Bomb blast in Karachi
KARACHI, June 8: As many as 1,110 casualties in about 140 blasts in the metropolis have been reported since 1990, the data compiled by Dawn shows.
Among the victims, 199 people died in the blasts of varied intensity and 51 of them lost their lives in the last month alone during which the city witnessed some of the worst incidents of bloodshed and violence in a decade.
The two suicide bombings - one at the Hyderi mosque and the other at the Imambargah Ali Raza - in May are just next to the only suicide bombing (Nov 6, 2000) reported so far in Karachi, or perhaps in the country.
Though there are instances where places of worship had been targeted in the past, the distinguishing factor in the blasts at these particular spots, the mosque and Imambargah, was that the bombs were detonated inside the sacred places.
The unprecedented trend sent a wave of shock and anguish among the followers of all sects and the feelings were manifested in the prompt public reaction over the next few days.
It was on May 31 that a bomb went off inside the Imambargah Ali Raza on M. A. Jinnah Road while Maghribain prayers were in progress. The blast took a heavy toll killing many faithful on the spot but the figure till date has touched the mark of 24.
There were another 30 persons injured in the incident. Initial investigation and evidences make police believe that it was an incident of suicide bombing. The tragedy sparked off widespread violence throughout the city.
Just a few days back, on May 26, two car bombs at almost same place - in front of the Pak American Cultural Centre on Fatima Jinnah Road - went off with an interval of about half an hour. A policeman was killed and 30 people, most them press photographers sustained injuries in the incident.
The first booby-trap car (Honda City) was blown up with a magnet-bearing bomb that was stuck with the vehicle's body. As police and the mediamen were discharging their duties at the scene, another car parked nearby blew up, killing the police guard of Clifton's TPO.
The officer himself was seriously injured along with three press photographers. It transpired that the number plate of the car was fake. On May 25, a parcel bomb exploded in the vicinity of KPT, killing three persons, all labourers, and injured another three.
The first suicide bombing had been carried on May 7 during Jumma prayers at the 1894 mosque named Hyderi Masjid. The bomb devastated its main hall as it exploded inside the mosque while faithful were offering prayers.
The mosque is located within the historic Sindh Madressatul Islam complex. Fourteen people died and 90 others sustained injuries in the blast. The death toll rose to 23 in the next few days with nine of those injured succumbing to their serious wounds.
The first blast of the year had taken place outside Avari Tower building on January 15. Several policemen, Clifton's TPO Munir Shaikh and photographers were among the 12 people injured in the explosion. A grenade had exploded outside the premises of the Holy Trinity Church first, and the devastating blast in a Suzuki (Hi-roof) happened next.
On April 10, a young man died when a car blew up near the Golf Club in DHA during a concert where an Indian singer, Sonu Nigum, was performing. The young victim was son of a police official.
The first bomb blast of 2003 had taken place on February 3. The bomb went off outside the PSO House in Clifton, killing a fee-collector of charged-parking contractor. In May 2003, there was a series of cracker explosions at 21 petrol stations across the city. Five people were injured.
On July 22, 2003, two persons died when a bomb went off at the entrance of the Kawish Crown Plaza on Sharea Faisal. On September 22, 2003, another explosion rocked the 10th floor of the same plaza without causing any casualties.
It is noted that terrorists in the past had been using hand grenades to cause a blast and the explosives in most cases appeared to be of Russian origin. The grenades were hurled at the targets, including mosques, Imambargahs, police stations, etc. However, in the recent incidents of bomb blast, locally made explosives are being used.
In their apparent bid to cause maximum possible number of casualties and highest amount of scare, terrorists select crowded and secured places like major hospitals, places of worship, police stations, etc., as their target.
During the past few decades, the city courts, stock exchange building and newspapers offices in the city also came under attack. Explosive devices used to be planted in garbage dumps and junk shops in many incidents whereas in some cases time bombs and plastic explosives weighing one-two kilograms, attached with detonator, were used.
A similar device had gone off outside the office of the district East police chief on May 5, 2000 leaving one person dead and six others injured. In the blast which took place on Sept 24, 1999, a home-made pipe bomb was used to cause a blast outside the civil hospital. Several vehicles parked outside the hospital were damaged.
In several incidents minors playing outside their houses in different localities of the city were injured when they picked up or touched a booby-trap device. One of the most vulnerable targets selected once by terrorists appeared to be public transport means.
Bombs were placed or concealed in mini-buses plying on busy routes to cause heavy casualties and damage. Some of the major incidents of bomb blasts since 1990 included the series of explosion in the city on October 10, 1991. Four persons were killed and 50 others injured in the blasts at four sensitive and strategic points.
The powerful devices went off one after the other within a radius of two kilometres. The first blast occurred at the Central Police Office followed by those at the Sindh Secretariat, CIA Centre (Saddar) and the old KDA building opposite Burnes Garden.
On August 18, 1992, three Navy personnel were killed and 43 injured when three hand-grenades, allegedly in possession of one of the victims, exploded in the passenger enclosure of Keamari.
