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Suicide bombers target ISI compound in Sukkur

Updated Jul 25, 2013 08:44am


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Security persons are pictured at the site of suicide car bombing in Sukkur on July 24, 2013.—Photo by AFP
Security persons are pictured at the site of suicide car bombing in Sukkur on July 24, 2013.—Photo by AFP
A paramilitary soldier stands at the site of suicide car bombing in Sukkur on July 24, 2013.—Photo by AFP
A paramilitary soldier stands at the site of suicide car bombing in Sukkur on July 24, 2013.—Photo by AFP
A damaged building is pictured at the site of suicide car bombing in Sukkur on July 24, 2013.—Photo by AFP
A damaged building is pictured at the site of suicide car bombing in Sukkur on July 24, 2013.—Photo by AFP

KARACHI: A series of blasts rocked the southern town of Sukkur late Wednesday as militants rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a compound of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, security officials said.

At least nine people were killed, including five attackers and four agency officials in what was an unprecedented attack in the otherwise peaceful town.

Police said the attackers detonated two bombs — one outside a police building and a car bomb outside the ISI office in the town, located around 500 kilometres from Karachi, the main city of Sindh province.

A police official said apparently a suicide bomber first blew himself up in front of a police building and then a second suicide bomber detonated the explosive-filled car outside the ISI office.

The terrorists had seized control of one government building, sparking a shoot-out between the militants and security forces in the high-security Barrage Colony area.

The exact number of casualties was still unclear as TV channels put the death toll between seven to ten but there was no confirmation from the hospital.

Sources told Dawn that four agency officials were among the dead including ISI's deputy director Maj Zeeshan, Azizullah, Asghar Ali and Nazeer Ahmed. There was no official confirmation of the death of the agency officials.

Major General Rizwan Akhtar, head of the paramilitary force, Sindh Rangers said that all attackers had been killed and the ISI compound had been cleared of the militants.

“All three militants who seized the compound have also been killed and the building completely cleared of terrorists,” said Akhtar.

He said the front wall and gate of the ISI office had been blown away by the impact of the first blast.

A senior police official said it appeared to be “an organised terrorist attack". Militants have launched such sophisticated attacks before, but Sukkur has been traditionally immune from such violence.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

In May 2009, a suicide attack outside a police building next to the local ISI headquarters in the eastern city of Lahore killed 24 people.

In November that year a powerful car bomb ripped through ISI's headquarters in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing 10 people and destroying part of the fortified building.

A month later in the central city of Multan two suicide attackers fired at soldiers while driving a truck bomb past security checkpoints in an attempt to approach the local office of the ISI.

In another elaborately planned attack last year, militants attacked Kamra, a major airbase, and damaged an aircraft.

The year before, Pakistani Taliban gunmen attacked a naval base in Karachi, the country’s biggest city. Ten military personnel were killed in the 16-hour assault.

In 2009, they attacked the national army headquarters in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, close to the federal capital.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has strongly condemned the attack, which he said resulted in the “loss of precious human lives and injured many”.

—DawnNews correspondent Asif Mehmood contributed to reporting.


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Comments (61) Closed

bangash Jul 24, 2013 09:56pm

The fruits of "strategic depth". Sheer incompetence of khakis has ruined the country.

Aamir Jul 24, 2013 10:03pm

And our biased, politicized and useless judiciary is busy in targeting Musharraf for his orders to take strict actions against these terrorists

SHAHID Jul 24, 2013 10:17pm

Just think about this: who is actually happy in Pakistan? Nobody. A lot of crises, ranging from economic to national security are surfacing rapidly. These terrorists are mitigating the peace of Pakistan and also tarnishing Pakistan's image before the world. We must eliminate them before we lose everything.

G.A. Jul 24, 2013 10:24pm

How much longer does the state has to take these attacks lying down. So much for an 'intelligence' agency.

G.A. Jul 24, 2013 10:28pm

Yet the biggest problem facing the country is loadshedding. Why does everything have to be so irrational and illogical in this country?

Gerry D'Cunha Jul 24, 2013 10:34pm

There are no words to express the mentality of the people who have carried out these terrorist acts in this holy month of Ramadan in Sukkur. I am sure the victims were Muslims and must be fasting as well... Shame on those people who brain wash these people in the name of 'Islam'! I think it's high time that religious scholars should cast these terrorists out of their religion 'Islam' and condemn their acts!!

ahmed jawad Jul 24, 2013 10:48pm

What are Pakistan's police and intelligence agencies doing? Are they just wasting time and receiving highly paid salaries?

