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.
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.