RAWALPINDI, July 10: The bomb disposal experts of the Civil Defense on Wednesday defused an improvised self-made bomb placed in the street along the wall of government girls’ school in Naya Mohallah, one of the city’s busiest areas.
The alert was triggered when passers-by observed a bomb-like device with wires attached to a blinking digital clock.
It was found outside House#492-B, Street 10 of Nayya Mohallah around 12:15pm.
Responding to the alert, the police arrived on the scene and cordoned off the area while the bomb disposal squad defused what they called a self-made device containing around 500 to 600 grams of high intensity explosives.
A member of the bomb disposal team told Dawn that the bomb was made of explosive elements, gasoline and an ignition system with electric wires attached to a clock, and was packed in ten-inch long plastic pipes wired together.
“We are very lucky to have avoided a possible deadly event in the city. However, no motive has been identified so far,” he said.
Security was tightened after the bomb alert as a large number of people gathered outside the street. Some shopkeepers closed their shops, and the police had to use batons to keep on-lookers away while the bomb disposal team defused the device.
The bomb was placed adjacent to the wall of girls’ school (which was closed for summer vacations) in front of Iftikhar Uddin Khattak’s house.
Mr Iftikhar told reporters that he had no enmity with anyone and had received no life threats so far. However, he claimed the bomb was affixed to the gate of his house, and a threatening sentence “It is a gift for you” was chalked on the gate.
Surprisingly, none of the police or bomb experts who arrived at the scene observed the sentence, and even Iftikhar’s mother could not confirm his version when contacted by Dawn.
Ms Rahat Bibi, Iftikhar’s mother, said the bomb was lying in front of her house and was spotted by passers-by who observed a light blinking on the device and informed other people nearby.
“Had the bomb been hanging with the gate, I would have been the first to spot it since only moments before, I had returned from the market after buying some grocery,” she said.
“In fact it was lying in the street close to a motorbike parked there,” she added.
Ms Rahat Bibi said she lived with her ailing son, his wife and a daughter, who is a special child, and the drawing room of the house had been rented out which was their source of income.
She added that since the bomb was found, she and her children had been in distress.
When Station House Officer (SHO) City, Inspector Mohammad Basharat Abbasi was contacted, he said the bomb was a timed device which was defused by the bomb disposal experts.
He said the bomb’s parts, including the powder and the timer, had been sent to the laboratory for forensic analysis, and a case had been registered under the ¾ Explosives Act against unknown people.
“We are treating the incident as an attempt to create chaos in the city,” he said, adding that, “there were no threats made to a particular person and no such writings were found on the scene.”
However, explosive devices have been used in the past to threaten particular individuals.
Haji Sahib Khan, a businessman from Mohmand Agency who had settled in Rawalpindi, had noticed an explosive device at the gate of his farmhouse in Westridge on September 2012.
A note had been attached to the device, in which Mr Khan had been threatened allegedly by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and stated “The first gift to Haji Sahib from TTP.”
Likewise, an explosive device was thrown at the clinic of a doctor near Race Course at Peshawar Road, which caused some damage but no causalities were reported. A note found at the doctor’s clinic claimed the blast was the work of the TTP, and later a telephone call came demanding a huge sum of money.