Karachi explosion: Security agencies tighten noose around SRA, shortlist suspects

Faraz Khan
Saturday, May 14, 2022

KARACHI: Security agencies have tightened the noose around the banned outfits, particularly the separatist groups of Sindh, after the Sindudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) claimed responsibility for the Thursday’s bombing in a busy street of Saddar.

This was the second major terrorist activity in Karachi within a three-week period. On April 26, four persons, including three Chinese teachers, were killed in a suicide attack at the University of Karachi. The recent bombing in the Saddar area became another tough challenge for the law enforcement agencies already busy in probing the KU suicide bombing. The agencies are still unable to trace and arrest the key handlers of the KU suicide bombing.

The Counter-Terrorism Department of the Sindh Police has shortlisted the suspects linked to the outlawed SRA and decided to launch an overnight operation against them.

“A list of the SRA militants involved in the terrorist activities, particularly those released from jails within six months, have been compiled,” CTD’s DIG Khurram Ali Shah told The News. “We have shortlisted them and an operation is likely to begin against them from tonight.”

Since a little known separatist group SRA operating in southern Sindh province became a part of an alliance called Baloch Raji Ajoi Sangar, or BRAS, a consortium of Sindhi and Baloch separatist organizations, the SRA has enhanced its activities and has been found involved in various terrorist attacks in Karachi, including the Kashmir rally taken out by the Jamaat-e-Islami on the University Road, and several cracker attacks on the Rangers.

“These are foreign funded organisations. Besides these attacks, SRA was also involved in several railway track attacks using similar IEDs.” To a question about if a joint venture of SRA with BLA was behind the Saddar bombing, CTD DIG Khurram Ali Shah said, “We cannot rule out the possibility of joint venture of SRA and BLA in this attack but are trying to ascertain if it was an individual act or a joint venture.”

Investigators have also obtained more CCTV footages from the location, helping them to ascertain how the terrorist strike was carried out. The new CCTV footages show two suspects, one wearing a shirt and a trouser, seen parking a bicycle, while another young suspect, wearing black kameez, parked his vehicle near the garbage dump. Another CCTV footage shows that as soon as the suspect wearing the black shirt, who was sitting at a nearby teashop, puts his hand into his pocket apparently to detonate the bomb from a remote-control, a blast followed, shortly after the Pakistan Coast Guard vehicle arrives.

The Bomb Disposal Squad also has prepared a report which suggests that the explosives used in the bombing were locally made and the device weighed two-and-a-half kgs, containing ball-bearings. It further stated that it caused damage to around 20 vehicles, including motorcycles, as well as damaging the windowpanes and doors of around 35 houses.

“Since it was a uni-direction bomb, it did not seriously damage the Coast Guard vehicle because the bomb’s direction was on the opposite side.” The report determines the bomb had a battery and similar bombs were used in the Suparco and Hub River Road attacks.

However, no case has been registered till the filing of this story while the case is likely to be registered at the CTD. Hospital sources said that only one injured person remained admitted to the hospital while others were released after treatment.