[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Twin blasts hit election office in Karachi

At least three dead in latest Taliban attack on Pakistan's secular parties before May 11 general elections.

Last Modified: 04 May 2013 21:29
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

At least three people have died and 34 others wounded in twin explosions targeting a local political party office in Pakistan's commercial hub Karachi, ahead of May 11 general elections.

Saturday's blasts were aimed at an election office of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party, city's biggest political party, in the Azeezabad area.

"The wounded have been admitted to different hospitals," said Suresh Kumar, secretary of the health department of Sindh province of which Karachi is the capital.

"Basically, there were two blasts that happened within half an hour of each others, Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Karachi, said, adding that both explosions took place a few kilometres from the MQM headquarters," said Khan.

MQM Supporters check a list of injured blast victims at a hospital in Karachi[AFP]

The blasts, which reportedly took place in Kareemabad, are "the closest that the Pakistani Taliban, who have claimed responsibility for this attack, have been able to get to the headquarters of major political parties," said our correspondent.

No MQM workers were identified among the dead and wounded, senior police official Saleem Akhtar Siddiqui told AFP news agency.

A spokesman for MQM, Qamar Mansoor, said a rally had been planned in the area hit by the Saturday blasts, but would now be postponed and a day of mourning observed instead.

"The local hospitals here have been put on high alert, so we are expecting those numbers to rise" said Khan. He also said that the area is "very secure" and that the second bomb was detonated by a motorcycle rider as a crowd tried to stop him from entering the area.

Pre-poll violence

Footage shown on  Pakistani televisions appear to show the moment of one of the blasts.

There were also bombings in Mardan in northwestern Pakistan and Quetta.

MQM is one of three liberal, secular parties that have been targeted by Taliban fighters across the country in the run-up to the May 11 polls.

Pakistan is preparing for a historic transfer of power from one elected civilian government to another, but the election has been marred by repeated violence targeted at candidates and election offices, which have killed 66 people since April 11, according to an AFP tally.

On Friday, national assembly candidate Saddiq Zaman Khattak was shot dead along with his three-year-old son after praying in a mosque in the city of Karachi.

Khattak was a businessman and a candidate for the Awami National Party (ANP), the leading secular party in Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun northwest.

431

Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
join our mailing list