KARACHI: A cracker attack on a Rangers post followed by a remote-controlled bomb blast near Kati Pahari on Saturday killed a former policeman and left more than a dozen others including personnel of the paramilitary force, policemen and a reporter of a private TV channel injured, officials said.
They suspected that some motorcyclists hurled the cracker at the Rangers post in the Kati Pahari area that caused a huge bang in the second half of the day attracting residents, media teams and law-enforcers — the potential victims of a second and much more powerful explosion.
“Only 10 minutes after the cracker blast, a bomb planted near the Rangers post went off,” said SP Orangi Town Chaudary Asad Ali. “The cracker in fact did not cause any injury or major damage. It was the second attack that caused injuries to people including policemen, Rangers personnel and residents who had gathered there after the cracker attack.”
Considering the past trend, he said, the first attack seemed a trap set to attract people — mainly officials of the law-enforcement agencies — close to the bomb planted in a cement block very close to the Rangers post near Kati Pahari.
Following the bomb blast, fear gripped the neighbourhood that houses a number of roadside shops, eateries and hundreds of residential units. Ambulances were seen rushing the injured to a nearby private health facility as well as to the Abbassi Shaheed Hospital and Civil Hospital Karachi.
The officials said that the victims included five Rangers personnel and three policemen who were cordoning off the area after the first explosion. They said at least three of them who sustained multiple and serious wounds were shifted to operating theatres for surgeries.
“One of the injured who was brought here later died. He has been identified as Mohammad Yousuf in his 40s,” said an official at the medico-legal section of the Abbassi Shaheed Hospital. He added that the identity of the other victims had not been ascertained so far. About the injuries, he said the victims suffered multiple wounds, including wounds in their limbs, abdomens and chests, indicating that the bomb also carried ball bearings.
The Orangi Town SP said the deceased Mohammad Yousuf was actually a former policeman who had been dismissed from service. He said he lived in the area close to the Rangers post. He came out of his home after the first attack and was standing among other people when the bomb exploded, he added.
Among the victims also included a CNBC Pakistan journalist, Zainuddin, who was reporting the news of the first attack, the officer said. Most of the injured were stable and released after the initial treatment, he said.
“The cracker carried a 300 milligram explosive that caused a huge noise,” said an official at the Sindh police’s bomb disposal unit that examined both the blast sites.
“The second attack was carried out through a locally-made and remote-controlled IED (improvised explosive device), which was concealed in a cement block just a few yards from the Rangers post,” the official said.
“The bomb weighed around two kilograms,” he said.
The police investigators said it was a little early to arrive at any conclusion about ‘the group behind the twin attacks’, but taking into account past trend of attacks they sounded very much sure that the job was executed by one of the banned militant outfits.
“The expertise to develop such kind of bomb and then conceal in that way is enjoyed by banned outfits that are associated with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan one way or the other,” said Raja Umer Khattab of the CID’s counter-terrorism unit. “Their training is different and they very much hold the quite similar skills. It will be a little early to hold any particular group responsible for the attacks but definitely the job is carried out by any of these banned groups,” he said.