Friday, February 05, 2010

Two Bomb Blasts In Karachi

Two bomb blasts have rocked Karachi this afternoon, targeting Shia mourners. The first bomb blast occurred on main Sh-e-Faisal near the Sharah-e-Quaideen junction about an hour and a half ago (around 3.45 p.m. local time). The second bomb occurred outside the emergency entrance of Jinnah Hospital, where incidentally many of the casualties from the earlier blast had been taken. (For those who may not know, Jinnah Hospital is right around the corner from Regent Plaza Hotel on Shahrah-e-Faisal.)

The first bomb was attached to a motorcycle that was driven straight into a public bus that had been carrying many Shias mourners who were heading towards procession marking the chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain. This bomb occurred on an extremely busy area however the roads were fairly empty as today is a public holiday (Kashmir Day). On a normal day the toll could've been much higher.

I was at my office when the blast occurred which is only a few hundred meters away from the blast site and rushed home after the bomb. The biggest worry was that there may be more blasts or that there may be riots. The police was quick to cordon of the road from Tipu Sultan and it was apparent that most people on the road were trying to get home as soon as possible.

As I said, most people here are programmed to consider the possibility of further violence but I dont think anyone imagined that the next target would be a hospital. This is unprecedented for Karachi and perhaps Pakistan.

There are various commentators on television questioning what the police could've done, especially as it now appears that the motorcyclist suicide bomber had been parked on the road, waiting for the bus to arrive. However, I think it is extremely unfair to blame the police for inaction. I don't think what they could've done. Shahrah-e-Faisal is a busy road with plenty of entry and exit points, there is no way in hell you can stop anyone from coming onto it - as it is, the main concern for the police was the procession taking place at M.A. Jinnah road and you can't blame them from deploying their personnel there. As for why the motorcyclist wasn't questioned, this is just plain stupid. The place where the blast took place is a fairly commercial area with many office buildings and on any given day you'll find plenty of cars and motorcycles temporarily parked on side of Shahrah-e-Faisal, waiting for people, dropping of a letter, buying samosas, etc. There's a rangers chowki a few meters away from the bomb site as there's a perpendicular road that leads to a rangers base, the fact that they probably didn't find it weird that a motorcyclist was waiting should help us gauge that this is a fairly routine occurrence.

The talking heads on television need to stop asking inane question and making a fool of themselves, condemn the violence and ask for calm. There's absolutely no point in placing blame, this only flames discontentment and leads to riots.

The second bomb was apparently placed on an ambulance parked near Jinnah Hospital's emergency entrance. Some people have been transferred to Civil Hospital.

The figure for the death toll varies between 22 and 32.

Shia ulemas have called for 3 days of peaceful mourning. I wish they would now wrap up the main procession, you don't want anything else happening.


The idiots on TV are now asking why people entering the hospital area weren't being checked. I don't know, because they were carrying critically injured people? I'm not saying that there may not be valid issues that need to be addressed, but this is not the time.

Its now being reported that Jinnah Hospital's emergency ward is being evacuated and patients are being shifted to other hospitals. This is a big blow as the hospital is perhaps the most equipped to handle emergencies in the city.


Ahsan said...

Sectarian terrorism and MQM-Pasthun-PPP violence. Looks like Karachi is back to the 1990s.

Anonymous said...

it's america's fault.

wYSeGuy said...

Sectarian terrorism and MQM-Pasthun-PPP violence. Looks like Karachi is back to the 1990s.

Blame the military for getting this started again.

Strange how quickly during the Musharraf era the government was quick to cap any violence that occurred in Karachi.

I have a feeling those pricks were responsible for the shit that got started in Lyari.

We do recall, our military machine has a deeply low tolerance for any civilian government longer than six months. Once the cycle of attacks, vengeance and counter-attacks begin, those buggers can sit back and say, "Bloody Civilians."

greywolf said...


you must be kidding me? another conspiracy theory wrapped in army hatred. the pakistan army has better things to do than plan attacks on its own civilian population. the reason the musharraf government was better at capping violence in karachi was because it was better at governing, mainly because musharraf had a lot of leverage in MQM. he knew how to control them. asif zardari and the PPP, not so much. what you have is classic ineptitude. its wishful thinking that the army has something to do with that ineptitude. its time for our 'bloody civilians' to wake up and start acting like they wish to be treated.