K.A.Muhammad Jul 24, 2013 10:53pm

Growing incidents of bomb blasts all over Pakistan; especially Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa goes to establish that Law Enforcement and Intelligence agencies are at rest or they are no match for these well organized team of attackers.

How, where and when these terrorists along with required arsenal, enter the main cities, set a target and execute their plan with precision? What ray of hope if any is now left for people to imagine let alone think of security and safety of life and property?

Ebrhm Jul 24, 2013 10:59pm

this is the Pakistan, where the spy agency and other security agency could not protect themselves then what the people can expection from them, that they will protected the people of the nation, how they will maintain law and order condition in the country. one who can't protect himself how they will able to protect other..?

Khurram Jadoon Jul 24, 2013 11:09pm

This is alarming. Can they protect civilians?

Kirther Jul 24, 2013 11:25pm

PML-N was aware of the situation and should have been prepared to take immediate action against terrorists, but unfortunately PML-N like PPP lack direction and are unprepared to tackle this situation. There is no need for another APC; just take appropriate and decisive action rather than wasting time on political moves.

Majid Jul 24, 2013 11:28pm

It is a matter of great concern for Pakistan that the National Security Forces are so reluctant. How can Pakistanis trust its armed forces and intelligence? Corruption has to be up rooted from the armed forces, rangers and Pakistan Police.

Those people who cannot safe guard their offices from locals how can they guard the entire country from foreign enemies? Majid.

KAM Jul 24, 2013 11:32pm

TTP must be eliminated like the LTTE was in Sri Lanka.

Amir Jul 24, 2013 11:34pm

The cancer of TTP needs to be eliminated.

pathanoo Jul 24, 2013 11:35pm

What is there to say to this daily occurance except - SAD. Will it ever end?

Faisal Jul 24, 2013 11:43pm

Such attacks show inability of Pak army and Govt to save very sensitive locations.

Rikhav Jul 24, 2013 11:48pm

Couple of years ago they were called Freedom fighters, now they are called Militants, I wonder when they will be called Islamist Militants in Pakistan.

farrukh Jul 25, 2013 12:42am

Nawaz Sharif should forget peace talks as these terrorists only understand the language of the gun.

Alee Abbasi Jul 25, 2013 12:53am

An attack in a town like Sakhar proves how organized the millitants in Pakistan are. The security forces should carry out more austere operations throughout the country to bulldoze the growing insurgency.

ra Jul 25, 2013 01:58am

you reap as\you sow

Zak Jul 25, 2013 02:18am

None of these terrorists should be left alive and the planners, facilitators should be caught and hung as well.

p r sharma Jul 25, 2013 02:33am

Bomb blasts have become a routine matter in Pakistan and life goes on..

Rana Jul 25, 2013 03:54am

Only TTP cannot have such a strong network to take on an organised army,

There are some hidden powers for sure.

Zubair Jul 25, 2013 03:58am

I am just wondering who is behind these attacks and what Taliban will achieve from targeting our intelligence agency. There seems to be some involvement of an outside intelligence agency who are using some of our internal resources for their evil motives.

Sumant Bhalla Jul 25, 2013 05:17am

Serves the ISI right. They have done more harm to Pakistan than any other entity.

Eddie Jul 25, 2013 05:28am

ISI compound attacked, military bases bombed, hundreds killed in the last month?What are Pakistani leaders waiting for? Your country is continually under attack by militants and your politicians are just trying to decide if they should talk to these murderers. If Pakistan does not make a move soon against these terrorists perhaps they should just surrender to the Taliban and beg for mercy. The cowardice exhibited by politicians in defense of your nation is inexcusable.

Sam Jul 25, 2013 05:51am

There is no doubt these militants are trained, funded and launched by foreign forces. This is all result of Afghan-India collaboration against Pakistan. Whenever there is any trouble in Kabul or Kashmir, they immediately strike back in one way or the another.

ISI has the right to retaliate.

Yawar Jul 25, 2013 07:11am

The article identifies the culprits as "attackers," "militants" and "terrorists." Does anyone, including this reporter, have any doubt which group these criminals belonged to?

