KARACHI - Three members provincial assembly (MPAs) were wounded in a bomb attack at the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s camp in Orangi Town here on Friday. Police officials said the MQM’s camp - set up for ongoing country-wide membership drive - was the target.

District West SSP Irfan Baloch said militants hurled a cracker or a hand grenade from the backside of the camp and fled. He said the camp was set up at the main intersection of Orangi Town’s Sector 5 which is an easy target for the militants.

Witnesses said the incident occurred when scores of people including MQM’s parliamentarians, office-bearers, workers and supporters were gathered at the camp as per routine. They said the militant riding a motorbike hurled a grenade and managed to flee. Over two dozen people sitting on the camp sustained injuries.

Ambulances from different welfare associations along with Rangers and police were immediately reached the site and shifted the victims to Qatar Hospital in Orangi Town and later shifted them to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Besides the party’s office-bearers and workers, three parliamentarians Muhammad Hussain, Shaikh Abdullah and Saifuddin Khalid were also among the injured. Doctors termed the condition of all the victims out of danger.

MQM leaders also reached the crime scene and visited the hospital. MQM leader Aminul Haq said the membership drive has been continued. He said the militants carried out their swift operation after proper planning as MPAs were regularly sitting at the camp. He said three MQM MPAs had been killed so far by the same militant groups. He said such kind of attacks would not affect the performance of the MQM.    

Bomb disposal squad experts also reached the site and collected evidences. According to BD expert, the culprits used a Russian-made hand grenade which affected the people within 10 feet. Following the incident, law enforcement agencies have started conducting raids in various parts of Orangi Town, however, no one was arrested till the filing of this report. SSP Irfan Baloch said nothing could be said about the involvement of any group or assailants behind the attack.

It is worth mentioning here that Orangi Town, a highly populated area of the city, is dominated by MQM. The areas located in the surrounding of the Orangi Town were considered the stronghold areas of the militants. A number of MQM activists and former MPA Manzar Imam had also been killed in the same area in last couple of years.

JA claims attack

Agencies add: Jamaatul Ahrar – a splinter group of umbrella Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – has claimed the responsibility for the MQM camp attack.

A media organization quoted spokesman for Jamaatul Ahrar, Ehsanullah Ehsan as telling over the phone that “the MQM and other political parties who are thriving on the anti-Taliban agenda are on our hit list”.

He said that the attacks on Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) besides MQM would be continuing, adding that the militant outfit has renewed its war against these parties.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain has condemned the attack on his party’s camp, saying “cowardly attacks like this cannot deter our courage”.