Karachi: According to Sindh Home Department Secretary Qazi Shahid Pervaiz, at least 14 persons were killed and 15 others were injured in a bomb at Paracha Chowk in Karachi’s Shershah district on Saturday.
The explosion occurred under a nullah (drain) beneath a private bank, which had been served with a notice to evacuate the premises so the nullah could be cleaned up, according to SHO Zafar Ali Shah.
According to Shah, the explosion destroyed the bank’s premises as well as an adjacent gas station.
A bomb disposal squad was dispatched to the scene of the incident, according to a statement from a Karachi police spokeswoman, who added that after the squad submits its report, the cause can be determined with confidence.
The incident was caused by gas leaks and the concentration of gases in the nullah beneath the building, according to a report issued later that day.
A police official further stated that no proof of terrorism has yet been discovered at the detonation site.
Meanwhile, Shahbaz Gill, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication, claimed that Alamgir Khan’s father, Dilawar Khan, was also killed in the bombing.
“We share Alamgir Khan’s and other bereaved families’ sadness,” he wrote, expressing his condolences.
Sindh Rangers said in a statement that officers had arrived at the scene of the explosion and cordoned off the area.
The incident was captured on video, which showed a destroyed building and rubble on the ground. At the explosion scene, there were also damaged vehicles.
People were spotted attempting to clear the rubble. People were said to be trapped beneath the rubble.
‘Illegal to construct structures on nullahs.’
Later, during a press conference, Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani revealed that the bank’s premises was constructed and rented by the SITE Association of Industry, based on information he had obtained thus far.
“I’m baffled as to how an institution can build a structure atop a nullah and rent it out,” the minister remarked.
In response to a query, Ghani said, “supposedly, and I am not saying this definitively, the SITE Association is accountable for the incident because it built the afflicted building [on a sewer] and rented it out.”
The minister stated that it was illegal to construct any structure on a nullah.
He stated that all constructions built on drains in the city should be dismantled, but that people who are harmed or displaced as a result of the move should also be compensated.
“It’s not so much their fault as it is the fault of the people who gave them the land in the first place,” Ghani explained. Institutions, agencies, organisations, and officials who awarded land to people living on nullahs, he said, must be identified so that legal action can be taken against them.
Later, when speaking to the media, the Sindh home department declared that any structures built on nullahs were unlawful.
He claimed he had issued orders for a transparent probe into the incident and that a “great operation” against encroachments will be begun soon.