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'Attack on KU students was a targeted affair'

Karachi, Sept 15: Twenty-three year old Rashid Khan, a resident of Keamari and a third year student of Islamic History at the University of Karachi was one of the six activists of the Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT) who were targeted in Thursday evening's attack right outside the premises of Karachi university. Today he lies in a bed at a city hospital wishing he never took that fateful bus home but at the same time is thankful that he managed to survive the attack in which some of his friends were killed. Rashid Khan readily confesses that he and his fellow activists had feared an attack on their lives but were still not ready for what fate had in store for them and how the attack would materialize. On Thursday evening, as they made their way home on a public bus, some unidentified men boarded the bus and sprayed bullets into it besides chucking in a grenade for good measure.

Rashid Khan alleges that students from a rival political party are responsible for the attack. He feels that this is retaliation for an earlier clash which erupted between the two groups on Wednesday afternoon. Officially authorities have still not disclosed who they think was responsible and say that investigations are still on to determine who was behind Thursday's incident. Rashid sustained a bullet wound and is admitted in the Liaquat National Hospital along with another student, Imran Ali Khan, who is in a critical condition as he received bullet wounds and shrapnel in different parts of his body.

Rashid and Imran are two survivors from the six students who were targeted. Recalling the incident, Rashid Khan, who is a student of the morning batch of Karachi University, said that he and his friends decided to stay back till the evening to work on a group assignment. In the evening, they boarded a public bus all together (route number G-7) as they feared they would be attacked and wanted to stay in a group at least till they reached the main bus stop at Hasan Square.

"We decided that we would switch buses from Hasan Square which is centrally located from where we could all catch a bus for our homes," said Khan during an interview on Friday from his hospital bed.

According to Rashid, it was when a passenger boarded near Shadi Qila marriage lawn on university road that three motorcyclists blocked the road and some men got on to the bus from the rear door and opened fire at him and his friends. "I immediately fainted and have no idea what happened later," he adds in a somewhat inaudible tone overcome with emotion. He adds, however, that he heard a loud bang soon after the initial spraying of bullets following which he fell completely unconscious. According to other passengers in the bus, a grenade was thrown in from a window which exploded on passenger Sarfaraz, a carpenter by profession.

His head was separated from his body and was completely mutilated, Nadir Khan a representative of the IJT said. The explosion was so loud, said by standers, that it could be heard inside a mosque within the university premises some distance away. Nadir Khan added that according to some eyewitnesses, a police mobile was present in the vicinity ten minutes before the incident but was not to be seen when the attack took place.

"It is not true that the police mobile was stuck in any traffic jam because exactly 10 minutes later they arrived at the scene and then prevented the IJT affiliates from entering the bus, declaring that there was a bomb in the bus and all should stay clear," said another of the IJT members at the hospital.

They also alleged that wallets and identity cards of the students were found some distance away from the site of the accident and money from the wallets of the deceased and injured was missing too. Not all are as lucky as Rashid.

23-year-old Imran Ali Khan, a student of third year Computer Science, is admitted in the ICU and is still lying unconscious. Four bullets have been removed through surgery but the fifth bullet that pierced through his left leg cannot be removed, say doctors. However, they are hopeful of his recovery.

Thursday's attack has shaken both staff and students of Karachi University due to the manner in which it was carried out as well as the death toll it has taken. The onus now lies on the police to come up with leads as to who would commit such a gruesome act, and more importantly, why. The News
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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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