11 killed in blast near ANP’s election office
* More than 45 people, including children, injured in Mominabad as explosives go off minutes before ANP candidate Bashir Jan’s address
By Saud Khan
KARACHI: A bomb blast at an election gathering of the Awami National Party (ANP) in Orangi Town on Friday night killed at least 11 people, including a minor, and wounded 45 others.
TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan reportedly claimed responsibility for the blast. According to details, the explosion took place near the ANP election office located in Mominabad area, where party workers had gathered for a public meeting which was to be addressed by ANP leader Bashir Jan. It is the second blast in the time span of 24 hours, for which the TTP has claimed responsibility. Following the blast, leaders and workers of the ANP, law enforcement agencies, rescuers and experts of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) rushed to the spot.
The blast was heard from several kilometres away and damaged nearby shops and houses, witnesses said, while police added it destroyed some 10 cars and a dozen motorcycles. “It was huge blast, I thought it was an earthquake,” resident Gul Ahmed said. “We rushed out and saw smoke, there was blood every where at the blast site, we put the casualties in the private cars and ambulances,” he said. Police spokesman Imran Shaukat described the bomb as an improvised explosive device planted in a Suzuki car.
Victims were shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and Civil Hospital by volunteers and rescuers, while the BDS team cordoned off the area to avoid further harm in case of another expected blast. Those killed in the blast were identified as: Fazal-e-Elahi, Fayyaz Khan, Hamiduallah, Saifullah, Orangzaib Khatak, Anaruallah, Attaur Rehman and Dr Azizuddin. Identities of other deceased are yet to be known. The BDS officials could not ascertain the nature of the blast until the filling of this report, and only speculations were made in this regard. The BDS experts said that at least 15 kilogrammes of explosive was used in the improvised explosive device.
ANP’s leader Shahi Syed announced a peaceful day of mourning across the province and asked transporters and traders to keep their businesses open. He said that workers were being killed to force the ANP to boycott polls, but it would not withdraw from election. He further said that his party will not boycott election despite the killing of its workers. The caretaker government, MQM chief Altaf Hussain, Sindh governor and chief minister condemned the attack. The chief minister directed the Sindh IGP to submit a report of the attack.
Meanwhile, an ANP candidate was attacked in the Old Muzaffarabad Colony, Landhi Town, on Friday. SHO Shabbir Hussain said Abdul Rehman was on his way to an election event when his vehicle was attacked. The ANP leader survived the attack unhurt, however, two children who were passing by received minor injuries. A contingent of law enforcers along with the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) officials reached the site and cordoned off the area.
During initial investigation, the BDS officials said that the bomb was an improvised explosive device (IED), packed with some 200 grammes of explosives as well as ball bearings, nuts and bolts. They said that a cell phone had been used to detonate the bomb. The ANP held the interim government responsible for the attack and asked law enforcers to register a case against top government officials. agencies