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Karachi University bomb blast

10 students injured as blast rocks KU
Karachi, Dec 29: A low-intensity bomb went off at the University of Karachi (KU) on Tuesday, injuring 10 students, two of them seriously.

An official at a private hospital in Gulshan-e Iqbal said they had received eight to 10 students injured in the blast.

Two of those injured, Irfan Haider and Sajjad, were in a bad condition while the rest were released after first aid, the official said.

Some of those injured were identified as activists of the Imamia Students Organisation (ISO).

Police and eyewitnesses said that some students, including activists of the ISO, were offering Zohrain prayers near the university's Central Cafeteria at about 12:45pm when the explosion took place, injuring eight to 10 students.

Some angry activists and leaders of the ISO present at the university said that they had already sent an application to the university administration for granting them a place for prayers, which was still under consideration.

SSP Raja Umer Khattab of the SIU, Karachi, said that it would be premature to say that the act was of a sectarian nature though it could not be ruled out.

The criminal act might have been the result of some rivalry, he said.

The police official said an investigation into the incident from different angles was under way. SSP Khattab said that a complete vetting of the students, including those of the activists, should be done as investigations revealed that many of the political activists who had not been studying at the university used to visit the premises.

The SSP said that the bomb had been planted under a tree in the garden near the cafeteria where students offered prayers.

He said that the explosives used in the blast seemed to be of a TNT nature, but the exact make of the bomb could only be ascertained after the lab reports.

SSP Khattab added that the terrorists had used ball bearings also as most of the injured had received splinter injuries, and the weight of the bomb seemed to have been of about 400 to 500 grams.

Investigators probing the case termed the device a time bomb which was prepared with locally-made explosives.

Rangers personnel, who had already been present within the premises of the university, cordoned off the area of the blast and in the meantime police teams, including the personnel of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), reached the spot and collected evidence.

A spokesman for the Rangers said that the Rangers, with the help from the police, the university administration and the bomb disposal squad searched all the departments at the university and later handed the charge over to the administration.

Some observers termed the incident a total security failure on part of the university administration and the personnel of the Rangers, as they said hundreds of security personnel had been deployed at various points of the KU and despite the presence of such a huge force, some culprits still managed to plant a bomb at the university.

The DIG of East Zone, Shaukat Ali Shah, said that the investigators were looking into the matter of whether the device was a time bomb or a remote-controlled device.

Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Ali Mirza, strongly condemning the blast at the KU, directed the CCPO, Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari, to send him an immediate report on the tragic incident.

He also directed the CCPO to adopt strict measures and arrest those responsible for the blast and to review the security plan within the premises of the KU.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik also took notice of the incident of the minor blast at Karachi University and ordered immediate arrest of the culprits.

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Students terrified as violence plagues KU
Karachi: Sectarian divides seem to be casting their shadow over academic institutions as the first-ever blast at the Karachi University campus is believed to be linked to recent clashes between two student groups on sectarian grounds.

"The sound was so loud that the girls started crying. We all left our bags and books on the table and ran out, as we felt that a blast had occurred in the library," said Iqbal Baloch, who was studying at the library at the time of the blast.

Baloch's paper of International Economics has been postponed for the third time in the wake of the blast.

"We are extremely worried as to when are our exams will conclude and when the new academic session will kick off. Being a resident of Turbat district in Balochistan, I have to go to my hometown and meet my family, but I don't know when I get to see them now."

Everyone inside the campus seemed terrified. At the site of the explosion, angry activists of the Imamia Students Organisation (ISO), whose five members were injured, openly blamed a rival group for the attack, terming it an act of sectarian violence.

"Despite the fact that our party had reached a compromise with them after our recent clash, we are sure that they are the ones who are behind the attack," said ISO's Qarar Hussain, whose cousin Wajid was among the injured. Wajid is the group's general secretary.

He added that their rival faction had threatened them with dire consequences after some of its members were injured in the recent clashes. "We believe that extremist elements within the group carried out the attack in order to postpone the Youm-e-Hussain event which is to be held soon at the university."

Chanting 'Labaik Ya Hussain', Zain Ansari, another member of the ISO, warned of retaliation if they were attacked in the future. "Thankfully, not many people were present at the site. But we want to inform everyone that our party will not tolerate such attacks and we may also resort to retaliation in the future," he added.

A student of the Economics Department also feared that sectarian violence had made its way into the campus. "This is definitely a sectarian attack as both the groups have been fighting each other lately. It is sad that Rangers never catch the culprits despite having information about them."

He added that several members of the student groups who are no longer students had been openly indulging in politics on the premises for the last several years under the nose of the administration and law enforcers. "I know people in their thirties operating inside the campus. Why don't the authorities take action against these people who are not even studying here?"

