped in her eight-year-old grandson.
Rehana Alam, who lives off Zamzama, near the Saudi consulate, said she was starting dinner when she heard “a really loud noise. We have Kashmiri servants who had experienced the 2005 earthquake. They thought it was the noise before the earthquake.”
Critical of the emergency response, she pointed out that the site of the explosion appeared to be in darkness. “They should have some standard operating procedures by now, a cadre of people who know what to do.”
Close to the blast site, Moez Bhora, a banker in the MCB Tower, said that building appeared to shake. “My friend heard it in Tariq Road,” he said.
However, Rukhsana, a young maid who lives in Shireen Jinnah Colony where there are congested shanty dwellings and where heavy oil tankers ply the roads, appeared not to have heard the blast. “What blast?” she asked, “was there a blast?”