Karachi, July 11 (Reuters): A powerful time bomb exploded at the entrance to an office building in Pakistan’s troubled commercial centre of Karachi today, killing two people and injuring several others, police and emergency workers said.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the blast, which came a week after a major attack on a Shia mosque in the southwestern city of Quetta that killed 53 people.
The Karachi blast occurred outside the 12-storey Crown Plaza building, which mainly contains offices of property agents and construction companies, at about 0305 GMT, before most workers had arrived.
A security guard and a passerby were killed in what police chief, Tariq Jameel, called “an act of terrorism”.
“The casualties remained low as the explosion occurred before the start of office hours,” he said, adding that it was too early to say who was responsible.
South Korea’s LG Group has an office in the building but none of its employees was reported hurt.
“We have collected two bodies. One was blown to pieces,” said Rizwan Edhi, a spokesperson for the Edhi Welfare Foundation, a private emergency service. Police officer Ajamal Magsi said the explosion was caused by a time bomb weighing more than 3 kg. It left a large crater at the entrance to the building and shattered windows at the Crown Plaza and other nearby blocks.
“The whole building was shaken. I was numb for a moment and then ran outside,” said Haider, a man inside the building at the time.
The explosion further underlines concerns about security in Karachi, a teeming city of 14 million people where there were a series of bomb attacks last year blamed on Islamic militants opposed to Pakistan’s support to the US-led war against terror.
In the capital Islamabad, about 900 Shias staged a protest accusing the government of failing to protect them.