Pakistan: Deadly bus attack in Karachi targets Ismaili community, dozens killed and wounded

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Karachi bus running in blood (image via Ansar Burney)

The Ismaili community were the latest victims of a terrorist attack in Karachi on Wednesday when 6 gunmen approached on motorbikes boarded a bus near Safoora Chowk in Karachi shooting dead 45 people and wounding 13 others. The dead included 25 men and 16 women. Ismaili Muslims (followers of the Aga Khan) are a sect of the Shia Muslim faith and reside in Karachi and the northern region of the country, including Hunza and Baltistan.

Pakistan’s DAWN media reported,

“Sindh Police Inspector General Ghulam Haider Jamali said that 60 people were on board the bus when six gunmen entered and executed 43 passengers.

He added that the armed men used 9mm pistols in the massacre. The attackers managed to flee after the attack.”

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One of the injured from Karachi bus attack (image via Ansar Burney)

ARY News put out a call for blood donations, tweeting, “Urgent Blood required at Aga Khan Hospital and Memom Hospital” where the survivors had been taken. The Aga Khan strongly condemned the attack with Express Tribune stating,

“the Aga Khan noted that the Ismailis are a peaceful global community living in harmony with other religious and ethnic groups in many countries across the world, including in the Muslim world.”

A tweet from Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa confirmed that “General Raheel has cancelled his pre-scheduled 3-day visit to Sri Lanka due to Karachi terrorist bus attack” and according to Samaa TV  had left for Karachi.

The attack was allegedly claimed by Ahmad Marwat of the Jandullah (Soldiers of Allah group). Safdar Dawar, a Pakistani journalist tweeted,

“Ahmad Marwat Jandullah group claimed responsibility fr karachi attack, he called frm undisclosed area th8 in attack 4 campaigner took part”

There were also tweets from Pakistan journalists that the Sajina group whose spokesman is Azam Tariq Mehsud had claimed by phone that Jundullah had launched the Karachi attack with Sajina group coordination and assistance, though this could not be independently verified.

Back in November 2014, a spokesperson for Jundullah claimed the group had given allegiance to Islamic State (IS) and claimed the Wagah attack at the border of Pakistan and India. At that time Marwat told Reuters, “they (Islamic State) are our brothers, whatever plan they have we will support them. However Tehreek-e-Taliban Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (TTP JA) spokesman who also claimed the Wagah attack had this to say about Jundullah,

“this is message for the governments of both sides of the border, if we can attack on one side, we can also attack on other side (India). Referring to earlier claim of responsibility allegedly from Jundullah, he added, “it is requested to media that they should not give such a coverage to a fictitious group Jundullah, who only exist in thoughts.” Another key member of TTP JA claimed, “Jundullah is an imaginary group created by government to divide Mujahideen.There is only one man in this group who is the chief and is spokesman and worker.”

According to DAWN Jundullah previously claimed responsibility for an attack on the compound of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Sukkur (July 2013) with Ahmed Marwat stating that this was in retaliation for the killing of their comrade Waliur Rahman and drone strikes carried out in the region. The group also claimed responsibility for shooting dead a polio vaccination team member in Faisalabad in December 2014.

A leaflet allegedly from Daesh Khurasan (Islamic State) was said by an official to have been left at the scene of the incident alongside leaflets in Urdu… though as yet there is no claim from the main body of IS. Back in October 2014, I wrote of a former TTP commander giving bayah to IS which suggested their presence in Pakistan, Afghanistan region, see following link,

“TTP release statement regarding Shahidullah Shahid who has pledged allegiance to IS”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/ttp-release-statement-regarding-shahidullah-shahid-who-has-allegedly-pledged-allegiance-to-is/

Journalist Wajahat S Khan tweeted the following, “ISIS-inspired group leaves pamphlets on the site of the Karachi Bus Attack; @ NBCNews gets the pictures.” See leaflets below..

 

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isisi

 Daesh leaflet in Urdu (image, ARY News) 

In a further claim,

The attack was strongly condemned by many with the following comments left on Twitter:-

Saima…… “Its not just one community that has been attacked.. This is an attack on all Pakistanis .. When will these killings end? Karachi Bus Attack” 

Syed Talat Hussain….. “Karachi operation The killings make a hash of official claims, repeated endlessly, that terrorists’ back is broken..Another sad day”

Khalid Khan…..“PTI demands CM Sindh to step down, MQM demands Ch Nisar to resign over Safoora Goth massacre against Ismaili community, Karachi”

Salman Ahmad…… “The Ismailis have contributed immensely to Pakistan’s health,education,culture & business sectors. They have sacrificed their blood for Pak.”

A further leaflet was doing the rounds on Twitter warning Ishmailis not to comment on the attack. It was tweeted by Sheema Khan who blogs for Huff Post India who said it was, “Via an Ismaili friend on Facebook Karachi Aga Khan Bus Attack Safoora” and reads as follows,

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Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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