The Trust Jul 25, 2013 08:11am

But still we need to talk to terrorists as they are assets of Pakistan!

kk Jul 25, 2013 08:16am

First they befriend them, then they nurtured them, then they used them as "strategic asset", now that they became monsters, they are being eaten by them.

Javed Khan Jul 25, 2013 09:19am

The chicken continues to come home to the rooster. The Taliban continue to be an existing threat and we waste our times on topics like a contraceptive ad.

rashid zaidi Jul 25, 2013 10:45am

The government has to grapple with the terrorist problem on a priority basis, the more time spent not taking action, emboldens these ruthless uneducated self appointed purveyors or representatives of Islam. The consensus is evident, the public has voted against them. They only mean backwardness and firebrand Islam, which is selective in its manifestation. A concerted effort will have to be taken to rout this menace for good. Then only Pakistan can become a sane place again. The word concerted carries a profound meaning anything half cocked will perpetuate this scourge, and devalue Pakistan from within and in the comity of nations. The Prime Minister has a mandate and he should implement it with a good advisory council and the army as this will be the biggest impediment to progress. A well wisher, long live Pakistan.

vigilant Jul 25, 2013 10:52am

Firm stand against terrorists is only viable option

sabeeh omer Jul 25, 2013 11:24am

Yet again! We are losing count of the number of times these terrorists have attacked and attacked successfully our premier security installations. From the attack on the GHQ in Rawalpindi, to the audacious attacks on PNS Mehran, the airforce base Kamra, the attack on ISI Headquarters in Lahore, Peshawar, and now Sukkur, the list goes on and on. A band of rag-tag warriors (certainly not as adequately trained as the Pakistan Armed Forces) have put the reputation of our entire Defence Forces at stake. Every now and then we have to listen to the gibberish of our generals and marshals and admirals of how well prepared our armed forces are to meet with any threat, only to find that yet again some military installation has been targeted. How ever much I hate to acknowledge, I must commend on the strategic planning, brilliance and execution of these attacks. Driving down Shahrah-e-Faisal in Karachi and as is the scene all over the country, military installations are a fortress within a fortress. High walls, barbed wires, road-blocks, armed is a world of its own. Our armed forces numbering no less than over half a million and on whom the nation spends close to 70% of its budget has fallen prey to these handful band of rag-tag warriors. The ordinary soldier dies unsung and unwept while the military top brass basks in the sun-light of the Federal Capital bedecked top to toe with medals of all size and design. Be it these internal threats or an external attack by the US seals in Abbotabad under the very nose of the army, we find our armed forces in deep slumber. I have serious qualms about the ability of our armed forces to defend our frontiers. Unless and until the top brass is brought to task and held accountable, these attacks would continue and so would the rhetoric by our generals and marshals and admirals of the impregnable defence and the ability to thwart all nefarious designs.

Sahil Jul 25, 2013 11:26am

@Zak: Yea, but the people who could do this are dead now!

Nero Jul 25, 2013 12:37pm

@Sam: "Whenever there is any trouble in Kabul or Kashmir, they immediately strike back in one way or the another." - If you think this is the case, just stop creating trouble in Kabul and Kashmir.

Arslan Jul 25, 2013 01:19pm

These are militant they never come on table. These rotten eggs should be clear by force and to be thrown outside our country boundary.

Khalid Jul 25, 2013 02:06pm

We don't need bullet trains. We don't need laptops and neither do we desparately need fancy buses. Also, we can wait for the energy crises to be resolved in a year or two, as we are now used to suffering and a couple of more years won't kill more than a few 100 people (elderly and very young) because of the heat. They die every day in Pakistan without anyone noticing them.

What we do need is a firm hand in dealing with these terrorists. Let us clearly call them terrorists and stop beating around the bush.

Khalid Jul 25, 2013 02:09pm

@Sam: For god's sake! Let us not blame anyone but ourselves for this. We have done it for over 60 years and that is the reason we don't do anything about it. Only when we realise what is wrong with us, we will do something about it. Blaming on others sounds like it is not our problem and even if it is, we can not do anything about it.

