KARACHI: Police on Sunday launched an investigation into a blast that occurred during a Mehfil-i-Milad programme organised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan at a residential complex in Block-17 of Gulistan-i-Jauhar on Saturday night.

One woman and a minor boy were among the eight people injured in the incident. The condition of two victims was stated to be serious.

A senior police officer who wished not to be named told Dawn that they suspected that ‘internal rifts’ between different factions of the MQM was a probable motive for the incident.

Two of the eight injured persons in serious condition

The officer said that the incident had assumed significance on account of two reasons. First, the party’s senior leadership was present during the function. Secondly, the explosion occurred a day ahead of the party’s ‘martyrs’ day’.

300 grams explosive material used

A team of the Bomb Disposal Unit of the police Special Branch examined the crime scene and submitted their report.

SSP East Azfar Mahesar quoting the bomb experts’ report said that 250 to 300 grams of explosive material exploded outside the tent area near City Bakery during the gathering.

They recovered “plastic body pieces, rock pieces, swab and sand” from the spot.

DIG East Amir Farooqi told Dawn that they considered it a ‘cracker blast’ in a sense that it did not contain metal balls, nuts, bolts, etc.

Secondly, it was thrown most probably by motorcyclists outside the tent of the programme.

The senior officer said that the incident occurred at night and the investigators were trying to obtain closed-circuit television camera footages from the area to help identify the culprits.

Different angles

IG Sindh Syed Kaleem Imam visited the crime scene in Jauhar on Sunday where DIG CTD Abdullah Shaikh and DIG East Amir Farooqi briefed him about the incident.

Talking to media, the IG said that the police were investigating the blast from different angles. Firstly, the blast might be an outcome of ‘internal issues’ and secondly, it might be a move to create fear in the area, he added. Thirdly, there were ‘different groups’ in the city who might want to spoil the peaceful atmosphere in the metropolis, he said. He added that nothing could be ruled out at this stage.

“Karachi is a mega city and several groups are operating in the city. Law enforcers have busted some groups and foiled their nefarious designs recently.”

Mr Imam said that the investigators had got ‘some leads’ and they were working on it.

Responding to a question, the IG said that significant progress had been made in the investigation into the deadly attack on the Chinese consulate as several people had been detained while the attackers’ patrons had also been identified.

Sharea Faisal SHO Safdar Mashwani said that eight persons were injured in the Gulistan-i-Jauhar blast and they were shifted to different hospitals for treatment.

They were identified as Shaharyar, 25; Faizan Ibrahim, 32; Babar, 40; Azhar, 32; Ms Samina Khatoon, 49; Shan Azeem, seven; Hassan and Shahzad.

The MQM-P spokesperson said that Shaharyar was their party member of media wing who was critically injured.

Two of the injured —Faizan and Shahzad — were brought to the JPMC who they were discharged after first medical aid, said Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director of the hospital.

They sustained wounds on their knee, hands and backs, added Dr Jamali.

SSP East Azfar Mahesar said that a person, Adnan, had organised the programme of Mehfil-i-Milad without ‘any permission’ and local police or any senior police officer was not informed about it.

However, MQM-P leader Iqbal Mohammed Ali told media that they had submitted an application before the DC East for holding the function.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018