KARACHI: Five people were killed and around two dozen injured in a huge explosion inside a private bank situated in a multistorey residential building in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on Wednesday morning, officials and witnesses said.
The bomb disposal squad in its report concluded that the blast was due to the “leakage of natural gas” inside the bank located on the first floor of the building near Maskan Chowrangi. The explosion also caused substantive damage to the property.
The blast was so powerful that it destroyed some of the pillars of the four-storey building and four apartments.
Gulshan-i-Iqbal SHO Safdar Mashwani said that two branches of as many private banks were located in the building. The Meezan Bank was on the ground floor but it also possessed a first-floor apartment.
He said that the blast occurred on the first floor which had four apartments. The floor was completely destroyed in the blast.
The blast destroys first floor of the residential-cum-commercial building near Maskan Chowrangi
Gas leakage caused blast
The area SHO said that BDS officials inspected the place and found no signs of a bomb or improvised explosive device blast.
They concluded that a gas leakage caused the blast inside the bank.
SHO Mashwani said one of the bank guards told the police that they had lodged several complaints with the Sui Southern Gas Company about the leakage but the problem was allegedly not rectified.
A bank guard told the media that he was inside his bunker when at around 9.20am a huge explosion occurred and when he came out from the bunker, he saw huge destruction.
The guard said the explosion took place in the kitchen.
Syed Khalid Sultan, who lived in another apartment on the first floor, suffered serious injuries as a result of the explosion and died on the spot.
He had come back home after dropping off his teacher wife and four children to school.
Four others died during treatment at different hospitals. Two of them were identified as Mohammed Amir, 28 and Yasir Siddiq, 18.
Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, said that five wounded victims were brought to the hospital.
Affected building being razed
Karachi Commissioner Sohail Rajput told Dawn that “a free-of-cost treatment is being provided to all 23 injured.”
He said that the affected building was being demolished and the debris was being removed.
Initially, it was not clear whether it was an act of terrorism or some other incident. Only a day before, five people were injured in an IED explosion near Shireen Jinnah bus terminal.
The director general of Rangers, Major General Omer Ahmed Bukhari, who also visited the spot earlier in the day, told reporters that the blast in Shireen Jinnah Colony and today’s explosion were being probed.
When asked whether it was an act of terrorism, he said it was too early to comment on the nature of the blast. However, he said the people of Karachi should not fear.
Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani along with the city commissioner and Administrator Iftikhar Shallwani also visited the spot.
He said that the building was being demolished because it was not safe for people to live here.
He said that the government would provide relief to the victims and those who have been displaced due to the blast.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah sought a detailed report from the commissioner.
Separately, Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar directed the SSP East to submit a report about the incident.
Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2020