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Taliban own Karachi Ashura carnage

Thursday, 31 Dec, 2009
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Vehicles are on fire after a bombing struck a Shia procession in Karachi, December 28, 2009. — AP Photo

PESHAWAR/Karachi: The Taliban claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the suicide attack on an Ashura procession which killed 44 people in Karachi and injured 60 others. The terrorist organisation threatened more attacks over the next 10 days.

The claim was made by one of the country’s most wanted commanders of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). “We carried out the suicide bombing in Karachi,” Asmatullah Shaheen, a top militant commander based in South Waziristan, told news agencies by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“We will carry out more such attacks and also target government installations.”

The government announced a Rs10 million bounty for Shaheen when it published a list last month of 19 most-wanted TTP warlords, for whom it offered combined rewards equivalent to five million dollars.

Shaheen does not normally claim responsibility for attacks on behalf of the militants. But he said that Monday’s bombing had been assigned to his group, and so he was making the claim.

However, investigators in Karachi are not ready to believe it was a suicide attack and have called in their NWFP counterparts to help them determine the nature and make of the explosives used in the bombing.

Although Karachi city police chief Waseem Ahmed has set up two teams with different tasks related to investigations, he said he had sent an urgent request to the NWFP police chief to send in a team of experts who could help determine the nature of the blast.

“Several aspects need to be checked thoroughly and until that (is done) we cannot say with authority anything about the (blast’s) execution,” said Mr Ahmed.

Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement leaders at a press conference called upon President Asif Ali Zardari to constitute an inquiry commission comprising judges of the Supreme Court to investigate the Ashura attack and the incidents of arson so that culprits behind these incidents could be unmasked.

The party’s coordination committee member Raza Haroon demanded of the government to declare the Boulton Market a calamity-hit area and urged it to exempt from taxes the traders from there. —Agencies

Tags: TTP,Karachi blast,Pakistani Taliban,Hakimullah Mehsud,South Waziristan
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