KARACHI: A case has been lodged against unknown men for perpetrating terrorist attack on Sindh High Court Justice Maqbool Baqar's motorcade on Burns Road, which resulted in the deaths of at least 12 people, mostly security-men.
The Aram Bagh Police registered the First Inspection Report (FIR) under Sections 3/4 of the Explosives Act and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act against unidentified attackers on the complaint of a policeman who was himself badly injured in the Wednesday morning bombing.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)later claimed to have carried out the attack on the judge.
Earlier on Wednesday morning a powerful bomb exploded in the heart of Karachi on Wednesday, killing nine people, including eight security personnel, and wounding senior Sindh High Court (SHC) Judge Maqbool Baqar, 56, who was the main target of the attack.
At least 14 others, including six policemen and two women, were also wounded, they said.An improvised explosive device (IED), weighing around seven kilograms, hidden in a motorcycle, exploded as Justice Baqar’s car and his security vehicles were passing through Burns Road near Jamia Masjid Hanfia at around 8:25am, investigators said.
The blast destroyed the judge’s car and damaged two police vehicles and several nearby buildings, including the mosque and several shops, witnesses said.Six policemen, two paramilitary Rangers and the driver of Justice Baqar’s car, who were critically wounded in the bombing, succumbed to their injuries in hospital.
Three of the policemen killed in the explosion belonged to Deputy Inspector of Police AD Khwaja’s escort van, which was also passing from the same place at the time of the explosion.
The victims have been identified as driver Saleem, Head Constable Jameel, constables Laiq Ahmed, Nasir Zaman, Khalid Mehmood, Amjad Khan, Niaz Muhammad and paramilitary Rangers personnel Ashraf and Hawaldar Qayyum.
Justice Baqar, a highly respected judge for his honesty and uprightness, was on his way to the SHC from his home when his convoy was hit by the bomb, police said.Police suspect that the blast was carried out by militants belonging to a banned sectarian terrorist group.
A six-member team, headed by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Dr Ameer Sheikh, has been formed to investigate the case. The Sindh Police have also asked the provincial government to announce a reward of Rs1.0 million for those providing information leading to the arrest of the terrorists responsible for the attack.
No CCTV camera was installed near the blast site, investigators said.Soon after the explosion, police cordoned off the crime scene and moved the victims to the Civil and Aga Khan hospitals. The bomb disposal squad and forensic experts also combed the blast site for clues.
Doctors said that Justice Baqar sustained injuries to his jaw, right hand and ankle, but remains stable after surgery. SSP Chaudhry Aslam said it was too early to confirm the involvement of any group, but suspected that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi's Asif Chotoo Group might be involved in the attack.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Raja Umer Khattab of the Counter Terrorism Wing (CTW) said the IED was a locally made explosive, with ball bearings and nuts and bolts. “It is too early to confirm the involvement of any specific group as Justice Maqbool Baqar has been hearing several high-profile cases of terrorism in which mostly members belonging to the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are involved.”
The funeral prayers of the martyred police officials were offered at the Garden Headquarters of the Sindh Police which were attended by the SHC Chief Justice Musheer Alam, Inspector General of Police, Sindh, Shahid Nadeem Baloch, and senior officials of the Sindh Police from the CID, Crime Branch, Additional IG Karachi and others.
IGP Sindh Shahid Baloch saluted the martyrs and saidsuch cowardly attacks would not weaken the resolve of his force for fighting the terrorists. He promised compensation for the victims’ families.
He also ordered foolproof security for the judges of superior and subordinate courts, lawyers and office bearers of the bar councils. He also ordered increased operations against the militants and efforts to arrest the people involved in the attack.
Meanwhile, lawyers of the Lahore Bar Association strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Justice Baqar and held a strike. The Pakistan Bar Council, the Punjab Bar Council and all groups of lawyers strongly condemned the incident and demanded of the government to take effective steps and make a comprehensive plan for security purposes.
Agencies add: The TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan claimed responsibility for both attacks. “We claim responsibility for the attack on the judge because he used to give verdicts against Islam and Muslims,” the TTP spokesman told AFP from an undisclosed location.
He said the judge was also part of the “secular system” and the attack was completely in line with the Taliban policy to target all those who are part of the system.President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and patron-in-chief of the PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari strongly condemned the bomb blast in Karachi in which precious human lives were lost besides injuries to others including Justice Baqar.
In their separate statements, they prayed that Almighty Allah rest the departed souls in eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved families to bear the loss with equanimity.