Here are a few articles and reports which confirm that the attack on the Ashura procession and the subsequent arson was carried out by Taliban terrorists and certain rogue elements of the establishment.
Taliban claim bombing in Karachi
Pakistan’s Taliban have said they carried out the suicide bombing which killed 43 people in the commercial capital, Karachi, on Monday.
A spokesman threatened to carry out more such attacks in the coming days.
Meanwhile, firefighters are still trying to douse flames following rioting after the attack on a Shia Muslim march.
Dozens of people were injured in the bomb, which struck as Shias marked the climax of the holy month of Muharram.
After the explosion, marchers turned their anger on ambulance workers, security forces and journalists.
“We carried out the suicide bombing in Karachi,” the AFP news agency quoted Asmatullah Shaheen, one of the commanders of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as saying.
“He [the bomber] was our man. His name was Hasnain Muawia and we did it to protect the honour of the companions of the holy prophet,” said Mr Shaheen whose name is on a government list of 20 most-wanted militants.
“We will carry out more such attacks and also target government installations,” he said. Source
A Taliban spokesman, Asmatullah Shaheen, told The Associated Press in a telephone call from an undisclosed location that the group had carried out Monday’s attack. “We claim responsibility for the attack on the Shiite procession,” Shaheen said, adding that one of the group’s men was sent to the southern port city the day before the procession to carry out the bombing. Source1 , Source 2
Post-bombing riots in Karachi “too well organised” to be spontaneous
Immediately after a suicide bomber detonated explosives during a Shiite procession in Karachi on Monday, riots took hold of a nearby district, leading locals to believe that the Shiite mourners were seeking immediate revenge. Some of our Observers in the area however say that the supposed riots were too well organised to have been instigated spontaneously.
The Ashura procession, held on the 10th day of mourning for the prophet’s grandson, Imam Hussein, is the most important event in the holy month of Muharram for Shiite Muslims. But in Pakistan, where Shiites are a minority, the celebration is often marred by secular violence.
This year, bombs were set off on the 8th, 9th and 10th days of Muharram. But not by Sunni militants; the government blamed the attacks on the Taliban, (who on Wednesday, claimed responsibility). The 10th day, during the Ashura procession, saw the bloodiest attack, when a young man set off a bundle of explosives killing 43 people. The man has already been located on CCTV footage. But the people behind what followed, when around 500 buildings were torched, state vehicles vandalised, and three markets destroyed, are yet to be found.
“The arsonists might be part of a grander strategy to spark fresh ethnic violence in Karachi”
Faisal Kapadia owns a chemical trading company near to the riot site in Karachi.
Early on Tuesday morning I went to my office as it’s about 500 meters from the last arson attack site. The office was untouched, but what I saw was horrifying… A space the size of two full city blocks had been torched.
There is no way on earth a mob could have done this. It is almost logistically impossible to set this much on fire without pre planning it. It is as if fires sprung up at 20 different locations immediately after the explosion took place. Although obviously some of the carnage (like broken signals and traffic signs) can be attributed to mob action, I do not think the fire is the work of Shiites from the procession.
Since the 1980s this city has witnessed ethnic violence between Shiites and Sunnis. The arsonists who torched the area however, might be part of a grander strategy to spark fresh ethnic violence in Karachi, which has more or less been peaceful for the past two years. Perhaps they are also part of the Taliban – I do think it would be in their favour to see Pakistan’s biggest city overcome by anarchy, destabilising the government so that a power vacuum is created which they can then fill. That is the main goal of the jihads in Pakistan; the establishment of a totalitarian regime controlled by them.
“The Shiites were busy trying to finish the jaloos [procession] in safety”
This footage was shot by YouTuber Nadeem Zaidi just after the bombing. In defiance of the attack, the mourners continued their procession.
It’s true that the Shiites were angry but I do not believe they were involved in the post-blast riots. They were busy trying to finish the jaloos [procession] in safety. I saw elders calming down younger boys; and those youngsters obeyed their elders and stopped shouting at the police and got on with the jaloos [procession].”
The map above pinpoints the place of bombing as well as the buildings where agents of Taliban + establishment rioted in the aftermath of the bombing.
A pre-planned act of terrorism
“It was not a simple reaction by the agitating masses,” said MQM provincial minister Faisal Sabzwari. “It seems like a pre-planned act of terrorism by vested interests.”
Is the pro-Taliban establishment involved?
“The organized way that all this is being done clearly shows that the terrorists are being sponsored either by the government itself or some other state that wants to destabilize Pakistan,” said Noman Ahmed, who works for a Karachi clearing agency.
Pakistan’s all-powerful military sets security policy. So the key gauge of public confidence may be how the army’s performance is viewed. In the 1980s, it nurtured militants who fought Soviet occupation troops in Afghanistan. Then the Taliban emerged in the 1990’s after a civil war tore apart Afghanistan.
Now Pakistan’s army faces brazen homegrown militants. If it does what Washington wants it to — wipe out militants who operate in Afghanistan — it may lose what is sees as vital leverage in Afghanistan when U.S. troops pull out.
