By Manzoor Shaikh
At least 37 people were killed in two explosions in Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi on Sunday. Eye witnesses and medics say over 60 people have been injured, many of them are in critical condition.
The explosions took place near a mosque in Abbas Town on Karachi’s Abul Hassan Isphahani Road in the evening.
The locality is inhibited by Shiite Muslims and is located on Pakistan’s one of major highways –Super Highway, connecting Karachi’s port with rest of the country.
The area is flanked by Sohrab Goth, yet another locality inhibited by ethnic Afghans, of them most are Afghan refugees who have made Karachi their permanent home and are one of major players in Pakistan’s sectarian tensions. They are now considered to be illegal immigrants in the city by locals.
Pakistan’s apex court has recently ruled to take action against the illegal immigrants but to no anvil as the civilian government is said to be impotent to take action on the issues that Pakistan’s strong military establishment believes are connected to the country’s national security.
The military is adamant not to take action against the outfits it made and trained to play games in the region especially in Indian- held J&K and Afghanistan.
Now, the military is in war against its local Taliban in north of the country believably on the pressure of the US. Hundreds of soldiers have lost their lives but it still stands far from taking a final action against such groups.
Most of the political parties including the religious political parties of the country support opening talks with the Pakistani Taliban and some are in alliance with them especially in Pakistan’s largest province of Punjab.
Pakistan’s most popular party at the moment—the PML – N—is in electoral alliance with the extremist militant groups which it released huge funds to establish religious seminaries in the province.
Pakistan’s ruling coalition believed to be secular is marred by its bad governance and most of its leaders are facing allegations of taking kickbacks and commissions. It has succeeded to complete its tenure in power through dirty political games. It is facing credibility crisis in its home province of Sindh where its opponents have announced to forge a huge alliance to challenge its support in the upcoming elections due this year.
Karachi’s this locality has been hit thrice before the current one.
A leading Shiite cleric was also killed in a suicide bombing back in 2006.
This time the attack was more ruthless and it gave a look of initial days of Beirut, Lebanon as two blocks of residential buildings have been destroyed. The authorities have got the buildings vacated to ensure safety of the people.
After the incident, the dead and injured were rushed to local hospitals.
The first explosion happened in Abbas Town, outside a mosque.
Initial police reports said a vehicle might have been used for the explosion. The police have found an engine of a vehicle.
The second explosion occurred due to a resultant blast in a gas pipeline. A cloud of smoke was witnessed from the site of the incident. The blasts were heard from far distances.
Several shops and window panes have also been damaged by the explosions and electricity in the area disappeared.
The political parties and the government have condemned the blasts.
Wahdat-ul-Muslmeen and MQM have announced three-day mourning. Some parties have called for a strike.
The Governor Sindh has announced that all educational institutions would remain closed.
Also, the traders of the city said they would keep their businesses off on Monday.
President Asif Ali Zardari has announced Rs. 1.5 million each for the heirs of deceased and Rs. 1 million for the injured. — Manzoor Shaikh