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4 KU students & others killed as bus ambushed on University Road

KARACHI, Sep 14: In what is being called the worst kind of terrorism in the city's recent past, seven people were killed, including four students of the University of Karachi and three passengers, and more than one dozen were injured when unidentified armed men opened fire for more than 20 minutes and then threw explosives into a passenger bus on main University Road.

The incident happened in the middle-class neighbourhood of Gulshan-e-Iqbal at about 7:00 p.m. when a Gulbai-bound passenger bus G-7 (No. JE1686) was about to reach a bus stop by Naseer apartments near Safari Park on main University Road.

The Islami Jamiat Talaba alleged that activists of the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organisation had attacked its workers who were in the bus. The APMSO denied the allegations.

Witnesses said that nine assailants on three motorcycles intercepted the minibus on the University Road near the Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre. They first hurled some explosives into the bus and then sprayed it with bullets.

They said the assailants fled after the swift operation, leaving the victims in a pool of blood.

Edhi Foundation chief volunteer Faisal Edhi confirmed the deaths of seven people and added that due to traffic jams the ambulances reached the spot late. "We are still not sure about the total number of injured as they were taken to different hospitals," Edhi said.

Edhi and hospitals authorities said that in the firing and explosives attack the following were killed: third-year University of Karachi Political Science student Imran Shahid, Muhammad Siddique, final-year Library Science student Atif Butt, first-year Mass Communication student Kashif Habibullah, driver Muhammad Rafique, Sukkur resident Sarfraz Keerio, and carpenter Alvin Raza.

Alvin Raza was the father of two sons and two daughters and lived in Nasir Korangi. He was returning home from work on the bus. "They really did a terrible thing with us, I can't say anything," his wife, a teacher at St. Joseph's College, said outside the LNH casualty. She was in so much shock that she couldn't even give her name.

One of the injured men was 50-year old scrap dealer Haji Ahmed of Bilawal Goth who was brought to JPMC. In the indiscriminate fire he was shot in the left thigh and abdomen. Imran Ali, Rashid Khan and Altaf Hussain were taken to Liaquat National Hospital.

Witnesses said that the police arrived late and the people present at the spot had already taken the dead and injured to different hospitals.

"Five bodies were taken to LNH and two to JPMC and one to a private medial center in Gulshan-e-Iqbal but later all of them were taken to LNH," Faisal Edhi said.

Apparently an explosive substance was found undetonated in the bus and the bus driver Jan Mari was taken away by the police but these reports could not be confirmed.

"I was waiting for the poultry Mazda truck that went to nearby shops to drop off the chickens when it happened," 32-year-old Muhammad Sadiq said outside the JPMC casualty. He arrived there with the injured Haji Ahmed in a private van.

He said the men were on motorcycles and were accompanied with a car but he didn't get a chance to note the number down. "When the ill-fated bus was at some distance from me they first opened fire," Sadiq said. "I ran behind a nearby tree and the firing continued for more than 20 minutes and then I heard a big bang." There was silence from the surrounding areas for almost 15 minutes with only the passengers screaming for help.

CCPO Azhar Ali Farooqui said that according to driver Jan Mari there were three motorcycles with a total of nine young men on them. They came to the bus stop, stopped the bus and started firing. They then threw a hand grenade inside and took off.

Islami Jamiat Tulaba deputy secretary information Mohammad Danish said that four of the dead were IJT activists Imran Shahid, Mohammad Siddique, Atif Butt and Habibullah.

Witnesses said that a rangers check post was located at a short distance. JI's Mairajul Huda Siddiqui said that no rangers personnel were at the spot at the time. He added that the police arrived late and when they did, they baton charged the crowd to disperse it.

According to Dr Seemin Jamali, victim Sarfaraz Keerio was with a bank in Mehrabpur and had come to Karachi for an interview with another bank. "His entire back had been destroyed by an explosive substance," she said.

The CCPO has ordered that an inquiry committee will be formed, headed by DIG West Mir Zubair with TPO Gulshan and SP Investigations Javed Maher.

A funeral was scheduled for 12:30 a.m. Friday morning outside Islamia College, according to reports. According to other unconfirmed reports, one of the victim's families was being pressured.

APP adds: Four of those killed in the firing confirmed as Karachi university students, stated Media Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Inam Bari Jafri. He said that Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui has vehemently condemned the incident and expressed deep sorrow and grief at the killing of the students. He said that the students had boarded the mini-bus from the Shaikh Zayed Centre Gate of the University to head for the city when the vehicle was fired upon by armed men. Daily Times
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