KARACHI: Already tormented by terrorist and sectarian killings for more than a month, Karachi had another terrifying experience on Sunday evening when a bomb went off near an Imambargah in Abbas Town locality of Gulshan-i-Iqbal. At least two people were killed and over a dozen others injured.
Despite extensive security measures taken in the city to avert incidents of terrorism, the assailant succeeded to park an explosives-laden motorcycle near the Imambargah where a Muharram Majlis was to be held. The bomb, police said, was detonated by a remote-control device.
Although there were intelligence reports about threats of such attacks, particularly in the first ten days of Muharram, the blast near the Masjid-o-Imambargah Mohammad-i-Mustafa could not be prevented. Besides police, Rangers were also posted at the place.
A spokesman for the Rangers said five Rangers personnel were among the wounded and one of them was in serious condition in Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. The others were taken to the Rangers hospital.
The explosion took place minutes before the Majlis was to begin. But, despite the blast, the Majlis was held as scheduled.
The blast ripped through a number of shops, dislodged an electric pole and damaged a transformer, plunging the entire area into darkness, residents said. A truck carrying bakery products was also damaged.
The IED-rigged motorcycle had been parked just before the Majlis was to begin, IG Sindh Fayyaz Leghari said.
Additional IG of Karachi Iqbal Mehmood told a private TV channel that police had recommended a ban on motorcycle riding during Ashura in the city.
“Initial reports suggest the IED (improvised explosive device) weighing three to four kilogram had been rigged in the motorcycle,” DIG East Shahid Hayat told Dawn.
Some of the injured were taken to the nearby Patel Hospital and others to a private hospital on Stadium Road.
One of the deceased was identified as Azhar Hussain, but the identity of the other body could not be ascertained.
“We have received the body of an 18-year-old boy from the Patel Hospital,” in-charge of the emergency ward of the JPMC Dr Seemin Jamali said.
The body of Azhar Hussain was taken to Incholi area in a procession.
With enraged youth protesting and shouting slogans, no senior police officer went to the site of the blast. A team of the bomb disposal squad appeared there an hour after the blast.
In a similar attack, at least seven people were killed when an IDE rigged in a motorcycle ripped through a busy market in a North Nazimabad area dominated by Bohri community on Sept 19.
On Nov 9, three Rangers personnel were killed when an explosives-laden truck rammed into a Rangers compound in North Nazimabad.