KARACHI: At least 43 people were killed and 13 others wounded on Wednesday when Terrorist of Wahabi Cult Namely “ Jundullah ” Opened fire inside a bus carrying members of the Ismaili Shia community near Safoora Chowk in Karachi.
Sindh Police Inspector General Ghulam Haider Jamali said that 60 people were on board the bus when six terrorist entered and executed 43 passengers.
He added that the armed men used 9mm pistols in the massacre. The attackers managed to flee after the attack.
Hospital sources have so far confirmed that the dead include 25 men and 16 women. Police officials said that there were no children among the casualties.
All victims were shot from a close-range.
Rana M Razzaq, a security coordinator at the Memon Medical Center, told Dawn that, “One young girl hid and survived. Three or four others who were brought to the hospital have survived…the rest are all dead.”
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 Muslim of Shia Sect , minorities and foreign tourists in the past as well. In November last year, the group had pledged support to Notorious Islamic State (IS).
In the past, the proscribed group has claimed several attacks including a blast near the Wagah border in November 2014 and the July 2013 attack on the compound of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Sukkur. It has also claimed the several attacks on polio workers across the country.
Terrorists entered bus and fired
A survivor of the attack recorded her statement before the police and said that the attackers entered the bus from the rear portion a few minutes after its departure.
She added that the occupants of the bus thought that robbers had embarked on the vehicle.
The assailants subdued the driver and separated (two) children from the others, the victims said and added that, “They told the passengers to keep their head low. One of the attackers situated in the rear side of the bus then ordered his associates to ‘shoot every one’ after which they indiscriminately targeted all passengers of the bus.”
All attackers were speaking fluent Urdu according to the survivor.
Secretary Al Azhar Garden said that the bus leaves daily at 9am and has been operating for the past 10 years. Today it was attacked around 9:30 am, he said.
A rescue official quoted a victim as saying that the attackers were dressed in police uniforms.
Investigation Officer Tariq Jadoon told Dawn that some blue caps, which are used by security guards, have also been recovered from the crime scene along with 9mm casings.
A senior police official, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media, told Dawn 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,” he added.
Shia Ismaili community attacked
Pakistan has seen a rising tide of sectarian violence in recent years, particularly against Shias — of which the Ismaili community is a sub-sect — who make up around 20 per cent of the country’s predominantly Muslim population.
“The dead and injured have been shifted to the private Memon Medical Center nearby,” an official of the Ismaili National Council, a group which represents the community 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.
COAS cancels Sri Lanka visit to Reach Karachi :
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif Immediately cancelled his visit to Sri Lanka and departed for Karachi following the attack on Ismaili community members in the city.
In a tweet posted on Twitter, Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa said that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Wednesday cancelled his pre-scheduled three-day visit to Sri Lanka in light of the attack in Karachi.
Army chief will be reviewing the security situation in Karachi after the terrorist attack on a bus carrying Ismailis, the ISPR said in another short statement.
A military source told Dawn News that during his visit to Karachi, General Raheel Sharif will comprehensively review the entire security situation, and will also receive a briefing from Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar and Director General (DG) Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar.
The source added that important decisions are also expected as far as the security situation in Karachi is concerned.
Condemnations pour in
Condemnations poured in soon after today’s deadly attack on the bus. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the incident. He sought a report into the incident and extended condolences over the loss of lives.
Shia Community Leader Highly Condemned the Incident , Allama Abbas Kumaili , President of Jafria Alliance Pakistan ( JAP ) added that the Terrorist are enemy of the state , and Working against Islam , so they should Not only be condemned as their supporters and sponsors are equally responsible for their Henious Crimes and they should also be Nabbed and Brought to Justice. He also asked to Observe 14 May 2015 as the National Day of Mourning . Majlis e Wahdat e Muslimeen ( MWM ) Secretary General Raja Nasir also endorsed the call for the Observing Thursday as Day of Mourning .
The National Political Leadership also Deeply condemned the tragic Incident Namely , Imran Khan ( PTI ) , Altaf Hussain ( MQM ) , Afsandyar Wali Khan ( ANP ) , Asif Ali Zardari ( PPP ) , and all the rest of the Notables, But none of the Mentioned gave any concrete Plans for the eradication of the Terrorism from Our Beloved Nation , as all the Political Leadership was Present at a Pre scheduled All Parties Conference Cum Lunch given by the Prime Minister on the Pak – China Economic Corridor , where None of them Including the Prime Minister gave Importance to this National tragedy , as the routine Conference and Lunch was served to all the Participants ,which all the Leadership enjoyed , and they didn’t even bothered to suspend the conference , Just for 5 Mins to Discuss this Great National Tragedy , in which atleast 43 Pakistani Nationals Lost their Lives , for NO FAULT of theirs. The Only fault of their was that they chose Such Leaders to Represent them , who are Least Bothered about them , while they are more concerned about their Personal Assets and Shares in the Upcoming Projects , in the wake of the Pak China Economic Corridor to be Launched very soon , which amounts to Billions of US Dollars.
Shia community under threat
The Shia Ismailis 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.
In 2013, a bomb attack at the Main Jamaat Khana of Ismaili Community in Karachi’s at Aisha Manzil , F.B.Area , killed four and injured 42 others. The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the earlier attacks.
Today’s massacre was the worst anti-Shia attack since January 30, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque in the southern Shikarpur district, killing 61.
Anti-Shia attacks have been increasing in recent years in Karachi and also in Quetta, the northwestern area of Parachinar and the far northeastern town of Gilgit.
Around 1,000 Shias have been killed in the past two years in Pakistan, with many of the attacks claimed by the hardline Saudi Funded and Sponsored Wahabi group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) who view them as heretics.
Ismailis are known for their progressive Islamic views. Their spiritual leader Prince Karim Aga Khan is a globally renowned philanthropist and business magnate.