KARACHI: True to their declared stance of keeping liberal democratic parties out of the election process, militants continued to mount pressure on MQM and PPP and attacked the election office of the former in Karachi and the office of a candidate of the latter in Nushki in Balochistan on Thursday.
The acts of terror claimed at least eight lives in Sindh and Balochistan, casting a pall of gloom over election activities across the country.
In Karachi, the MQM announced a day of mourning across Sindh on Friday. Traders said they would to keep their businesses shut and schools announced a day of closure and rescheduled some exams.
The first attack of the day took place in Nushki when a hand-grenade was hurled at the election office of a PPP candidate. A tribesman was killed in the attack.
The attack on the MQM election office, second in the city in three days, claimed six lives and left over 12 people, including a woman, injured.
In yet another terror attack, some elements opened fire
on a Rangers’ post in Sindh’s second largest city, Hyderabad. A Rangers sepoy died in the attack.
In Karachi, an explosive-rigged motorcycle was blown up by remote control in North Nazimabad.
The proscribed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Speaking to Dawn.Com on telephone from an unspecified location, TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said his organisation had targeted the MQM as it had vowed to do so.
The TTP had threatened to attack the PPP, Awami National Party and MQM.
But MQM spokesman Wasay Jalil expressed his party’s resolve of not leaving the ground and to take part in the May 11 elections.
MQM chief Altaf Hussain strongly condemned the blast.
A rescue worker said one injured man and some human limbs were strewn across the site.
A severed head was also found, police said.
“The blast took place in Nusrat Bhutto Colony at a corner of a narrow street near the MQM office which was closed at the time,” District Central SSP Amir Farooqui told Dawn.
The brunt of the explosion was borne by a nearby laundry. The owner of the shop and his two sons were killed in the blast, SSP Farooqui said.
The officer pointed out that the scene of the blast lay close to Kunwari Colony, not far from an area considered to be a Taliban stronghold.
“Initial findings by the bomb disposal unit suggested that around 5 to 6 kg of explosives was used in the bombing. The explosives were laced with ball-bearings detonated through a remote control device,” he said.
Adjoining small shops and houses and vehicles parked in the area were damaged by the blast.
There was utter confusion at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital’s emergency unit where people were frantically searching for their loved ones, while others were comforting their relatives.
Distressing scenes were seen in the hospital’s mortuary where relatives, grieving over the bodies, were being comforted by members of their families and friends.
In a similar blast on April 23, four people were killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off outside an MQM election camp at People’s Chowrangi in North Nazimabad.