Students were also very critical of the KU administration's failure to control the worsening law and order situation inside the campus.

"Security officials have even failed to control minor issues like mobile snatching at the university, so how can we expect them to take action on such incidents? The officials know which students carry weapons and where they hide them, but they never take action against them," alleged Mushtaq Ahmed.

Tuesday's blast also resulted in the postponement of examinations due today, upsetting the students who have been facing a series of delayed papers due to clashes on the campus.

Irum, a student of MSc Final, was in the biology lab when the explosion took place. "Everything seems like a joke to the administration as they only close down the university when an untoward incident happens but never take action against the culprits. Now with the blast, the government and university officials should open their eyes and provide security to the students." The news

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University stays open
Karachi: Karachi University Registrar Prof Dr Kaleem Raza Khan has said that no holidays have been announced by the administration and only one paper has been postponed following a blast on the campus.

"We never told the media that the university is going to be closed for three days," he said referring to TV reports about three-day closure of Karachi University.

He added that the Rangers had started scanning the buildings on the campus for explosives.

"This process will be completed on Wednesday. This is the reason why the exams have been postponed only for a day," he said.

He said that the condition of two students who were seriously wounded in the Tuesday blast was now out of danger, adding that no serious damage had been caused to KU property.

Prof Khan said that the university had already issued a directive for the registration of an FIR of the blast.

Regarding security concerns, he said it was a difficult task to ensure a complete peace on the campus. "Between 40,000 and 45,000 people visit the university every day and it is difficult to check each one of them. The visitors include many people who are not directly linked to the university." Dawn

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VC orders search operation on campus
Karachi: The Karachi University management has decided to take stringent security measures in the wake of a bomb blast on the university premises, including a thorough search operation on the entire campus, including the Staff Town.

Talking to journalists after the blast on Tuesday, Vice-Chancellor Prof Pirzada Qasim agreed that security on the campus was not up to standard, expressing his reservations over the performance of the two pro vice-chancellors who, according to him, were clueless about the situation in the university.

The VC announced that the displaying of identification cards by students and faculty would be made mandatory. "Rangers personnel will also conduct snap checking."

When reminded of the promises he had made 18 months back that watch towers would be built around the gates and that a Rapid Campus Police would be formed, the VC said he needed more time on this account.

Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) leaders also addressed a press conference after the blast, expressing their grievances against the university administration. They said that the KU

management had not been paying attention to their demand for more security on the campus and permission to build a mosque inside the campus where they could feel secure.

The ISO leaders decided to observe three-day mourning, assuring the VC that it would not affect the ongoing examination schedule.

Meanwhile, the university announced that papers scheduled for Wednesday (today) had been postponed as the law enforcers would scan the Administration Block and other areas of the university in view of any possible threat.

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SMI to get varsity charter soon: Awan
Karachi: The Sindh Madrasatul Islam (SMI) College will soon get the charter of university after the resolution of some technicalities which came in the way due to the 18th Amendment, said Dr Babar Awan, federal minister for law, justice and parliamentary affairs, on Tuesday.

Delivering an address at the SMI College, Dr Awan said that a meeting was held recently to discuss the matter of Sindh Madrasa University with the departments concerned. He was of the opinion that being the alma mater of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah the SMI happened to be the most prestigious institution for each and every citizen of the country, including him.

Talking about the 18th Amendment, the law minister said that all the provisions incorporated in the Constitution of 1973 by various dictators had been removed, adding that the people of Pakistan would now be treated on a parity basis as the Constitution "provides equal fundamental rights to all citizens".

Dr Awan called upon the students to discourage pessimist people, "because this country is the first and last option and choice for all of us".

He said: "This is the world of 'we' and not 'me' and this is why the present democratic government is working on the guideline of reconciliation and consensus set by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto."

The law minister said that the government provided additional Rs400 billion to the provinces under the NFC Award, adding, "Karachi is Shahra-e-Pakistan due to its affiliation with the Quaid".

Earlier, in his presentation, Principal SMI College Dr Muhammad Ali Shah said that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah used to love his alma matter to the extent that he bequeathed one third of his personal property to Sindh Madrasa through his last will. Similarly, former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto placed the SMI under the federal government on June 12, 1974 in order to promote it as a national institute.

During the tenure of Benazir Bhutto, girls' secondary section was added to the SMI, he said, adding that she had also visited the alma mater of his grandfather Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto many times and promised to develop it according to its historic role but she didn't survive.

Dr Shaikh stated that the president had also announced Rs 250 million for the development of the SMI as a befitting memento to the memory of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the federal education minister too had announced that an SMI campus would be built in Islamabad. The news

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