Rescuers gather at the site of the bomb blast in Karachi on March 3, 2013. — Photo by AFP

At least 45 killed, 135 injured; many died in their apartments

KARACHI: At least 45 people, many women and children among them, were killed and over 135 injured in a massive bombing in the city’s Shia-dominated neighbourhood of Abbas Town on Sunday evening.

The explosion took place at the time of Maghrib prayers between two apartment blocks at the entrance to Abbas Town.

A blast had taken place on November 18 last year at almost the same place. It was caused by explosives tied to a motorcycle. A police official initially said the bomb blast had taken place not far from an Imambargah.

But the brunt of the attack was borne by two adjoining blocks of Rabia Flowers and Iqra City. The ground and first floors in both the blocks were badly damaged, exposing the living rooms of apartments. Some flats were reduced to rubble.

There were reports that several residents died inside their apartments because of the sheer impact of the blast and injuries caused by shrapnel.

At least three bodies buried in the rubble were retrieved by rescue workers by late night but there were fears that more bodies could still be there.

The balconies on the upper floors were also blown off and flames were leaping out from apartment on the fourth floor.

According to initial estimates, 40 to 50 apartments were destroyed and over 10 shops flattened.

Law-enforcement officials stayed away from the place for quite some time after the blast.

East Karachi DIG Aleem Jafri suspected that an explosive-laden vehicle might have been used.

“Over 150kg of high explosives laced with ball bearings were detonated by a time device,” he told Dawn, citing a report of the bomb disposal unit.

The blast left a four-foot deep crater of 10-foot circumference. An area of around 700 metres had been affected, the DIG said.

Police found an engine and some parts which indicated that a car had been used for the massive bombing. However, they didn’t find any particulars of the vehicle.

“About 45 deaths have occurred and as many as 135 wounded are in various hospitals. More than 70 patients have been admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital, 32 to Liaquat National Hospital, 17 to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, 12 to the JPMC and one to Civil Hospital,” Sindh Health Secretary Dr Suresh Kumar said.

Most of the injured were first taken to the nearby Patel Hospital.

The Aga Khan and Liaquat National Hospitals were overwhelmed by the injured needing immediate treatment.

JPMC Deputy Director Dr Seemin Jamali said 18 bodies had been brought there and a young boy, Qasim, was in critical condition.

Some relatives were seen frantically searching for their loved ones in different hospitals till late in the night.

Some bodies were charred beyond recognition, rescue workers said.

Several bodies had been taken to cold storages in different Imambargahs by midnight.

MOURNING: Various Shia organisations called for a strike on Monday to register their protest against the attack.

The Majlis Wehdat-i-Muslimeen endorsed the strike call and announced three days of mourning.

The Sindh government and Muttahida Qaumi Movement also announced a day of mourning on Monday.

The representative associations of traders, private schools and transport also announced a closure on Monday.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (62)

