Pakistan mosque blast kills at least 16
- Pakistan mosque blast kills at least 16
Tuesday 01 June 2004, 7:34 Makka Time, 4:34 GMT
An explosion has ripped through a Shia Muslim mosque in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi,
killing at least 16 people and injuring 38 more.
Monday's blast came when dozens of worshippers were offering Maghrib (sunset) prayers in the mosque
located in the same area where a prominent Sunni Muslim scholar was assassinated only one day
Witnesses said the blast rocked the Imam Bargah Ali Raza mosque.
Karachi Police Chief Asad Ashraf Malik said a body retrieved from the scene was being examined to
determine whether it was that of bomber.
An investigator at the scene also said there did not appear to be a crater, which suggests a human
The blast razed a two-room office of a trust that runs the mosque, and collapsed one wall in an
adjacent area where people wash before praying.
Most of the casualties were taken to three hospitals in private vehicles, while other bodies were
retrieved from the debris and ferried off in ambulances.
Shia Muslim leader, Hasan Turabi, said that there was no security at the Imam Bargah Ali Raza mosque
on Monday despite an earlier blast in Karachi on May 7 - also at a Shia mosque - that killed 20
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that President General Pervez Musharraf had expressed
grief over the killings and would take an "important step" in response to the incident.
The bombing triggered riots in at least four Shia-dominated districts of the city.
Hundreds of youths set fire to two police vehicles and a gas station outside the mosque, and then
ransacked two government offices, stealing furniture and torching it at a traffic intersection.
Police fired tear gas, trying to disperse the mob, and six or seven gunshots were heard, but it
wasn't clear who fired them.
Interior Ministry spokesman Abd al-Rauf Chaudhry said it was too early to say who was behind the
bombing, but it added that it "could be a reaction to yesterday's incident."
Shia Sunni relations
Shia's form a fifth of Pakistan's population of over 150 million people. In recent years relations
with the majority Sunni community have been marred by bloody sectarian clashes.
The targeted mosque is situated only a kilometre from where Sunni scholar Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai
was killed in an ambush by unidentified assailants who sprayed his private vehicle with bullets,
also injuring his son and driver.
The assassination triggered violent protests and incidents of arson in the Binouri Town area, where
authorities had deployed heavy contingents of police and paramilitary rangers to contain the unrest.