=> The bomb that killed 11 people when it went off Mo -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> The bomb that killed 11 people when it went off Mo

The bomb that killed 11 people when it went off Monday evening in Bilal Chowrangi (near the Landhi Industrial Area) was pre-planted and had been attached to a motorbike, eyewitnesses (including those who had been injured in the blast) told The News.

Most of the victims were pushcart owners who had been standing nearby. Panic spread all over Bilal Chowrangi and the surrounding areas as people closed their shops and pulled their children indoors. All doors had been locked by the time security forces reached the site.

The body parts of those who had been standing close to the epicenter of the blast lay beneath their pushcarts, surrounded by shards of broken glass, and piles of fruits and vegetables that had rotted immediately due to the heat generated by the explosion.

The bomb was so powerful, that it was heard even in Landhi No. 2, a few miles from Bilal Chowrangi. “The motorbike on which the bomb had been planted did not have a number plate,” a child who was looking for his father’s pushcart near the blast site told The News. “The victims were vendors, green grocers and fruit sellers, including scores of my friends, who sell goods nearby,” the child said. He was injured in the blast too.

He is not sure if it was a suicide bombing. “I was present here at the time of the blast and saw that parts of that motorcycle, as well as pushcarts and vegetables flew into the air. I saw the wreckage [of that motorcycle] myself and there was no number plate,” he said.

“Soon after the bomb went off, I saw a huge blaze and immediately after that there was dust all around. Nothing was visible. I couldn’t hear anything either for a couple of minutes – my ears went numb. I did, however, see the fuel tank of the bike fly into the air because clouds of dust obscured it.” said Rafiq who had been selling soap some 20 yards away from the pushcart next to which the suspicious bike was parked

“There were pieces of broken glass all around. I ran for my life, because I thought a second bomb might go off,” Rafiq said. “When I came back after five minutes I saw the bodies of my friends lying in pools of bloods. All the vendors who were injured were residents of Bilal Chowrangi and we knew each other very well because we live in the same area. We had to help them.”

Rafiq said that since no ambulances or security forces reached the spot even 40 minutes after the blast, residents of the area picked up the injured and the dead voluntarily and put them into rickshaws, taxis, minibuses, trucks and whichever other vehicles were available in order to get them to a hospital.

Some of those who died may also have included children, Rafiq said. Most of the pushcart vendors had left for prayers at the time, and had asked their children to mind their carts until they came back.

The residents of the nearby locality told The News that they were so scared that they sent their men out to bring their children back and then locked their doors. They were also being advised to stay away from the blast site via an announcement in the nearby mosque.

“I didn’t see any ambulances or policemen even 30 to 40 minutes after the bomb went off, and people, albeit scared, were managing things on their own,” Khalid said. His own pushcart was barely 15 yards away from the blast epicenter. “I ran off and accidentally dropped all the money that I had earned throughout the day (approximately Rs 1,500) on the way,” Khalid said, adding that he did not come back to search for his money in case more bombs went off.

He added that Ghulam Shah (another greengrocer) had left three of his sons in charge of his pushcart while he himself went off to pray. Two of them died in the blast, while the third was critically injured.

Public transport soon went off the roads especially at 89, Dawood Chowrangi, Quaidabad and Landhi Industrial Area due to fears and rumours. A large number of people who were working overtime in the industrial area were told to go home immediately.

An employee of one such factory told The News that their driver was not willing to come because he was afraid that his vehicle would be torched. Only after he was assured of compensation did he agree to come and pick up the workers.

Scores of people were seen on foot, all the way between the industrial area and Quaidabad because buses had stopped operating. Moreover, around 30 to 50 people stood at bus stops in the area, waiting to get home. Only after they realized that no buses, whatsoever, would be coming did they finally sigh resignedly and start walking home.
Source: The News
Date:1/15/2008