Shiites reject foreign hands involvement theory
“I don’t buy that foreign hands are involved (in the Karachi attack). They’re domestic elements. They’re those who were nurtured, trained and protected in late 1990s,” said Sajid Ali Naqvi, head of the influential Shi’ites’ Islami Tehrik movement.
The bombing was one of the bloodiest in Karachi since an October 2007 attack on former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on her return to the country that killed at least 139 people. Source
Post-attack violence was preplanned, says Malik
KARACHI: An independent inquiry would be conducted into the fire that erupted in the aftermath of the Karachi suicide attack, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Tuesday, and alleged that the violence was “preplanned”. Addressing journalists, Malik said, “The fire … seems to [have been] preplanned … that is why we have ordered an independent investigation.” He said that officials from the FIA and other law-enforcement agencies would be among those conducting the inquiry. He said a representative of businessmen, an official from the Sindh Legal Department and a foreign expert, if needed, would also be co-opted for the probe. Malik said investigators would also “see … which material was used to set markets on fire”. app Source
Syed Ammar Shah, a member of the Ashura procession, has claimed, however, that the mourners were not responsible for the arson and destruction in Boulton Market and the adjoining areas. “We do not carry gasoline tanks, batons, and guns with us when we take to the streets to commemorate the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (RA),” he maintained. “When we are beating our own chests in mourning, how can you expect us to harm some one else? We mourn the loss of life and the property of the Ahlulbayt of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) at Kerbala. How can you expect us to burn and rob someone else’s property ñ that too of a Muslim?”
Shah further said that in the aftermath of the suicide blast, the mourners were busy attending to the injured and picking up the remains of those who were martyred. “We were mentally focussing on ensuring that the procession goes on as planned, and we did so despite all risks. Those who burnt the shops of Muslims are not from among us. Terrorism is not only a threat to Shias, but to humanity as a whole. Suicide blasts and extremist jihad will achieve nothing except the wrath of Allah, who hates nothing more after Shirk than the shedding of the blood of innocents,” he said.
The Talib suicide bomber was dressed in black. His companions (arsonists) too were dress as Shias.
Yet another eyewitness and a resident of the area, Saleem Ahmed, said that he saw around 25 men “dressed as Shias,” who stood guard with automatic rifles, while their accomplices set the markets ablaze. Source
The non-state actors’ backlash to democratic President?
بے نظیر بھٹو کی دوسری برسی کے جلسے میں ملک کے صدر آصف علی زرداری جن غیرریاستی عناصر کا حوالہ دیکر یہ کہہ رہے تھے کہ وہ پاکستان کے جوہری پروگرام کے کنٹرول کے حصہ دار بننا چاہتے تھے اور وہ بے نظیر بھٹو کے قتل کی تحقیقات اقوام متحدہ کی بجائے پنڈی بھٹیاں کے تھانیدار سے کروانا چاہتے تھے۔ ہوسکتا ہے وہ غیرریاستی عناصر بھی اب تنگ آمد بجنگ آمد پر اتر آئے ہوں
Nazir Naji’s op-ed is consistent with the BBC Urdu’s analysis above, suggesting that non-state actors (the ISI-Taliban alliance) may be responsible for the Ashura attack as a backlash to Zardari’s speech in Naudero:
The following news item also suggests something fishy in the whole episode:
Chemical used in ‘well-planned’ arson attacks
By Imran Ayub
Wednesday, 30 Dec, 2009
KARACHI: As firefighters succeeded in dousing the flames engulfing more than 2,000 shops on M.A. Jinnah Road following over 20 hours of effort on Tuesday, they found ‘obvious’ signs of chemicals used in the arson, lending credence to the suspicions of traders and investigators who see the arson as a premeditated and well-planned strike after a deadly attack on the Muharram procession that killed about 43 people on Monday.
Though the traders of more than a dozen wholesale markets found themselves clueless to the reason behind the violent reaction of the bomb attack, investigators, perhaps for the first time in the violent history of Karachi, enjoy immense technological edge provided by the city government’s command and control system.
“Our system has recorded each and every movement,” claimed City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal. “We offered the facility to the police for the procession’s surveillance despite the fact that it’s not our responsibility to make security arrangements. But we will do the same if they need help in investigations.”
The city nazim, who monitored the firefighting operation in the nearly 18 different wholesale markets housed in various buildings on M.A. Jinnah Road, said the firemen performed 36-hour duty before and after the tragic events despite the fact that they faced stiff resistance from arsonists who attacked the fire tenders and firefighters.
A few firefighters Dawn spoke to termed the blaze the worst in decades which went wild due to arson coupled with flammable products in different shops and stores.
“There are visible signs of phosphorus used in the fires,” said an official at the city government’s fire department. “Further description of the particular chemical used in the arson can only be established through proper chemical examination, which has not been ordered from any side, including the investigation agencies.”
He said the markets were set on fire one by one in a matter of minutes on M.A. Jinnah Road and the blaze raged from shop to shop and floor to floor.
Though the city police still look for more clues to the number of and links to the suspected suicide bomber, the investigators said they had acquired all the footage recorded by the city government’s surveillance cameras, which could help spot the arsonists.
