Two bombs exploded in Pakistan on Thursday, one in the south and
the other in the northwest, killing at least 32 people. Most of
victims were police.
A wave of bomb attacks since a siege and assault on a militant
mosque stronghold in Islamabad this month has swept northwestern
Pakistan, killing close to 150 people.
But on Thursday, a bomb blast killed at least 25 in a market
place in the southern town of Hub, on the border between Sindh and
Baluchistan provinces, near the city of Karachi. Seven of the dead
were policemen. More than 20 people were wounded, some of them
It was the first such attack in southern Pakistan during this
recent wave. It was unclear whether it was related to the Islamist
militant backlash against the storming of Islamabad's Red Mosque,
or was linked to a long-running separatist movement in Baluchistan.
Chinese workers have been targeted by both.
"I saw flames all around me after a big bang. It appeared as if
cars were flying in the air," Mohammad Raheem, a 17-year-old
laborer, who was injured in the blast, told Reuters in a hospital
"There were cries and screams all around. After that I don't
known what happened. I just fainted."
President Pervez Musharraf said on Wednesday he had no intention
of declaring a state of emergency to counter the growing
insecurity, and gave assurances that elections due later this year
would go ahead as planned.
Abdullah Jan Afridi, the most senior officer at Hub Chowki
police station, said the policemen had been escorting a team of
Chinese engineers travelling to Karachi when the blast occurred,
although the vehicle carrying the Chinese had just passed by.
"The blast took place shortly after Chinese passed the area. All
seven policemen in the vehicle have been killed," he said.
Police were still investigating whether it was a
remote-controlled bomb or a suicide attack.
In the far northwest, a car bomber blew himself up at a police
training centre in the city of Hangu early on Thursday, killing at
least seven people.
The government said 102 people had been killed in the storming
of the mosque. Many of the victims came from the volatile
northwest, most of them followers of cleric brothers advocating a
militant brand of Islam reminiscent of the Taliban in
The bomber in Hangu tried to enter the police training centre
just as young recruits were going in for training.
"The attacker tried to crash through the gate. He blew himself
up as security guards at the gate tried to stop him," said
Fakhr-e-Alam, top administration official of the city. "Six
policemen and a passerby were killed."
A police official said 13 people had been wounded.
Hangu, which itself has a history of sectarian violence, is
close to Pakistan's lawless tribal regions on the Afghan border,
known as hotbeds of support for al Qaeda and Taliban militants.
A large number of al Qaeda fighters and their allies fled to
Pakistan's tribal areas after US-led forces toppled the Taliban
regime in Afghanistan in 2001.
At the same time as militants are believed to be taking revenge
for the government's mosque complex assault in the capital,
pro-Taliban fighters have abandoned a 10-month-old peace pact in
North Waziristan, raising fears of a resurgence in violence, mainly
in the conservative northwest.
(China Daily via agencies July 19, 2007)