Anonymous said...

or is america's presence in pakistan generating instability and thus providing cover for such acts...

Umair Javed said...

I dont know if this is another episode in the larger narrative of terror incidents or if its a culmination of political violence. In either case, the PPP is flexing its muscles again in karachi from its base in Lyari because its in a position to do so. The MQM perceives a threat to its hegemonic control over the city in general and the ANP is reaping the benefits from coming into power in the NWFP by staking a claim in the political pie.

If there was some semblance of peace during the Musharraf era, it was a by-product of the near total control exercised by the Muhajir political elite over the city as opposed to any 'good governance' on their part. Good governance would entail a participatory form of rule that encompasses all major ethno-political groups in the city. Clearly, they still havent resolved the issue of who has a greater claim to call Karachi their own.

Read Oskar Verkaaik for further reference (hehe)

Ash said...

Surprise that none has blamed India on this incident. My request would be to all Pakistanis that as humans please look around and see properity where people dont indulge or support secterianism and other statehood freedom when our own house is in disorder. Join hands and oppose the idea of India as an enemy who will attach or invade us. They havent tried it when the worse happened and they are more towards economic progress.Wwhyy are we like fools chasing some issue that is not so important to us. Is Kashmir freedom more important than our country's prosperity? Let us focus on building our country otherwise we are in line with many other countries that will fall below povery line and will need decades to recover while our neighbours China and India are booming with economic surplus.Our rupee value explans all. Our leaders are selfish and own millions stashed abroad and do we allow them to loot more? Awaken my brtohers and sisters we cannot let them ruin us,.Our enemy is within while they force us to beleive that the enemy is outside.

greywolf said...


muhajir political elite? you are aware of what the percentage of muhajirs in karachi is, right? karachi is no more a city run by 'muhajir political elite.' its a multi dimensional society with various ethnicities and languages. separates itself from the other two or three large cities, which in fact are run by the political elite of that province. during musharrafs era, the MQM and the PPP (and to a lesser extent the JI) had a say in the political process. the local government system in place gave these various participants a voice. now, even that system, which was a guarantor of basic democracy in the country, has been taken away by our 'democrats'. expect their to be some political violence. when you cant raise your voice in the legislature, you will find other ways of doing so.

Ahsan said...

This discussion has veered way off track. Looking at this SPECIFIC incident through the lens of MQM/ANP/PPP battles and local government is silly. We all know that has basically nothing to do with it.

Now, the AFTERMATH of this incident might play into some of those cleavages -- the same way that the Ashura bombing was unrelated to ethnic politics in Karachi, but the three weeks after the Ashura bombing were very much related to ethnic politics in Karachi.

But for the time being, let's keep our eye on the ball.

Also, for the record, the idea that the military is intentionally fanning conflict in Karachi to make the "bloody civvies" look bad is, um, wrong. It's yet another conspiracy theory divorced from reality.

SMCI said...

Wait, so someone tell me this... since when did MQM and PPP start using suicide bombings as a method of fighting each other?

This post clearly says the bombings were staged around Shi'i processions commemorating Sayyidna Hussein.

We're barking up the wrong tree here folks.

These bombings have nothing to do with the MQM-PPP cage match.

Umair Javed said...

Of course this incident has nothing to do with political violence...but it comes at a time when that form of violence is rearing its ugly head again..

Even looking at it from the sectarian lens (which is probably whats right here) is depressing given that it was perceived that the country had turned the sectarian page over the last decade especially coming from the bloody hey-deys of the 90's.

What should be questioned is why sectarian conflict seems to be making a come-back in Karachi given the fact that the overtly sectarian militant groups have been suppressed to a large extent.

AKS said...


It certainly looks that way. Good times.


Yes America did it. And I met Elvis on my way from work.


I don't think our army goes around killing Pakistanis to drum up support. That's pretty out there. Now that doesn't mean that the army isn't meddling in politics or trying to sway public opinion - its interesting to note how quickly the Taliban are being forgotten and we're all again being reminded that our biggest enemy is India- but the army doesn't need to kill Pakistanis to do that.


