KARACHI, Jan 1: At least four people were killed and 45 men and two women injured in a bomb attack not far from the venue of a large public meeting organised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and addressed by Dr Tahirul Qadri on Tuesday.
According to TV channels, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the blast.
A large number of people who had attended the meeting were returning and boarding the buses parked near the Aga Khan Jamatkhana on main Shahra-i-Pakistan when the powerful bomb rigged in a motorcycle exploded.
The injured were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad, Sindh Government Qatar Hospital and Civil Hospital.
Four of the injured succumbed to their wounds in Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
“Four people died and 47 others were injured. The condition of two of the injured is said to be critical,” Sindh Health Minister Dr Saghir Ahmed said.
“The bomb weighing about two to three kilograms and laced with ball bearings was detonated by remote control,” DIG West Asif Ajaz Shaikh told Dawn. “The explosives may have been placed in the bike’s tool box. The chassis of the motorcycle was completely destroyed.”
Raja Umar Khattab, SSP of CID’s counter-terrorism unit, said it appeared that the suspects were waiting for the public meeting to end to detonate the bomb.
A minibus and several other vehicles were badly damaged, police said, adding that it could not be ascertained when the motorcycle had been parked at the place.
The blast was so powerful that it was heard in Gulshan-i-Iqbal. Being the evening rush hour, the blast caused a massive traffic jam on Shahra-e-Pakistan and adjoining roads and rescuers faced difficulty in taking the injured to hospitals.
MQM’s spokesman Wasay Jalil claimed that most of the injured were activists of his party.
MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said he suspected the TTP to be behind the blast. Talking to a TV channel, he said the TTP had issued several threats, specifically to the MQM.
The Awami National Party strongly condemned the blast.
Earlier on Dec 29, a powerful explosion in an inter-city bus near Karachi’s Cantonment Railway Station killed at least six people and 50 others, including women and children, were injured.
Day of mourning: The MQM announced a day of mourning on Wednesday for the people killed in a blast in Karachi on Tuesday.
In a statement, the MQM said all its political activities would remain suspended and Quran Khawani would be held in the party’s offices across the country.
However, the statement made it clear that markets and transport would function normally.