KARACHI: As many as twelve people including six women and three children killed and several others wounded in a terror activity on Independence Day in Pakistan’s economic hub – Karachi on Saturday night as what the law enforcement agencies believed it was a ‘hand grenade attack’.
The terrorist attack occurred when the nation was celebrating the 75th Independence Day of Pakistan. Strict security measures were taken by police and Rangers across the city with enhanced patrolling and snap checking following the potential threats of terrorism. The entire day passed peacefully with no untoward incident; however, a major explosion was heard at around 9:30pm in the Mawach Goth area and its surrounding, alarming the law enforcement agencies and creating panic and fear in the area.
Ambulances from different welfare organizations shifted the casualties to Civil Hospital. Five women, three children and three men were among the deceased while over a dozen people were wounded in the incident. A heavy contingent of the law enforcement personnel including police and Rangers also cordoned off the crime scene to collect the evidences. Initially, the LEAs claimed cylinder explosion as the cause of explosion; however, few hours later, the police confirmed it was a terror activity, based on the initial report of the Bomb Disposal Squad. The Bomb Disposal Squad described the device as the “Russian-manufactured grenade – RGD-1”.
“The tragic incident occurred when a family belonging to Swat, were returning to their homes in Sherpao Colony in Landhi from Baldia Town in a mini-truck,” says District West police chief SSP Fida Hussain Janwari. The Karachi police chief Additional IG Imran Yaqoob Minhas also confirmed “lobbing of a hand grenade in the attack. “Nothing could be said at this point in time as to who was behind the attack as the investigations are in preliminary stage. It could be a personal enmity or may be an act of terrorism.” He said the police were also seeking information from Swat, KPK Police from where the affected family had arrived.
The Counter-Terrorism Department also inspected the blast site and confirmed “The hand grenade exploded into the air before dropping in the vehicle,” says CTD’s senior anti-terror officer Raja Umer Khattab. “The assailants were probably on a motorcycle, who targeted the mini truck when the family was returning from a wedding.”
The victims of the tragic bombing were said to be the family members of Awami National Party’s ex-provincial joint secretary Farman Ali Khan and Mairaj Swati - Jamaat-e-Islami’s ex-UC Nazim Daud Chowrangi area in Karachi. Mairaj Khan’s wife and a daughter are said to be among the deceased.
The condition of the six injured persons was stated to be critical while the doctors were trying to save their lives. “Last week, a wedding ceremony was held in our family. We went there for the traditional norm (Chohti ki Rasam) at Baldia Town’s Pareshan Chowk and were returning after the ‘rasm and dinner’,” says the victims’ relatives. “A total 25 people, majority of them women and children were travelling in the mini-truck.”
No case was registered till the time the story was being filed, but the police were discussing registering the case under the Anti-Terrorism Act. No terror outfit so far has claimed the responsibility of the attack.
Interior Minister Shaikh Rasheed sought a detailed report from the DG Rangers and IGP Sindh. Expressing deep sorrow over the incident, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah also directed police and district administration to provide all possible medical assistance to the victims and their other family members. The newly-appointed Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab also contacted deputy commissioner Keamari and sought details of the tragic incident from him.
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