A little off topic here surely. We're talking about terrorist attacks not political violence. The reason the Musharraf government was "good at capping violence" was because it was in power at a different time, the terrorist groups weren't as powerful nor as brazen in their actions, and you can blame the Musharraf government for that.

Umair Javed,

Astute analysis. At the end of the day, the nature of this attack may not matter, what will matter is how the attack is used. Just two days ago the MQM, in protest of Zulfiqar Mirza's tirade, directly blamed him and the PPP for the Ashura blast - no joke, in a press conference, an MQM parliamentarian actually said that they caused they planted the bomb. And today the MQM wanted the ANP to come out and answer why they had made a fuss about Altaf bhai's warnings that there were Taliban in Karachi when it is now evident that they are here.

For the record, I'm of the opinion that this was not an act of political violence but a sectarian attack probably carried out by one of the Sipah-e-Sahaba successor organizations.

Coming back to your point, one of the things that has been under reported is the lack of a new generation of able, local PPP leaders, especially in Karachi. Qaim Ali Shah and his cohorts, who at least understood politics somewhat, are pretty damn old. There's a vacuum that is being rapidly filled by the likes of Zulfiqar Mirza, Agha Siraj Durrani, etc. These guys are plain old thugs and there's no one there to balance them out. This shortcoming is especially stark as despite all its faults the MQM is growing up (ever so slightly) as a political party - if we were in the 90s the MQM would never have gone back and sat in the political assembly.

I think the absolute worse thing that could happen would be for the abolition of the local government, this will make the MQM feel cornered and they will then try to exhibit their power through other means, we all know how that ends.

AKS said...

Umair Javed

"What should be questioned is why sectarian conflict seems to be making a come-back in Karachi"

Now that is a good question. Could it be that various militant groups are going back to their old sport? Is it possible that this realignment has something to do with greater leniency being shown to anti-India groups? If I was the Indian Home Minister, I'd beef up security.

SMCI said...

Ahsan, you know this detour does bring to light an important fact though. The unwillingness of ANYONE to take responsibility or blame.

No one blames their own shortsightedness, their own capitulation to corruption, or their own 'asabiyah' for contributing to the problem.

I think we should start coining another term... like "The Islamic Republic of Irresponsibility," or "The Republic of Blaming-Someone-Else."

Maybe we should start with ourselves.

As a Pakistani-American I've had my head up my ass far too long and not really cared for my family or people back home. I've donated too little, learned not much, and blamed India too easily for all our woes.

I think it's about time we started making some collective tawba.

Illuminati said...

Who does these gruesome acts? What motivates them? Why are they doing this?
I don't think the internal party conflicts or the internal power struggle can answer these questions. India, for the lobe of god, won't do this for the sake of vengeance of ancestral enmities. There's a bigger truth involved. The public is unaware, the media deliberately diverts the attention.
The world is acting so stupid, osama bin laden! 9/11! Terrorism! Cheaply venal explainations are given to cover the violence. In the name of terrorism bin Ladin saddam ahmedinejad and hell what not. There is something fucked up! An I'm getting paranoid.

greywolf said...

i wasnt implying this had anything to do the PPP-MQM problem. i dont even think that issue is going to be a big problem. our sectarian problem has certainly come back with a vengeance. and our democratic government is not doing enough to counter it. karachi can ill afford a slide back to the 90s. the 2000s were a good decade overall for karachi. there was peace and progress. and because of that the whole country did well under musharraf. i am slightly averse to the idea of this being orchestrated by the security apparatus, because the military and civilian intel agencies are fighting these people. there is nothing that we gain from supporting them anymore. this realization has dawned upon all layers of the security setup. i am fully confident of that. this has more to to do with lack of monitoring and strict vigilance. the provincial and local governments have a big role to play in ensuring the sectarian violence does not spiral out of control.

Umair Javed said...

