KARACHI: At least 13 police commandoes were martyred and 55 others including 11 civilians were injured as police bus was targeted with a remote controlled bomb blast near Razzaqabad Police Training Centre on National Highway in Latifabad area of Karachi. The condition of 11 injured persons is critical. Nearly 25 to 30 kilogram explosive material was used in the attack. The police personnel were going to perform duty at the Bilawal House and Sindh cultural festival. The killed personnel belong to Karachi and other parts of Sindh province. The killed include Muhammad Ali, Dost Ali, Sajid Ali, Yasin, Adil, Aleem, Gulshan, Salim Sarfraz and others.
Initially, police claimed that it was suicide bomb blast and a suspected suicide bomber has rammed his explosive-laden high-roof van into police bus near a training center in Razzaqabad area.
But when the Bomb Disposal Squad visited the site and collected scattered evidences, it differed with the previous statements, saying that the explosion was carried out through a remote-controlled IED fitted on the high-roof. It was blown up when the police bus came nearer.
The bus had 55 commandos from Special Security Unit of the Sindh Police. Additional IG Police Shahid Hayat while talking to media said that the police personnel were going to perform their routine duty at Hassan Square when their bus was targeted with the remote control bomb blast.
The dead and injured were shifted to Jinnah hospital and other local hospitals. Many of the survivors are reported to be in critical condition. Doctors express fear that the death toll may rise.
The Bomb Disposal Squad arrived at the site and collected scattered evidences. Police and Rangers sealed the area within one kilometer.
Head of the government Jinnah Hospital, Seemi Jamali told media that some 54 injured were shifted to the hospital, of them 11 are in critical state. She also told that the policemen received injuries on their heads, legs and abdomens. She said that the injured person received injuries of metal parts. She said smell of explosive material was coming from the bodies of the dead and injured persons.
SSP Farooq Awan, who heads a special investigative unit, said the bus was making a U-turn after leaving a training centre when a small van struck it.
However a CID official refuted the claim that the bombing was carried out by a suicide attacker and said that no body parts were found from the site to support the notion. The official added that blast appeared to have been carried out using a remote-controlled detonator.
According to initial reports, 25 to 30 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.
Police said that more than 50 officers were boarding the vehicle at the time of attack, which occurred in the eastern district of Karachi close to the national highway.
“Around 50-55 policemen were boarding the bus and going somewhere for duty from their training centre,” Iqbal said adding that police suspect it was a suicide attack. The rear portion of the targeted bus was completely destroyed in the explosion. One of the inured police cop said that he was sitting behind the driver and suddenly something struck from backside of the bus.
Moreover, additional contingents of police, Rangers and the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) reached the spot and cordoned off the area as a probe into the incident went underway. The intensive blast was heard in a radius of two kilometres.
“We are investigating this attack from all angles and who had the most to lose by the forces’ actions and want harm upon them. But the forces will not be demoralised and will work more aggressively,” Sharjeel Memon, minister for information in the southern province of Sindh which includes Karachi, told reporters.
Meanwhile chief minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah contacted IG police and additional IG police over telephone and directed them to take concrete steps for the safety and security of the people and for stopping the terrorist incidents. He also condemned the attack on the police.
Meanwhile banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility of Karachi explosion targeting a police bus near Razzaqabad police training college in Karachi’s Shah Latif Town in which 13 persons were killed and 55 others, including civilians, were wounded.
Speaking to a private TV channel TTP Spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was a revenge attack for killing militants.
He said TTP workers were victims to targeted killings in Mardan, Swabi, Karachi and Peshawar, adding that the attack was in response to that.
“Our defensive war will continue until an agreement is reached on a ceasefire” between negotiation teams representing the government and the Taliban, he said. He said
Shahidullah claimed that 20 accomplices have been killed in police encounters in one month adding that TTP will continue to retaliate in ‘defense’ after any attack on Taliban until a formal ceasefire is announced.
Taliban spokesman also said that it is essential for government to stop such activities for the success of negotiation process hoping that the measures to stop attacks on Taliban will be taken immediately.
Shahidullah Shahid claimed that the interview given to foreign publication was published out of context.
He further said that he never used the word ‘caliph’ for Mullah Fazlullah and that there’s no mention of continuation of attacks in the interview.
Meanwhile President Syed Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Governor Sindh Dr Eshratul Ebad Khan, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, former president Asif Ali Zardari, Opposition Leader in National Assembly Syed khurshid Shah, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Shairf, Amir Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) Maulana Fazalur Rehman, Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Syed Munawar Hassan, ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, Jamaatud Dawa Amir Professor Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, JI Secretary General Liaquat Baloch and other leaders have condemned the terrorist attack on police bus in Karachi and offered sympathies with the families of the killed persons. President and prime minister have ordered the local administration to provide best medical facilities to injured persons.
Meanwhile Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has summoned report of the incident from the IG Sindh Shahid Nadeem Baloch.