Wednesday 24th of April 2019

43 martyred in bus attack carrying Shiite passengers in Pakistan; ISIS pamphlet found; Jundullah claims attack

43 martyred in bus attack carrying Shiite passengers in Pakistan; ISIS pamphlet found; Jundullah claims attack

Ahlul Bayt News Agency - KARACHI: At least 43 people were killed and 13 others wounded on Wednesday when pro-ISIS armed men opened fire on a bus carrying members of the Shiite Ismaili community near Safoora Chowk in Karachi.

Pakistan has seen a rising tide of sectarian violence in recent years, particularly against Shiites who make up around 25 percent of the country's predominantly Muslim population of 200 million.

Sindh Police Inspector General Ghulam Haider Jamali said that 60 people were on board the bus when six gunmen opened fire and killed 43 passengers.

He also confirmed that the armed men used 9mm pistols to carry out the attack.

Hospital sources had earlier confirmed that the dead include 25 men and 16 women. Police officials said that there were no children among the casualties.

Rana M Razzaq, a security coordinator at the Memon Medical Center, said that, "One young girl hid and survived. Three or four others who were brought to the hospital have survived, the rest are all dead."

It was the worst anti-Shiite attack since January 30, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque in the southern Shikarpur district, killing 61.

Anti-Shiite attacks have been increasing in recent years in Karachi and also in the southwestern city of Quetta, the northwestern area of Parachinar and the far northeastern town of Gilgit.

Around 1,000 Shiites have been killed in the past two years in Pakistan, with many of the attacks claimed by the hardline Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) who view them as heretics.

Ismaili Shiites are known for their progressive Islamic views. Their spiritual leader Prince Karim Aga Khan is a globally renowned philanthropist and business magnate.

Jundullah claims attack

Ahmed Marwat, a spokesman for Jundullah which is a splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), talking to Reuters claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Al Qaeda affiliated group that started off from South Waziristan has targetted Shia minorities and foreign tourists in the past as well. In November last year, the group had pledged support to Islamic State (IS).

Attackers entered bus and fired

An eye-witness said around eight men riding three to four motorcycles opened indiscriminate fire on a bus, wounding several passengers. However, video footage of the pink bus does not show bullet holes on the body of the vehicle suggesting that the attackers may have entered and fired.

A senior police official, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media, said that the attackers entered the bus and shot the passengers in the head.

“The gunmen stopped the bus and first fired at it from outside,” a policeman told AFP. “Then they entered inside the bus and open fire indiscriminately. After that they checked to see if anyone was left uninjured."

“The bus had a capacity of 52 passengers but it was overloaded and dozens of people were boarding it. Most of them were from (the) Ismaili community (a Shiite sect),” he added.

A senior police official said the attackers entered the bus and shot the passengers in the head. However, a pamphlet of terrorist group Islamic State was recovered from the scene, according to a police official but the government has so far not named any group for the attack.

Ismaili community attacked: police

An official of the Ismaili National Council, a group which represents the community, added: “We have confirmation of five dead and dozens injured including women and children in an attack on a bus owned by our community's welfare board.

“The dead and injured have been shifted to the private Memon Medical Center nearby,” he said.

The bus belongs to the Al-Azhar Garden Colony, which is an Ismaili community housing project in Karachi. It was on its regular route headed towards Federal B Area of Karachi.

A rescue official told Dawn that around 50 to 60 people were travelling on the bus when the attack took place.

The attackers managed to escape from the scene after the incident.

Security and rescue teams reached the spot. Fear and panic gripped the area after the attack.

Rescue personnel shifted the victims to nearby hospitals where an emergency has been imposed. Five of the wounded succumbed to their wounds while en route to the hospital, according to rescue sources.

The condition of several wounded was reported as critical and the death toll is expected to increase.

Police and Rangers personnel cordoned off the area as a probe into the incident went underway.
CM Sindh, CCPO take notice

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah strongly condemned the firing incident and ordered immediate suspension of the area’s Station House Officer (SHO) and District Superintendent of Police (DSP).

Sindh G.H.Jamali while taking notice of the firing incident asked Additional IG Karachi to immediately submit a preliminary report in this regard, a press release said.

He also directed to facilitate emergency rescue services in shifting of injured to hospitals for treatment. He further directed to ensure early arrest of criminals involved.

A community under threat

The Ismailis (Shiite) in Pakistan are a peaceful, progressive and largely apolitical community predominantly working in the health and education sectors.

In the past there has been anti-Ismaili violence in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan, mostly in the form of communal flare-ups.

source : abna
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