18th October 2007 Karsaz bomb blast never to be forgotten on arrival of bb in Pakistan

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Dr. Abdul Razak Shaikh

The police and allied agencies are still clueless about the perpetrators of the twin bomb attacks on the homecoming procession of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto despite the passage of 14 years.Around 180 people were killed and more than 500 others were wounded when two blasts in quick succession ripped through the procession on Oct 18, 2007.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 injuries. 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 completely destroyed three police vans and killed at least 20 policemen in the vehicles. Conflicting reports indicate that Bhutto, who was not injured in the attack, was either sitting on top of the truck or had just climbed into the compartment of the truck at the time of the explosion.Bhutto was escorted to her residence, Bilawal house. The victims were rushed to Jinnah, Civil, Liaquat National and Abbasi 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 Shaukat 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 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 14th anniversary of the Karsaz bomb attack, no progress made yet to bring the culprits to justice.According to some accounts, over 500 people were also injured along with the big death toll, when two blasts in quick succession ripped through the procession on Oct 18, 2007. A memorial of martyred party workers at Garhi Khuda Bux graveyard commemorate anonymous martyrs of the incident.Three inquiry committees have been constituted since 2008 to trace the mastermind, handlers, and executors of the attack, but to no avail.After the devastating blasts, 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 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, 14 years have passed and the third PPP government ruling Sindh without interruption, but the innocent blood of martyrs still waiting for Justice.PPP again arranging the public gathering on 17th October to pay the tributes to the martyrs of the rally 2007, the day passed fourteen 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.

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