Chilling sectarian attack on bus passengers in Karachi

Rajat Kain

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More than 40 people were killed in Karachi when a group of gunmen attack on a bus carrying members of Ismaili sub-sect of Shia muslim community on Wednesday morning. The desperate cold blooded attack took place near Safoora Chowk area of Karachi in Pakistan. This is another in the series of rising attacks on the minority sects in a neighbour nation.

According to the eyewitnesses, the bus was accosted and intercepted by the gunmen on motorcycles. Eight gunmen forced inside the bus and opened indiscriminate fire on the passengers. As per the initial probe, the attackers were on three to four bikes and used 9mm medium calibre weapon to fire at the innocent victims. All the attackers manged to flee after the attack.

“Eight armed men on motorcycles opened fire on a bus at Safoora Chorangi, Gulistan-e-Johar area of Karachi, killing at least 41 passengers,” a police official told the local press.

The death toll is feared to rise further as more than dozen are seriously injured and continue to battle their bullet wounds. The injured victims have been rushed to various hospitals in the city.

Though the authorities maintain that so far nobody has taken the responsibility but a pamphlet was found at the site which claimed the role of ISIS in the attack.

More than 60 people were on the board the bus which was carrying the people of Ismaili community from Al-Azhar Garden area of the city to their place of worship near Aysha Manzil when the dastardly attack took place. Ismaili community is a branch of Shia Muslims and they are considered very peaceful people.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has strongly condemned the incident. Expressing his condolences over the loss of innocent lives, he has sought a report into the incident.

The opposition parties too extended their sympathies. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged for stern actions against the terrorists as he condemned the attack. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan also strongly condemned the attack and expressed grief over the murder of citizens.

India too expressed its concern and solidarity with Pakistan. Tweeting from his personal twitter handle, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed “The attack in Karachi is deeply saddening & utterly condemnable. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased”.

Congress party Vice President Rahul Gandhi also voiced his grief over the incident. His official twitter handle tweeted, “I strongly condemn the brutal terrorist attack in Karachi. Innocent lives have been lost in a senseless act of violence…Strong action must be taken against the perpetrators of this cowardly act”.

Pakistan has seen a rise in sectarian violence in recent years particularly against minority Shias who represent around 20 per cent of the country’s Muslim population.