KARACHI, July 14: The Sindh chief of the Tehrik-i-Islami and provincial vice-president of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, Allama Hasan Turabi, and his young nephew were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the religious leader’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal house on Friday.
The severed head of the clean-shaven suicide bomber was later found lying close to the slain leader’s house.
Three police guards were injured in the attack. A woman was also struck by pellets from the explosives as she hung the washing out on the balcony.
Allama Turabi had earlier survived an attempt on his life when an explosive-laden pushcart rammed into his vehicle on Abulhasan Ishapani Road on April 6. He had then blamed outlawed militant organisation Lashkar-i-Jhangvi for the attack.
Police said Allama Turabi returned home on Friday after attending an anti-Israel demonstration organised by the MMA. His four-wheeler was routinely escorted by a police mobile.
As Allama Turabi’s car pulled up near the gate of his house in Abbas Town, the police escort stopped at the entrance of the narrow lane. His 17-year-old nephew, Ali Turabi, waited for him at the gate.
Investigators quoted a police guard, an eyewitness to the attack, as recalling that a big explosion occurred just as police guards returned from the gate after escorting Allama Turabi.
They said Ali died on the spot while Allama Turabi was rushed to the Patel Hospital in his escort police mobile by his guards after removing his badly damaged vehicle from the narrow street. Allama Turabi died shortly afterwards.
The city police chief, Niaz Ahmed Siddiqui, told Dawn that the suicide bomber, clad in a robe used by religious scholars, waited for Allama Turabi.
“The attacker called Allama Turabi as he entered the gate. Just as the religious scholar stopped, the suicide bomber, tearing off his robe, lurched forward and detonated the explosives strapped to his body. The bomber is believed to have worn a jacket containing explosives weighing around two and a half kilos. The explosives contained numerous pellets,” he explained.
Allama Turabi was accompanied by seven guards.
The investigators believe that the suicide bomber was assisted by another man. Police found an unexploded hand-grenade with its pin taken out, near the site of the blast. They also found the bomber’s severed limbs.
They were hopeful about identifying the bomber whose severed head was almost unscathed. They added that he looked 17 or 18 years old.
A senior police official said intelligence reports suggested that the suicide attack was the handiwork of a group of militants from Punjab and the NWFP. He doubted if Nadra would have any data on the suicide bomber.
Allama Turabi’s body was taken to Mehfil-i-Shah-i-Khurasan. His funeral prayers will be held at Numaish after the Zuhr prayers on Saturday.
Enraged youths took to the streets as news of Allama Turabi’s assassination spread. They set fire to buses and pelted public transport with stones. A shopkeeper was killed in the ensuing violence.