'Because the whole country did well under Musharraf'...just a raised eye-brow at that...(thats enough of a digression for now)

My question remains that the most organized forms of sectarian violence were conducted by the SSP, the LJ and the TNFJ (it was renamed to something else at a latter stage)...all three of these organizations have been dormant to a large extent over the course of the last decade. In fact the SSP was pretty much strangled off during Nawaz Sharif's last tenure because he perceived them to be a political and security threat at the same time. (the SSP, apart from breeding maniacs like Basra and Azam also had a fairly organized political wing which at one point gave a couple of ministers in the Sardar Naqai provincial government of the 90's)

The revival of sectarian conflict in my opinion can be down to three major factors:

1) These two recent attacks are isolated phenomenon carried out by very very localized sectarian elements within Karachi settling their own sordid agendas

2) The Taliban movement (if it can be called that) has also taken a sectarian turn that coincides with its more overt political/terrorist agenda. Thats slightly plausible given their obvious Sunni/Wahabi/Salafi inclinations.

3) There has been a resurgence of the old vanguards of sectarian violence, in which case we'd obviously have to look at their favorite haunts i.e. Jhang and Kohat and see if any patterns of sectarian mobilization can be traced from that end.

I cant think of any fourth reason without relying on the worn out crutch of conspiracy theories...but clearly it could have been the CIA/RAW/MOSSAD/ISI lobby and a result of its attempts to derail democracy and make Pakistan a province of India

yaqub said...

I totally agree with AKS that it is not the time to play blame game and ask silly questions like why people carrying critically injured were not searched while entering hospital. Its time to appeal for calm and look at better options than just to blame police, to prevent such things happening again in the future.

Jaydev said...

Its the same tactic that appeared in Ahmedabad(India) 2008 serial blasts. That is after a few minutes after the primary target..& by the approx time causalities begin to arrive in hospital..charges r detonated at hospital. The remote detonation(not suicide-risk averse),similarity to SIMI/IM tactics,Karachi etc point more to India/Afghan intel than AQ/TTP/LeJ/JeM.

anoop said...

ISI has taught its pupils well. In India few months ago Hospitals were being targeted as pointed out by Jaydev. Same is happening in Pakistan. Lessson learnt I hope.

Jaydev said...

Clearly not the proudest thing to do and pretty shameful if it is indeed is us.Especially "baiting" Shias who are being banged up pretty much everywhere except Iran. I wasnt trying to have a schadenfreude moment..just trying to put the pieces together.I am aghast at ur subtlety! Blowing up Hafiz Sayeed type with a car bomb(Israeli-style) and killing women-children(wat happened in karachi) r 2 different things..

Anonymous said...


You are being too naive here, concluding that SIMI IM could be behind this. Clearly these groups in india have had backing elsewhere(guess where?) and this has long ceased to be a geographical thing, rather being an ideological thing... Surely partners in crime exchange notes on successful strategies/modus operandi? Though, agree with you on refraining from the schadenfreude aspect, no justification for that.

anoop said...


Come on man. I just spoke the truth. ISI has been long supporting groups in India. Isn't that the truth? It has also been supporting groups inside its territory like LeJ, Jaish, LeT. Isn't that the truth?

Isn't it true that groups like LeJ are supplying Suicide bombers to TTP? Wasn't the same group which attacked India in Kashmir?

Truth always hurts. I dont personally believe in Karma but this would make a damn good example of it.

Last week there was a Jihadi Conference in PoK.. And, TOI even carried pics from that conference. All the major militants were there. They threatened India openly and said they are coming here. I am not worried though. Those same groups will end up hurting Pakistan way,way more than India.. But, they do enjoy popular support dont they? Pakistani people are still fed the Bullshit that RAW is behind every-fucking terrorist attack.. The more things change in Pakistan the more they stay the same.

We have to close our borders and keep a Vigil. Let them fuck themselves in peace. They are good at self-destruction. We have better things to do like becoming the fastest growing country in the world.

I am from the South of India and like all South Indians never really cared what was going on in Pakistan until Mumbai happened. I was intrigued what made them hate us so much and also found that in that hate there is also love. But, actions matter more than words. The army rules the roost there and until that changes we have no hope of a peaceniks winning.

Amna Zaman said...

It is not just Karachi that is a victim of terrorism in Pakistan. I believe there is no city that is safe from the militant attacks as now they focus everywhere and anywhere. One thing is clear that peace will not prevail till the militants are completely whitewashed from Pakistan! and that needs to be done at any cost.

racism articles said...

Karachi , is under threat you can see article of Blackwater-MQM , this is just anti-national thing