KARACHI, July 23: A motorcycle bomb exploded near the Chinese consulate in Clifton on Monday, leaving a Rangers soldier and two other persons injured.

In the evening, another motorcycle also rigged with explosives was found in the parking area of a nearby institute.

The attack took place in a supposedly high security area, Clifton Block 4, described by police as ‘red zone’, where a cluster of foreign missions are located. A string of IED explosions have taken place in the city, primarily targeting the paramilitary force, over the past fortnight.

Additional IG (Karachi) Iqbal Mehmood said it appeared that the consulate was not the target and the blast had been carried out apparently to cause panic.

However, he didn’t rule out the possibility that the blast could be linked to the string of attacks on Rangers.

Another senior police officer said there was the possibility of involvement of the group opposed to the Zulfikarabad city project which was likely to be taken up by the Chinese.

On the other hand, some security officials were of the view that it could be the handiwork of elements linked to the separatist Baloch Liberation Army.

The blast took place around at 11.45am in the street behind the consulate, close to the parking area of the Pakistan Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management.

Someone had parked the motorcycle with explosives near a barrier about 70 metres from the consulate, SSP (Karachi South) Asif Ajaz said. “The place where the blast took place is a parking area shared by the institute, an advertising agency and a bungalow,” he said.

Mohammad Irfan, 27, of Rangers, and two other people were injured.

Police, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel were posted at the consulate, the official said.

Two motorcycles and a parked car were damaged.

Around 700g of explosives was used, without ball bearings or other lethal objects, the said.

Police checked the particulars of the motorcycle used in the blast and found that it had not been reported stolen or snatched.

The owner in whose name it was registered had sold it a few months ago, police said.

CCTV footage obtained from a nearby bungalow showed the suspect leaving the area after parking the two-wheeler, they said.

A few hours later, another motorcycle found parked near the parking of the institute raised suspicion because it remained there till the evening.

Police called the bomb disposal unit which found about 3kg of explosives concealed in it. The explosives were attached with a remote control mechanism, police said.

According to police, both the motorcycles had been purchased from the same showroom on Akbar Road on July 19.

Initial investigation suggested that the second motorcycle might also have been parked in the morning, but apparently the explosives didn’t go off.