Archive for Sunday, July 16, 2000

Bomb explodes on passenger train killing eight people

July 16, 2000


— A bomb ripped through a crowded passenger train heading for southern Karachi early Sunday, killing eight people and injuring 25 others, railway officials and doctors said.

The train was pulling out of the station in Hyderabad, 100 miles north of Karachi, when the bomb went off around 7 a.m., they said. Troops quickly cordoned off the area as residents helped rush victims to hospital.

Four passengers died in the emergency ward of the hospital, said the railway workers, speaking on condition of anonymity. Hospital officials said another four people died within an hour. They feared the death toll could increase because at least two other people were in critical condition.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion and police say they have no suspects.

"The train was just leaving when there was a huge bang, smoke everywhere and people screaming," said a passenger who identified himself only as Azim. He was travelling with his sister and her two children in the passenger car carrying the explosive devise.

Suffering from cuts and bruises, Azim said the scene was chaotic. The rear of the passenger car was a mess of twisted steel.

In recent months there have been several bomb explosions in Pakistan. Most of the explosions have occurred in the eastern Punjab province, the country's largest and most populous region.

However, southern Karachi, Pakistan's largest city of 14 million people located on the Arabian Sea coast, also has been the target.

Pakistani authorities have blamed many of the explosions on neighboring India, however, it's not clear what the evidence is to link New Delhi.

Pakistan and India routinely accuse each other of sabotage. Uneasy neighbors since South Asia gained its independence in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars in 53 years.

Southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, also has been wracked by ethnic and religious violence. The ethnic combatants usually are members of the regional Muttahida Qami Movement, representing Indian Muslims who settled here in 1947, and indigenous Sindhis.

Some officials suspected the explosion may have been an act of protest against Saturday's conviction of a leading MQM leader, Sattar Farooq, on corruption charges.

Farooq was sentenced to 14 years in jail and barred from holding political office for 21 years. The stiff penalty is part of a new law introduced by the army-led government after seizing power in a military coup last October.

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