March 5, 2013 2:10 am
Stop thinking. Only then you will 'understand'. At least that is what my religious teacher would tell me when I was a kid.
March 5, 2013 12:35 am
Conspiracy to create to rift between urdu speaking shias and sunnis in karachi?
March 4, 2013 11:17 pm
What a tragedy in my beloved city, where we use to roam around fearlessly any time, i never knew among my hundreds of friends........ who is shia and who is sunni? why now! for god"s sake spread Love NOT Hatred, which our religion and for that matter any religion in the world teaches. we are the follower's of the great personalities whom Allah (swt) blessed with Tolerance come what may, May Allah rest the departed soul's in peace, and give courage to the families and all Muslim's to bear this GREAT loss. Aameen.
March 5, 2013 1:28 am
Unfortunately my friend, your forefathers wanted and did manage to divide the sons of our soil on the basis of faith and fear of the unknown. Welcome to the extreme version of that fear and superiority complex. All the very best to all Pak civilians to somehow eliminate this scourge of fanaticism yourselves.
March 5, 2013 2:07 am
Usually not, but this one definitely was an 'Act of God'. "Quran (3:151) - "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers" - Act of God.
March 5, 2013 3:49 pm
My friend, sorry to say this at this time of mourning. But Bangladesh became better than you the day it was created.
March 5, 2013 3:49 pm
Call Dr. Zakir Naik....
March 5, 2013 1:45 pm
I don't know the religious identities of the culprits, but I am sure they were humans. So are you ashamed of being a human being? Does it occur to you that our identity as human beings is bigger than our religious identity? I believe it is our close identification with our religious identities that causes tragedies such as the ones in Hyderabad (India) or Abbas Town Karachi.
Ammad Rizvi
March 4, 2013 4:16 pm
Which country are you living in again?? They don't have cold storages per say, it's just a room with an airconditioner. In this whole aritcle, you could comprehend cold storages, very sad.
March 4, 2013 3:40 pm
And, I think they (Shias) should get it. Why not? Wasn't Pakistan created on the basis of religion differences?
March 4, 2013 7:27 am
Many childrens and womens got killed. :( I don't understand how merciless are the hearts of people who does it. And how it can be path to god.
March 4, 2013 7:20 am
It is my observation that Shia Muslims are more progressive and prosperous compare to Sunni Muslims and this may be the reason that they are being attacked because when some savage mind cann't compete you in knowledge, he tend to harm you.
March 4, 2013 7:19 am
How long are you people going to take this? Has the Youth power become nerveless?!
Cyrus Howell
March 4, 2013 7:55 am
Have no fear. Interior Minister Reyman Malik is doing an investigation.
March 4, 2013 3:59 pm
As a shia....I am convinced this act is not that of a sunni or a shia one. All who matter were informed. This is all a staged drama with the lives of innocent civilians who are cannon fodder in the name of political games being played before the elections, and the remote controls are in the hands of the real rulers/ masters not inside the country but elsewhere. This is a point which needs contemplation. All is very calculated and well planned. May God protect the innocent from the fitna at hand (Amin).
March 4, 2013 6:38 am
Pakistan is FAILED STATE.........
March 4, 2013 6:40 am
What goes around comes around. Pakistan needs to change, stop supporting various religious groups and start executing terrorists ..... i feel really bad for innocent people who were killed here
March 4, 2013 6:36 am
Unfortunately, many of these incidents take place because of the reluctance of the Pakistan Government to put down the extremists.
Voice of D.I.Khan
March 4, 2013 6:25 am
I think Whole Shia community need Asylum... Let these Paki fight with each other. We want Peace.
Sumant Bhalla
March 4, 2013 6:12 am
The Shia's are doomed in Pakistan and will go the way of other minorities who have been wiped out in the most stark example of minority cleansing the world has ever known. What is it that ails the majority Sunnis? Why is Pakistani Islam so intolerant?
HAbbas Naqvi
March 4, 2013 8:19 am
this was not a sunni on shia attack... and my request to media people not to even try to show it as one!!... this is a barbaric attack from creatures not even worthy of being called humans, let alone muslims, on non-combat unarmed innocent people, who were enjoying a quiet weekend in their OWN homes with their OWN families. 200 flats have been destroyed. 200 families have been made homeless and the death toll has crossed 100 !!! we dont want any talks with these filthy creatures... the govt wants votes no matter how many people are killed and how much blood is shed as long a they can get their bloody votes..... please be united.. stand as one... no shia no sunni... one voice against extremism... its shias today, it will be sunnis tomorrow, then bralvi, then hanafi, then someone else... they wont leave a single one of us if we are not united..... please save Pakistan which my forefathers fought for. for which my forefathers lost everything so I can live in peace....
