KARACHI: Back to back bomb blasts on a busy street in Karachi’s Ancholi area on Friday night left at least seven people, including a boy, dead. At least 28 people suffered injuries while a number of shops and vehicles were badly damaged.
The deafening explosions were heard miles away, sowing fear in the city hours after demonstrations were held under tight security to denounce the Rawalpindi violence on Ashura day.
The blasts occurred at some distance from an Imambargah in Ancholi, Federal B. Area.
“We received five bodies, including that of a little boy, at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital,” said police surgeon Dr Jalil Qadir.
Among the dead was Salik Jafferi, an associate producer with Geo Television.
Shahid Hayat Khan, the chief of Karachi police, said initial reports suggested the two bombs had been fitted to motorbikes.
“The attacks were carried out on sectarian grounds,” he said.
According to Amir Farooqi, the Karachi Central SSP, the two bombs weighed up to five kilograms each and were detonated through mobile phone devices within a space of 30 seconds.
He said the bombs were placed between Blocks 17 and 18 of Federal B. Area — at a considerable distance from the Imambargah in Ancholi — as the “criminals were unable to break through the high security blanket leading to the place”.
“Timing of the blasts seems unusual as it occurred at 11.35pm. Perhaps the criminals’ motive was to cause chaos,” the SSP added.
Security has now been put on high alert in the city.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Saturday strongly condemned the bomb blast.
“The nation will never be intimidated by these acts of terror in Karachi,” the premier said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister House.
“Law and writ of the state will take care of fear-mongers, responsible for such heinous crimes. We will make sure that terrorists and criminals are speedily prosecuted and justice is dispensed without fear and favour,” he said.
Terming the blasts in Karachi a cowardly act of terrorism, Nawaz said that all institutions would have to work without fear for effectively addressing the menace of terror.
“We have no option but to wipe out the peril of extremism, sectarianism and terrorism”, he added.
He also prayed for the early recovery of those injured in the blasts.
Moreover, President Mamnoon Hussain also strongly condemned the bomb blasts.
Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon has strongly condemned the incident and said that the blasts were a cowardly act.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has strongly condemned the blasts.
MQM's Haider Abbas Rizvi has said that a day of mourning will be observed on Saturday. The Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen has called for three days of mourning.
Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan has sought a report on the incident from the Inspector General of Sindh Police.
CM’S DIRECTIVE: Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, who also holds additional charge of home minister, asked the inspector-general of police and the additional inspector-general to take action against the culprits.
Mr Shah directed police and the Rangers to take measures for protecting life and property. He also called upon hospitals to provide prompt medical treatment to the injured.
The chief minister said such criminal acts would not affect the ongoing operation against outlaws.
Additional reporting by Asif Mehmood