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City shut on MQM mourning appeal

KARACHI, May 5: The city wore a deserted look on Sunday on an appeal of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement to mourn the deaths of victims of the twin bomb blasts in Azizabad near the party headquarters, popularly known as Nine Zero.

The twin blasts claimed lives of three persons, including a child.

All major markets and commercial centres remained closed while public transport was off the roads. Fuel stations also remained shut.

However, in the evening, the city life returned to normality as the MQM leadership asked transporters and traders to resume their commercial activities.

“MQM leader Wasay Jalil phoned me at 3.30pm to bring public transport on roads,” said Karachi Transport Ittehad president Irshad Bukhari.

He said there were an estimated  13,000 buses, minibuses and coaches that ran on city roads on a normal day, which almost all were off the roads on Sunday.

The twin blasts of bomb each carrying one kilogram of explosive material were carried out through a remote-controlled device in the MQM-dominated locality considered a highly secure area.

As the Tehreek Taliban Pakistan reportedly claimed responsibility for the blasts, the incident also indicates their capability to hit anywhere and anytime.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Zafar Bukhari told Dawn that so far no significant breakthrough had been achieved in the investigation of the blasts.

Replying to a question, he said that initially there were suspicions about one injured person, but later on it transpired that the person was wounded in another incident.

“Therefore, it is not true that any wounded person has been taken into custody,” he added.

“The terrorists are carrying out small bomb blasts that are aimed at terrorising the people and keeping them away from taking part in the forthcoming general elections scheduled to be held on May 11,” the DIG added.

“However, whenever the terrorists wanted, they have detonated powerful bombs such as the attack on ANP leader Bashir Jan’s rally in Mominabad in April that claimed lives of 12 persons,” he added.

The ongoing bomb and gun attacks on leaders and election offices of the purported secular and liberal parties — mainly the MQM, PPP and ANP — in the city prompted the federal caretaker government to take stock of the situation.

Caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso ordered the caretaker Interior Minister Malik Habib to visit the provincial capital and held meetings with political leaders.

As a result, the interior minister on Sunday called on MQM leaders and informed them that the centre was observing the law and order situation in the city closely and had decided to deploy armed forces to ensure peaceful polling, officials and sources said.