March 4, 2013 5:55 am
How long this would continue to happen!! People are being killed callously for no reason but everyone is silent..!! We stay quite because those who are killed belong to a sect different to ours..!! Our religion does not permit to kill even a single innocent non-Muslim but here our innocent Muslim brothers & sisters are being slaughtered in the name of Islam but we are still silent & still proudly call ourselves Muslims!! Does our religion really permit this criminal silence of the society??
March 4, 2013 7:44 am
Thank you for your condolences Mr. CHandra.
March 4, 2013 3:56 pm
Since religious extremism has been flourishing in the country. Should make you sit up and think!
March 4, 2013 5:11 am
Yet another tremendous atrocity commited by criminals against unarmed, non-combatant innocents. What face will these criminals show to Prophet Mohammad (SAW) on the Judgment Day for taking so many innocent lives? Islam forbids killing non-combatants, women and children even in war. These murders are being carried out by those who are a breed from Jahiliya and do not deserve to be even included in the human race.
March 4, 2013 5:05 am
Pakistanis are being slaughtered left and right by terrorists groups yet the state is impotent and the politicians want to negotiate with suicide bombers and head cutters. What a ridiculous country.
March 4, 2013 12:50 pm
Forget about showing face to the Prophet, I wonder what face Muslims will show to their fellow human beings.
vijay singh ivory coast
March 4, 2013 5:01 am
March 4, 2013 4:42 am
Due to such activities ,Our financial are going down and down ,its impact furher devaluation of our currency and reduce our Export which very megar i,e 0.13 % of Golobal trade
March 4, 2013 4:54 am
Why not announce a day of operation against these monsters! Who is stopping the government.
March 4, 2013 9:58 am
As a Shia I like to thank our security agencies for a wonderfull job.
March 4, 2013 4:40 am
Karachi stock exchange is already booming and making records.
March 4, 2013 4:37 am
Sir, We do not understand the objectives behind taking lives of innocent people of any community or religion. Unfortunately killers are supported by the society either on sectarian views or out of fear. People from all walks of life must denounce such sorts of meaningless killings. We convey our heart felt condolences to bereaved families. Yours faithfully; BIMAL CHANDRA JHA Samanpura Road, Patna, India
March 4, 2013 4:36 am
The incidents like that must be condemned by everybody and everywhere. Strikes in karachi, are no more a forceful mode of expression of condemnations.
March 4, 2013 4:34 am
My heart goes out to all the victims and their family. Very sad indeed. As your Indian neighbor I am wondering, why are Muslims killing Muslims in Pakistan ?
March 4, 2013 4:19 am
Well ... Looks like two nation theory is at play again.... Imagine if 30% Shia's want a different nation ?
March 4, 2013 4:22 am
It is very easy to call for a day of mourning and force to city to come at a standstill but it is always VERY difficult for Govt, MQM and other so called leaders to find a solution to a problem. Why all of a sudden there is a problem with shia muslims,, I have spent 27 years of my life in Pakistan, I made shia friends, I worked with shia colleagues, I attended shia weddings but never I had any problem with them and I dont know anyone who had a problem with them. Then why all of a sudden they are exposed to life threatening situations. Is Mr President blind that he cant see the havoc in the country. It is very easy to make your children stay our of Pakistan in peace but let other children die on streets...
Cyrus Howell
March 4, 2013 8:15 am
Any effort to sabotage or embarrass the government in this election is not to the point. The real question is can Pakistan last another five years past this election?
March 4, 2013 4:18 am
It is SHocking!! The absolute complicity of the state in Pakistan on security matters. I thought India was complicit but then we dont have ghastly internal enemies like Pakistan. hundreds of people dying every week is not just collapse of system and turning it into a congo. Pakistanis and Indian people are the same peace loving stock who want education and a good life. Pakistan need to weed out all these belligerent elements and put an end to this the way India put an end to Punjab insurgency with an iron fist. Rather than engaging in useless spicy discussions on national identity and rightness of religions, it must say no more deaths and disrespect for life and property. Conflicts can at best be verbal. Thats all these issues are worth. Religion is absolutely not worth killing or losing your life.
March 4, 2013 4:13 am
We have become worst than even Somalia. What a low life of a nation have we become! Even Bangladesh is better than us.
March 4, 2013 9:36 am
