KARACHI: Six people were killed and 28 injured in a powerful bomb blast in Clifton area of the city on Friday. A woman and her son were among the dead.

The blast took place only a day after a police officer known for his anti-terrorism campaign and three other people were killed in a suicide attack near the city’s old Sabzi Mandi (vegetable market).

“We received four bodies and 30 injured. Two died during treatment,” said Dr Seemin Jamali, head of JPMC’s emergency department.

The deceased were identified as Mrs Farah Junaid, 40; her son Yahya Junaid, 22; Sajid Illahi, 40; Shahzad Hussain, 30; Ubaidullah Butt, 40; and Abdul Jabbar, 40.

They suffered multiple wounds on heads, chests and abdomens.

Dr Jamali said the injured included a woman and a boy who was returning home after appearing in an exam. The condition of five of the injured was serious, she added.

The intended target of the blast was a bus carrying people belonging to the Shia community, Sindh IG Iqbal Mehmood said. They were returning after offering Friday prayers at Imambargah Yasrab in Defence Society Phase-IV.

The head of CID’s counter-terrorism unit, Raja Umer Khattab, said the bomb was planted in a rickshaw parked on the main Khaliq-uz-Zaman Road in Clifton’s Block-8. The 10kg improvised explosive device (IED) containing bolts was detonated by remote control.

He said the bus was hit from the rear side when it reached Jason Apartments near Jamia Masjid Faizan Jilan.

A spokesperson for Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen told Dawn that the bus belonged to a school in Maurirpur area whose pupils used to offer Friday prayers at the Imambargah, adding that some officials might be travelling in it.

The spokesperson said students of the school had also been targeted twice in recent past.

The blast was so powerful that it was heard miles away. A portion of the wall of Jason Apartments was destroyed. Glasses of a newly constructed four-storey building were smashed and some bolts used in the bomb were found on another lane across the road.

An official of the bomb disposal squad said six cars, three rickshaws and three motorcycles were damaged.

One of the motorcycles was turned into pieces which, according to DIG South Barrister Abdul Khalique Shaikh, might be the one fitted with the bomb. He said the target might be someone travelling in one of three cars. One of them belonged to a provincial secretary and former KMC administrator, but he was not travelling in it.

No one claimed responsibility for the blast.

Raja Umer Khattab said the modus operandi suggested that banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi might be involved because it had “expertise” in such IED blasts.

Officials admitted that terrorist attacks had increased over the past two weeks and two to three people were killed on sectarian grounds in the city almost every day. They said the city had witnessed a lull in attacks after the arrest of several men of a militant group allegedly involved in sectarian killings about two months ago. The same group might have regrouped to carry out the killings, they suspected.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon told reporters at the scene that terrorism had reared its ugly head in Karachi again following the ending of ceasefire by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Emotional scenes were witnessed at the JPMC where the dead and injured were brought.

A neighbour of Sajid Illahi, who was killed in the blast, told Dawn that the victim was a shopkeeper and had gone to the area to offer Friday prayers.

Shahzad’s relative said he worked in a shop in Clifton and was on his way to have lunch in the area on a motorcycle when the blast took place.

The dead woman and her son were passing through the area in a rickshaw.

ARRESTS: Shahid Hayat Khan, the Karachi police chief, claimed at a press conference that police had arrested five suspects believed to be involved in several sectarian killings.

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