Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Terror Strikes the Financial Capital

After enjoying two years of relative peace, Karachi has been rudely dragged back on the mutilated map of terror. A deadly blast in the middle of the Muharram procession on M.A. Jinnah road has caused chaos and mayhem.

The attack has come as a rude shock to the citizens of Karachi and the Sindh province who had been witnessing horrific scenes of similar carnage perpetrated by extremists in the mosques and markets of Punjab and NWFP, and had, for the last couple of years, been somewhat spared from the madness that the terrorists have been displaying in the country, especially ever since 2003.

The attack brings economy to the stand still as Public transport is out of service and most shops and petrol pumps are shut and a very thin transport was seen plying on the roads. The stocks fell the most in three weeks. The benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index lost 108.3, or 1.2 percent, to 9,313.90 as of 9:34 a.m. local time, the most since Dec. 8. The measure is valued at 8.7 times estimated earnings for this year, the lowest in Asia.

The loss in the incidents of blazes has been estimated at Rs30 billion, Geo News reported Tuesday.  All Pakistan Memon Federation Association President Ahmed Chinnai demanded the government to pay damages for the losses suffered in the wake of yesterday’s blast. He said the meeting of traders’ brethren has been called at 3pm today at Chamber of Commerce and Industry to put together the estimates of the losses. Over 10,000 jobs, Rs30bn lost to arson in Karachi 

Firefighter found ‘obvious’ signs of chemicals used in the arson, lending credence to the suspicions of traders and investigators who see the arson as a premeditated and well-planned strike after a deadly attack on the Muharram procession. 

“There are visible signs of phosphorus used in the fires,” said an official at the city government’s fire department. “Further description of the particular chemical used in the arson can only be established through proper chemical examination, which has not been ordered from any side, including the investigation agencies.”

Post-bombing riots in Karachi “too well organised” to be spontaneous France24 reports. “The arsonists might be part of a grander strategy to spark fresh ethnic violence in Karachi, It is almost logistically impossible to set this much on fire without pre planning it.” said France24 Observer Faisal Kapadia.

In the footage, miscreants busy in setting police mobiles and other vehicles can be seen clearly. The miscreants kept breaking in the shops, looting and setting the shope on fire. The arsonists didnt allow the CDGk fire brigade vehicles to reach the burning shops. They damaged some of the vehicles and beat the staff due to which fire extinguishing activities could not be started. The arsonists remain busy for three hours after the blast and no one stopped them. The arsonists were equipped with explosives and chemicals accelerants to set on fire.

CCTV Footage of the Attack  

Meanwhile, Ten people have so far been arrested on loot and arson charges.

With each passing day the investigators seem to have come closer to the opinion that the Karachi attack was not a suicide blast. Karachi police had sought the assistance of the Peshawar police to ascertain the nature of the explosion. AIG (bomb disposal squad) Shafqatullah Malik of the Peshawar police, who visited the scene of the blast last week, is due to give his report to the Karachi police during the next 24 hours.

Voice of America reports that an unknown Taliban group had claimed the responsibility of the attack and had warned of more attacks in coming 10 days, But the mainstream TTP denied the involvement in the attack.

India was behind the wave of terror bombings across Pakistani cities during the 1980s, it was also behind the Karachi's first ever bomb attack at the Bohri Bazar. The Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir has also directly accused India of masterminding the terror act on Shiite procession yesterday in Muzzafarabad, the first of its kind in Azad Kashmir.

Click here to read the RAW Agent journal

Turkey has condemned the attack in Karachi "The attack, which targeted people attending the Ashura, once again showed very clearly the heinous face of terrorism," Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. The ministry said Turkey was committed to show solidarity with "the Pakistani people and government against terrorism which we consider as the common enemy of humanity."

US Embassy in Islamabad has also condemned the attack.

May 2005:
Attack on the Sunni Religious procession at Nishter Park
Oct 2007: Attack on the Political procession of late former PM Benazir Bhutto at Karsaz
Dec 2009: Attack on the Shiite Religious procession at MA Jinnah Road


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