“We have been analysing and further enhancing the footage to make them more effective,” said Capital City Police Officer Waseem Ahmed. “A sabotage attempt behind the fires can’t be ruled out but there is a question mark over the capability and performance of our fire department.”
He referred to the fact that delays in the arrival of fire tenders to the scene finally forced the police to call a recently-acquired anti-riot vehicle carrying 2,000 gallons of water for firefighting.
Ateeq Meer, the chairman of the Alliance of Market Associations, a common platform for nearly 300 markets and traders’ associations, echoed the same sentiments. But he also blamed the police for not rising to the occasion.
“They left the arsonists free to do what they willed,” he said. “Iqbal Market, Light House market of cloth, Kapra Market with wholesales markets of imported FMCGs (fast moving consumers goods), perfumes, glasses, chemical and medicine have been burnt to ashes. Source
The Taliban Commander claiming responsibility for the Ashura attack was previously arrested by the Police but then released at the ISI’s request:
پشاور سے ہمارے نامہ نگار عبدالحئی کاکڑ نے بتایا کہ تحریکِ طالبان پاکستان کے کمانڈر عصمت اللہ شاہین نے بی بی سی سے ٹیلی فون پر بات کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ کراچی میں عاشورہ کے جلوس پر خودکش حملہ ان کے گروپ کے ایک ساتھی نے کیا ہے۔ انہوں نے خودکش حملہ آور کا فرضی نام حسنین معاویہ بتایا تاہم انہوں نے اصلی نام اور عمر بتانے سے انکار کردیا۔
ان کے بقول خودکش حملہ آور حملے سے ایک روز قبل ہی کراچی پہنچا تھا اور اس نے بتائے ہوئے مقام کو نشانہ بنایا۔
خیال رہے کہ پیر کی شام کراچی کی ایم اے جناح روڈ پر عاشورۂ محرم کے جلوس میں ایک دھماکہ ہوا تھا جس میں عورتوں اور بچوں سمیت بیالیس افراد ہلاک ہوئے تھے اور اس واقعے کے بعد شہر میں ہنگامے پھوٹ پڑے تھے جن کے دوران شہر کی مرکزی مارکیٹوں میں سینکڑوں دکانوں کو نذرِ آتش کردیا گیا تھا۔
عصمت اللہ شاہین سے پوچھا گیا کہ طالبان ترجمان اعظم طارق اور قاری حسین کی موجودگی کے باوجود وہ کیوں اس واقعہ کی ذمہ داری قبول کررہے ہیں تو ان کا کہنا تھا کہ چونکہ طالبان قیادت نے حملے کی ذمہ داری ان کے گروپ کو سونپی تھی اسی لیے وہ ذمہ داری قبول کر رہے ہیں۔
اس سے پہلے عصمت اللہ نے جنڈولہ میں بائیس قبائلی مشیران کو ہلاک کرنے کی زمہ داری قبول کی تھی۔ عبد اللہ محسود کی جانب سے چینی انجینیئرز کو اغوا کرنے کے بعد حکومت نے مبینہ طور پر اس کارروائی میں ملوث ہونے کے شبے میں انہیں گرفتار کر لیا تھا۔ ذرائع کا کہنا ہے کہ عصمت اللہ کو تفتیس کے لیے چین بھی بھیجا گیا تھا تاہم بعد میں ان کو رہا کر دیا گیا تھا۔
واضح رہے کہ عصمت اللہ شاہین عبداللہ محسود کے قریبی ساتھی تھے تاہم بعد میں انہوں نے بیت اللہ محسودگروپ میں شمولیت اختیار کرلی۔ انہیں جنڈولہ کا امیر مقرر کیا گیا۔ آج کل وہ جنوبی وزیرستان میں جاری فوجی کارروائی کی وجہ سے طالبان کے دیگر کمانڈروں کی طرح روپوش ہیں۔
اس سے پہلے عصمت اللہ نے جنڈولہ میں بائیس قبائلی مشیران کو ہلاک کرنے کی ذمہ داری قبول کی تھی۔ عبد اللہ محسود کی جانب سے چینی انجینیئرز کو اغوا کرنے کے بعد حکومت نے مبینہ طور پر اس کارروائی میں ملوث ہونے کے شبے میں انہیں گرفتار کر لیا تھا۔ ذرائع کا کہنا ہے کہ عصمت اللہ کو تفتیش کے لیے چین بھی بھیجا گیا تھا تاہم بعد میں ان کو رہا کر دیا گیا تھا Source
Senator Abdi’s remarks: (courtesy Rabia Shakoor):
In the words of Senator Faisal Raza Abdi: When a TV anchor asked him where we can find the perpetrators of the blast, Senator Abdi said:
“madrasoN keh neechay barracks main dekhain…general sahib say poochain (another guest on the show)… unn ko hum se behtar pata ho ga”
Here is a non-literal translation: It’s not just madrassahs but also the barracks beneath the madrassahs which need to be examined in order to investigate this attack. Ask the General (another guest on the show), they (army officers) know these facts better than us (politicians).