KARACHI: Investigators probing the Thursday night improvised explosive device (IED) blast in the Saddar area believed that a vehicle of the Pakistan Coast Guard (PCG) passing through the area at the time of the explosion was the actual target of the attack that claimed the life of a passer-by.
Raja Umar Khattab of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) told Dawn that the remote-controlled IED was fitted with a bicycle and the suspect(s) detonated it when their ‘target’ was passing through the area.
He said it was possible that the actual target was a PCG vehicle that sustained damage in the blast. He said no one in the vehicle suffered injuries.
“The IED blast did not cause much damage to the official vehicle as its impact was absorbed by a garbage trolley and a Suzuki car parked there,” believed the CTD investigator.
He said that it was a locally made device prepared with a ‘plastic canister’ and ball bearings.
Investigators say actual target was Coast Guard vehicle; case registered against proscribed SRA
About the responsibility claimed by the outlawed Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA), the CTD official said it was being taken ‘seriously’ and the involvement of the separatist elements behind the blast could not be ruled out.
A late evening report said that the CTD police registered a case against “mastermind and facilitators of SRA” on behalf of the state on the complaint of Preedy SHO Sajjad Khan. According to the content of the FIR, the SRA through the bicycle blast wanted to spread terror in the country, to achieve various targets and gain media publicity.
DIG-South Sharjeel Kharal told Dawn that the banned separatist outfit had claimed responsibility through social media but police were probing it.
He said they did not think that the vehicle of any law enforcement agencies was the target.
He said the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) had given its report about the explosion.
He said while the CTD was probing the incident, the district police and crime scene unit were also helping the investigators in obtaining CCTV footage and other evidence from the scene.
According to the BDS report, “About 2.5 kilogramme explosive material with ball bearings planted on a bicycle was detonated.”
“A passing Toyota double-cabin van (G-4935) of Pakistan Coast Guards was partially damaged while two persons aboard including a driver remained safe and sound,” according to a police report about the incident reviewed by Dawn on Friday.
As a result of the explosion, 10 persons were injured and one died on the spot. All the injured persons were rushed to the nearby Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where they were given medical treatment. Out of the 10 injured, eight were discharged after minor treatment while two injured — Sheroz, 24, and Ijaz Ali, 31 — are still admitted at the JPMC, it added.
The police immediately cordoned off the blast site and BDS officials inspected the scene. Experts of the CTD police also visited the area and collected evidence including video footage of surrounding areas and further investigation was under way expeditiously.
The police said that nine cars and eight motorcycles were damaged in the blast.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Friday visited the JPMC and inquired after the health of the injured persons.
He directed the JPMC executive director Dr Shahid Rasool for provision of the best treatment to the injured.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2022