Blasts spark violence in Karachi; four killed
05 March, 2013
KARACHI: Violence broke out in the city on Monday, just a day after the devastating attack, as thousands of people attended funerals for the victims of a bombing that killed 48 people in Abbas Town, a Shia Muslim area of Karachi.
The bomb exploded as worshippers left mosques, and ripped through two apartment blocks, setting one of them on fire and trapping people beneath piles of rubble. Survivors are reportedly being housed temporarily in schools.
On Monday, the Sohrab Goth vicinity turned into battlefield when four participants of the burial procession were killed, while more than 40, including Rangers' personnel, were injured. At least eight vehicles were also torched in the Sohrab Goth area, as members of the processions turned violent. This instigated the owners of three vehicles to open fire on the participants, two of whom died on the spot.
More then two-dozen people also received bullet injuries in the firing incident, and were shifted to a nearby hospital, where two of them also succumbed.
"Gun-wielding arsonists and violent vandals are on the loose everywhere. Various areas have plunged into total chaos," a private news channel quoted one of its sources as saying. Sources said that heavy gunfire had walloped Sohrab Goth and lawmen were nowhere to be found.
They also said that the audacious gunmen even targeted a Rangers vehicle, which arrived at the scene later. As a result, at least five paramilitary troops, including an officer, who had come to take stock of the situation were injured, said a Rangers spokesman.
Firing was also reported from Ancholi and Indus Plaza
Keeping in view the deteriorating law and order situation, the government of Sindh banned pillion riding from Tuesday midnight.
Earlier, thousands of men, women and children, many of them wearing black headbands, beat their chests and heads and sobbed as eight coffins passed by at the start of the first funeral, an AFP reporter said.
Traffic was light as educational institutions, businesses and markets closed after the local government announced one day of mourning and Shia groups three days of mourning for those killed in Sunday's bombing. At least 4,000 people turned out for the funerals, police officers estimated.
Senior police surgeon Dr Aslam Pechuho told our sources that at least 48 people were killed and about 200 injured in the blast.
He informed that 33 bodies and 11 injured had been shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), 14 bodies and three injured to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) and one body to Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK). He said that another 80 injured were taken to the Agha Khan Hospital, 45 to Liquated National Hospital and 50 to Patel Hospital.
He said that at lest forty victims had been identified, while identification process for the remaining eight was underway.
Edhi spokesman Anwar Kazmi said that 29 bodies were kept at the Edhi morgue, of which 24 had been handed over to heirs.
On the other hand, police used batons to disperse the members of the Shia community who had gathered at Teen Talwar, Clifton, to stage a sit-in protest against the bombing –the deadliest in Karachi since at least 43 people died in an attack on Shias in December 2009.
There has been no claim of responsibility. But suspicion falls on banned Sunni extremist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has claimed major attacks on Shias in Quetta.
Meanwhile, investigation teams have reportedly collected evidences from the crime scene, but the law enforcing agencies have not yet found any clue about the explosive-laden vehicle used in attack.
According to details, Rangers conducted targeted raids in different areas of the city and arrested 35 suspects, including four alleged members of banned outfits.
"Terrorists are killing us but the government is not taking any action to eliminate them," said Mohsin Ali, 29, whose elder brother was killed. "The government should provide us with arms to deal with terrorists if their agencies are unable to bring them to book," said Azam Khan, a Sunni Muslim who said he had taken several of the dead to hospital. "We will vote for those who eliminate these terrorists. We are not ready to be hoodwinked by empty slogans any more."