Two Bangladeshi immigrants were killed and five others injured when a home-made bomb went off, in a junk dealer shop in Moosa Goth, North Nazimabad, on Oct 10, 1992. About a month later, two persons were killed and 16 injured when two high-intensity explosions ripped through the usually crowded Urdu Bazaar on November 12, 1992.
In most unusual modus operandi, attackers used a parcel bomb which killed superintendent of the Central Jail Karachi Khalid Iqbal. He died on the spot upon opening the parcel delivered through a courier at his residence on March 15, 1993.
Terrorists lobbed a grenade at a bus in North Karachi, killing six people and injuring 22 of the 45 passengers, who were returning from an Imambargah located at Sindhi Hotel area and were on their way to Qasba Colony on July 23, 1994.
Ten people were killed and 28 others injured when a powerful bomb exploded outside a mosque after Jumma prayers in Malir on March 3, 1995. On April 30, 1995, a projectile exploded at a junk dealer's shop in SITE, claiming four lives. The then Bomb Disposal Squad chief, Mr Moinuddin, had described the device as 'heat projectile shell' similar to an infantry heat HMX-TNT (84mm) rocket.
A 60-year-old sweeper died when a home-made crude bomb went off in her hands in Kalakot area on Sept 9, 1995. The victim, Rehmat Bibi, was sweeping Barkati Compound in the locality when she found a garbage bag containing the explosive device.
The city had witnessed a spate of rocket attacks in the '90s also but no major loss of life or property had occurred in the incident. On June 1, 1995, two rockets were fired at the New Karachi police station. Two policemen were slightly injured. On the same day, two powerful blasts rocked the Sindh Assembly and Naval Colony.
Seven rockets hit the Sindh Secretariat building destroying several offices. Though the attack caused much damage to the building, it did not cause casualties. On Nov 14, 1995, 10 (RPG) rockets were fired at the district South police offices.
Most of the rockets missed their targets. One of the attackers was killed in a shootout with police. On Jan 8, 1996, a powerful bomb ripped through a jampacked bus on Sharea Faisal, killing seven passengers and wounding 35 others.
The ill-fated bus had started its journey from Saddar and was heading towards Gulshan-i-Hadeed when the blast occurred. A powerful bomb exploded outside the offices of an Urdu daily on March 4, 1997. No major casualties were reported.
On Nov 2, 1997, principal of the Jamiatul Uloom Al-Islamiyya, Binnori Town, Dr Habibullah Mukhtar and one of his colleagues were burnt to death when two motorcycles hurled an explosive device in their vehicle at Business Recorder Road.
Seven persons were killed and 26 injured when a powerful bomb exploded in a shop at Al-Asif Square near Sohrab Goth. Two persons were injured when two locally-made explosive devices, one planted in daily Dawn's office and the other under a car in front of the nearby Saifee House, went off with an interval of about half-an-hour.
Two passenger were killed and 18 others injured when a time bomb exploded in a Korangi-bound bus near Mehmoodabad on Oct 8, 1999. Nine persons were killed and 25 others injured when a bomb planted in a sugarcane juice shop at the intersection of Shahrah-i-Liaquat and Mohammad Hashim Khan Road, near Aram Bagh, went off on Jan 1, 2000.
Three persons were killed and 23 injured when a blast rocked the convention organized by a jihadi outfit in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on Oct 22, 2000. On Nov 6, 2000, the first ever suspected suicide bombing took place at the office of Nawa-i-Waqt and The Nation near Guru Mandir roundabout. Investigators had said: "A woman having fastened a belt around her waist to hold the bomb went into the newspaper's office and detonated the device."
Her body blew up in pieces whereas two of the newspaper employees also died in the blast. Later, experts came out with the theory that the woman might have been trapped by the attackers who detonated the remote-controlled device.
The first blast of 2002 had taken place on the New Year night injuring eight persons at Area-51 near Marina Club, DHA. Several vehicles parked inside the club were damaged in the explosion.
During early months of the same year, a new technology was used by the terrorists who used two mobile phone sets to detonate a parcel bomb sent to a retired army official and delivered at his residence in Clifton.
Experts said that one of the mobile phones was used to play the ring, the second one, attached with some explosive substance, to detonate the device. As the parcel exploded, there was nobody present in the room where driver of the army official had placed it.
On May 8, 2002, fourteen people, including 11 Frenchmen, were killed and 18 others injured by a suicide bomber who pulled up his car near the Pakistan Navy's bus carrying the Frenchmen. The blast occurred in front of the Sheraton Hotel on Club Road.
The suicide bomber was driving a 1981 Corolla which was blown into pieces. On June 14, 2002, 10 people died and 51 injured when a vehicle blew up in front of the US Consulate causing massive destruction.
Initially, it was believed that a vehicle carrying four women and belonging to a driving institute was the actual booby-trap. However, foreign investigation agencies later came out with the theory that the bomb was planted in another vehicle, a Suzuki pick-up, which was being driven by two men.
On Dec 4, 2002, a blast occurred at the residence of the honorary consul of Macedonia. It caused widespread damage within the vicinity. On Dec 19, 2002, four people died when an explosion took place in a house in Korangi. The Sindh IGP had told newsmen that one of the most wanted terrorists with international links, Asif Ramzi, was among the four.