Mumtaz.Rizvi Jul 25, 2013 02:20pm

@Zubair: Of course. Taliban are peace loving birds who haven't even killed a fly or mosquito yet. I am sure you won't even believe if they come to your threshold and kill your loved ones. You'd see foreign involvement in even that, I'm sure.

AAA Jul 25, 2013 02:22pm

@vigilant: Yes Yes

AAA Jul 25, 2013 02:31pm

@Sumant Bhalla: Yes I agree with you.

Ali Wali Jul 25, 2013 02:35pm

Attack was carried out by SSP, and TTP will take responsibility at a later stage. Insiders with links to SSP or other extremist Deobandis should be checked.

Pakistani Jul 25, 2013 02:49pm

Looking at the comments, it is obvious how thoroughly we have been brainwashed by the foreign media rhetoric

ar Jul 25, 2013 03:14pm

@kk: Unfortunately even today the "good terrorists" are nurtured as strategic assets. Will they ever learn

Yawar Jul 25, 2013 03:32pm

@Sumant Bhalla: You stated "Serves the ISI right. They have done more harm to Pakistan than any other entity."
I am shocked. Your ridiculous comment supporting this terrorist action provides strength to the conspiracy theorists who claim RAW is supporting TTP. Also, would you say the same about your Indian army personnel when they get killed in Kashmir?

Yawar Jul 25, 2013 03:38pm

Khan sahib, do you still want to negotiate with the TTP or was this the action of the few "Bad Taliban?"

Naseer Jul 25, 2013 03:45pm

@Pakistani: What you say sounds true. It is often said that Saudi Petro Dollars are behind all this mayhem in the Muslim countries. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are openly supporting rebels in Syria. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are main Taliban supporter, hence the Taliban embassy in Doha.

Yawar Jul 25, 2013 03:50pm

When will Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and JI understand the real danger TTP poses to our national security?

Asim Jul 25, 2013 03:50pm

Strict action needed

Abdullah Jul 25, 2013 04:26pm

Zeeshan was a childhood friend of mine. Dedicated to serve the country. I met him last year while on a visit to Pak and chatted for hours. You will be missed by all those who knew you and more as you gave up your life protecting our country!

Indian Jul 25, 2013 04:30pm

@Yawar: That is unlikely considering the army's record as exemplified in Uttarakhand. For Pakistanis almost anything proves the conspiracy theorists right, even if it was a flood.

Agha Ata Jul 25, 2013 05:28pm

They said Pakistan Army was very powerful. Then they said that ISI was even more so. And now, enemy is playing the game of death in its compound. The enemy

MKNaeem Jul 25, 2013 05:56pm

Talibans are sending us a message by attacking ISI regional office - 'we can even hit your nerve centre'

Vipin Jul 25, 2013 07:16pm

Think if this attack happed in India..same people who are calling these guys as bad guys suddenly the same bad guys will turn to freedom fighters. Strange haaan !!!

PTI wala Jul 25, 2013 08:42pm

In the light of the recent attack on ISI headquarters in Sukkar and countless other, many people are opposed to the idea of peace talks with these inhumane, vile, a poor excuse to be called men,

Mike Jul 26, 2013 12:03am

@Khalid: Where can we find that hand?

Mike Jul 26, 2013 12:14am

@sabeeh omer: It is almost impossible to do these kinds of attacks without inside help. Also, It is impossible to live under the nose of military in abbotabat without inside help.

Irshad Jul 26, 2013 01:46am

there must be a reward for those Brave police officers who spoiled the intentions of carcas Attackers thinking of sukkur as Karachi and other cities to be attacked , i urge the I.G sindh and other rulers that ASI Ralif Khan Pathan who is like one man army entered into the Building in searched out an killed Bomber alon, it would be an act of encouragement of our Police Officers /Men to absolve rewards who further anhiliation such kind of bone of containtion are hidden in our socity.

Khattak Jul 26, 2013 12:56pm

@MKNaeem: Have a heart Mr. Naeem, it was not Talibaans, Talibaans are not fighting inside Pakistan. The roots of Sukkar explosions are known to BLA and are in Balochistan.

Khattak Jul 26, 2013 12:56pm

@Vipin: Infact.. you know the game very well and so do we... "GAME ON HAI", Some day the stocks of weapon and ammunition at Kishan Nagar finish... some day external financing shall discontinue.... after that day, ... "GAME OVER".