The Day of Karsaz bomb blast and Rally of The Pakistan Democratic Movement at Karachi

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Dr.Abdul Razzak Shaikh
On 20th September 2020, after hours of discussion over ways to overthrow the elected government, opposition parties at the much-hyped PPP-hosted multiparty the conference demanded the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan. According to a 26-point resolution passed by the multiparty conference, the forum is named Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance structure which will lead and guide nationwide protests against the anti-public and anti-nation government in a disciplined and integrated manner. The forum also demanded that elections be held again in a transparent manner and that electoral reforms should be passed to ensure free and fair polls. The second phase will begin in December of this year, during which the opposition will hold huge public demonstrations across the country. In January next year, the opposition will set out on a decisive long march towards Islamabad. The Karsaz bombing attack occurred on 18 October 2007 in Karachi, Pakistan, it was an attack on a motorcade carrying former Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. The bombing occurred two months before she was assassinated. The bombing resulted in at least 180 deaths and 500 injured. Most of the dead were members of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was safe, as two blasts detonated in the heart of the tightly-packed crowd causing carnage and chaos. The streets of Karachi ground to a halt to welcome the return of Benazir Bhutto, after an eight-year self-imposed exile during which she lived in Dubai and London. Two explosions occurred in front of the rallying truck from which she greeted her supporters and party members.  On the route about halfway from the airport to the tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah for a scheduled rally, just after Bhutto’s truck had crossed a bridge. Police vehicles bore the brunt of the blasts, which destroyed three police vans and killed at least 20 policemen in the vehicles. Bhutto was escorted to her residence, Bilawal house. The victims were rushed to Jinnah, Civil, Liaquat National and Abbassi Shaheed Hospitals. In a press conference on 19 October 2007, Benazir Bhutto said that her security team were unable to prevent the attack because of the street light being turned off, and called for an inquiry into why this happened. On 20 October, authorities released a photograph of the suspect responsible for the suicide attack. On 23 October, Pakistani Prime Minister Shoukat Aziz rejected PPP demand for a probe into the suicide blast by foreign experts, expressing confidence that Pakistani law-enforcement agencies can probe in a very objective manner. Twin bombs on the fateful day of October 18, 2007, targeted the homecoming parade of the former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto in Karachi leaving a scene of death and destruction behind. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto survived in the attack but the terrorist strike claimed around 180 people and hundreds were injured in one of the major terrorist attacks in Pakistan. On the 13th anniversary of the Karsaz bomb attack, no progress made yet to bring the culprits to justice.  A memorial of martyred party workers at Garhi Khuda Bux graveyard commemorates anonymously martyrs of the incident. After the devastating  lasts, the then provincial government, led by the chief minister, Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim had set up an inquiry tribunal to investigate the twin blasts. The tribunal headed by retired Justice Dr Ghous Mohammad started proceedings and recorded the statements of around 40 witnesses. In March 2008, the police produced in court Qari Saifullah Akhtar, an alleged Al Qaeda militant, but he was released for want of evidence. Qari Akhtar was brought before the administrative judge of the anti-terrorism court and was remanded in police custody for allegedly masterminding the twin blasts. The court, however, released him around 10 days after his remand since the police officer, DSP Nawaz Ranjha, who was later gunned down, submitted that no incriminating evidence had been found to link him with the blasts. The arrest and production of the alleged the militant was made before the PPP came into power and since then there has hardly been any effort made to track down the culprits and bring them to justice. In 2012, the then Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that the provincial government had constituted another committee, headed by a deputy inspector general of police, to inquire into the Karsaz tragedy. But there was no outcome to these inquiries. Later, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had announced a five-member inquiry committee to re-investigate the twin blast case. Since the incident, 13 years have passed and the third PPP government ruling Sindh without interruption, but the innocent blood of martyrs still waiting for Justice. PPP as a host  arranging the public gathering on a platform of  PDM on 18th October  at Karachi  to pay the tributes to  the  martyrs of the  rally 2007, the day passed thirteen years ago never to be forgotten in the political history of Pakistan. We also, salute martyred party workers at Garhi Khuda Bux graveyard, commemorate anonymous martyrs of the incident. The Pakistan Democratic Alliance, comprising all opposition parties has announced that its public rally in Karachi will be held on October 18 at Bagh-e-Jinnah. Bilawal, PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman will address the crowd on October 18. According to reports, preparations for the rally have already begun by PPP in full swings. The opposition parties decided to launch their anti-government movement under the banner of the PDM at an All Parties Conference in Islamabad on September 20. They have planned rallies in various cities across the country as part of their ant government movement. They are also planning to launch a decisive long march against the government in Islamabad in January 2021. The Political Parties are in a hope that PDM has started working and will continue towards the real democracy in Pakistan. The rally of Karachi will be more impressive and will show the unity of opposition.

(- The writer is a MBBS; MAS (Master in Health Services Management) Retired from Health Department Govt. of Sindh.)

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