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People's Daily Online

44 killed as gunmen attack passenger bus in Pakistan's Karachi

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 21:07, May 13, 2015

ISLAMABAD, May 13 -- At least 44 people were killed and 11 others injured when gunmen opened fire at a passenger bus carrying about 60 to 65 people of a minority group in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi on Wednesday morning, local media and officials said.

Inspector General Police Ghulam Haider Jamali said that six unknown gunmen riding on three motorbikes entered the bus and opened indiscriminate firing at the people sitting inside.

A woman witness, who survived the attack, said the bus was surrounded and stopped by the terrorists, who entered it from the back door.

'The attackers killed the driver and asked all the passengers to kneel with their heads facing the ground,' she said.

She said that one of the attackers told the others 'shoot them all,' after which they opened indiscriminate firing at the passengers.

Inspector Crime Scene Unit Tariq Jadoon said that they have found some blue caps, which are worn by personnel of private security companies, from the bus along with 9mm casings.

He speculated that some of the attackers might be wearing uniforms of some security company when they stopped the bus before attacking it.

The bus which came under attack belonged to Al-Azhar Garden Colony of minority Ismaili Community, a fraction of Shia Muslims mainly based in northern parts of the country and in Karachi.

Spokesperson of Al-Azhar Garden Colony, a housing project in Karachi which provides accommodation to Ismaili people at cheaper rates, said that the bus leaves daily at 9 a.m. (local time) and has been operating since the past 10 years in the city.

He said that the bus came under attack at about 9:30 a.m. ( local time) in Safoora Chowrangi area of Karachi, the capital city of the country's south Sindh province, when it was on its way to drop Ismaili people from their home to work place.

The country's information minister Pervaiz Rasheed said that the Ismaili community is very peaceful and is always engaged in social welfare whereas they have also played a positive role in the economy through trade.

Express News quoted Ahmad Marvat, the spokesperson of Jundullah fraction of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan as saying that they carried out the bus attack to kill Shia Muslims.

Based in the country's northwest tribal area of South Waziristan Jundullah group had been found involved in Shia massacre in the past too.

The spokesperson of the group which pledged support to Islamic State in November last year, said they killed Ismaili people as they consider them non-believers.

The injured people have been shifted to Memon Hospital and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and Jinnah Hospital where a state of emergency has been imposed.

The hospital sources said that the killed people included 17 women and 27 men.

Panic gripped the area following the attack, and all the education and business activities in the areas were suspended.

The country's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and directed Interior Minister to contact the concerned officials and seek a report into the incident.

Meanwhile the Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah suspended two senior police officers for not providing adequate security to the minority group.

He also announced compensation money of Rs. five lac (5000 USD), and Rs. two lac (2000 USD) each for the killed and injured people respectively.

The Sindh government has also announced one-day mourning over the incident.

In a tweet, Major General Asim Baja, the spokesperson of Inter- Services Public Relations, said that the Army Chief has canceled his pre-scheduled three-day visit to Sri Lanka due to Karachi bus attack.

Following the incident, Police conducted search operations in the neighboring area and arrested 15 suspects, who have been shifted to an undisclosed location for investigations.

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