If these were sunnis who killed my Shia brothers and sisters then I am ashamed to be a sunni. If these people were muslims, I am ashamed to be a muslim.....and whoever was responsible, I am ashamed to be a Pakistani.
March 4, 2013 9:25 am
Karachi Stock exchange is booming and setting up highest records.
March 4, 2013 3:52 am
And the government/politicians still want to have the peace talk these savage Taliban.
March 4, 2013 3:12 am
These bombings have been going on for a year,will some person please inform me as to, how many of these terrorists have been arrested, tried, and found guilty.
March 4, 2013 3:20 am
INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE KILLED MERCILESSLY but the looters leaders of this land of the pure are busy in election preparations.Oh ALMIGHTY GOD show your mercy on this nation.
Shair Khan
March 4, 2013 2:53 am
Why the police and FC were not there right away? What is more important? It is a national shame on how the police and FC were not to be found for hours after the blast. Dose the people of Karachi dose not deserve to be rescued. My twitter was lit up with messages for help.
Cyrus Howell
March 4, 2013 8:57 am
"The ground and first floors in both the blocks were badly damaged, exposing the living rooms of apartments. Some flats were reduced to rubble." It was what insurance companies call "An Act of God".
March 4, 2013 1:57 am
With so much killing and bombing, I am sure Pakistani government knows who are these killers and bombers. It is sad, sad and very sad.
Cyrus Howell
March 4, 2013 8:52 am
Really, you don't expect the police to be standing around next to a Shia mosque on a Friday evening, do you?
March 4, 2013 12:39 pm
Some one keeps harping some thing about Islam being the religion of peace and compassion.
Ahsan BT
March 4, 2013 2:43 pm
So, you are indirectly blaming Sunnis for these attacks.
March 4, 2013 8:06 am
"Several bodies had been taken to cold storages in different Imambargahs by midnight" Since when did Imamargahs have cold storages?
March 4, 2013 7:55 am
As You Sow so you reap! There is a culture of intolerence inherent in the Muslims. At the time of partition lakhs of hindus were targeted for no fault of theirs in pakistan Now its a time of a sect within the same religion.
March 5, 2013 6:07 pm
same happens with hindus in india and during partition, it is all politics.
March 5, 2013 8:16 am
100% True my brother
March 5, 2013 9:57 am
Shias are such a peaceful lot. Inspite of this massacre against them, they are not resorting to violence. The Sunnis should learn something from Shia's. Its funny you call Baltistan as "Azad Kashmir" - when it is Shia majority. How can they be azad? Shias in India are far more safer amongst Hindus than amongst sunni's in Pakistan
Abdur Razzaque
March 5, 2013 10:23 am
Shame on the killers those who do not consider the value of others life compare with their own ones! What kind of animals are they? The animals are also better and united among themselves. They are not blood thirsty and brutal for their own ones. They are the followers of their own leader. What is going on with the rational and Allah's (swt) greatest creature Human and their humanity. Every peace loving and all ethical persons are just acting as part of the audience! They are also the creator of Allah (swt) and Muslims by religion seems tired or, showing negligence to stop this kind of inhuman and anti-religion activities. Please stand up, and defend all the anti Islamic persons. Save the Muslim blood in the name of Allah (swt). Remember, if we do not do our own Imani part will be liable at the Day of Judgement. Once we stop the brotherly killing from our social life, will be able to save and strengthen our religious unity as well as internal/national integrity too.
March 5, 2013 10:23 am
Property prices are going up too.
March 5, 2013 10:29 am
Well you can go on being ashamed of everything you are...that isn't going to change anything. This mentality will do no good. We need to stand up, take pride on who we are, and we are definitely not the ones who brought this carnage to our city and our country.
March 5, 2013 11:35 am
Bingo! U r right brother. Only unemployed/ poverty ridden people can turn to terrorism.. Otherwise, who gets 'Leaves' from their offices for pursuing these acts?
raja hindustani
March 5, 2013 11:37 am
March 5, 2013 2:57 pm
@Dixit - I agree with you. In India Azim Premji Owner of Wipro is a Shia. Most representatives in educational field from Muslim communities are Shias. Shias hav no issues with Hindus also and are liberal and loving people. And Sunnis they are enrolled in madrassas, always cursing our Govt., Keeping big beard and small pajamas and give violent speeches on Friday. My home is in a muslim area in Delhi and we are tired of Friday speeches, Scolding Hindus 4 everything wrong in their life, US and Israel bashing and all. But what can we do, we have to live with it and when situation arises we have to fight and survive. we are going back to the dark ages
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