KARACHI: At least 13 members of an extended family, enroute from a wedding, were killed and several injured when the mini-truck they were travelling in came under a grenade attack on the outskirts of Karachi on Saturday night.
The terror attack comes a day after Pakistan celebrated its 75th Independence Day on Saturday. The family, originally from Swat in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, had settled in Karachi, capital of the southern Sindh province.
“Doctors are doing their best to save the lives of the injured & whatever treatment or surgery that needs to take place will be done,” Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui, Advisor on Law and Environment to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, said in a Twitter post on Sunday.
He said personnel from the Bomb Disposal Squad had found the lever of the grenade [at the crime scene] and confirmed that a Russian-made device had been used in the attack.
The incident occurred in the Baldia area within the limits of the Madina Colony police station. “We are investigating the incident from different angles to ascertain whether the perpetrators were terrorists from some ethnic group or an extremist group,” said the official.
Karachi police chief Imran Yaqoob Minhas told the media that the aspect of personal enmity was also being probed as all victims came from the same family. The family originally hailed from Swat. Local police and the Counter-Terrorism Department are both investigating the incident.
Dr. Qarar Abbasi at the city’s main Dr. Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital said three of the injured died during treatment, raising the death toll to 12. The rest of the injured were in stable condition. He said seven women and five children were among the dead.
Raja Umar Khitab, a counterterrorism officer, said investigators have found pieces of a Russian made hand grenade from the scene near Mawach Goth. He told a local television station that evidence collected suggested culprits were chasing the truck from and threw the grenade in the truck crowded by women and children.
Javed Akbar Riaz, a senior police officer, said more than 20 women and young children from an extended family were riding in the truck, returning from a wedding ceremony when the attack happened.
No one has yet claimed the responsibility for the attack. The motive for the bombing was not known, though police were quick to rule out sectarian violence.
Also amid celebration of the Independence Day across the country, militants attacked a security patrol in the restive southwestern Baluchistan province, triggering a shootout that left three militants and a soldier dead near Shahrig in the Loralai district.
In a brief statement, the military said there was an exchange of gunfire after militants opened fire on a security vehicle and that two soldiers were also wounded during the exchange.
No one claimed responsibility for that attack as well, but Baluch separatist groups have often claimed such attacks in recent years.
Baluchistan has been the scene of frequent militant attacks and a long-running insurgency by groups seeking independence for the mineral- and gas-rich province bordering Iran and Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban also have a presence there.