‘Two Suicide Bombers Carried Out Attack’ |
Azhar Masood & Agencies | October 23, 2007
KARACHI/ISLAMABAD, 23 October 2007 — Pakistani authorities now suspect that two suicide bombers were involved in a bloody attack on former Premier Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming convoy, officials said yesterday.
Officials had earlier said only one of the two blasts that killed 139 people in Karachi on Thursday was carried out by a suicide attacker, while the other was caused by a grenade hurled by an unknown assailant.
“We have got another head which we suspect could be of a second suicide bomber,” Wasim Akhtar, the home minister for southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, told AFP.
“We have suspicions about it and our investigators are making fresh efforts. His face is being reconstructed but so far we have got no substantial clues about those behind the blast,” he said.
Police officials speaking on condition of anonymity also said the second head found at the scene was believed to be that of another suicide bomber.
Benazir had previously claimed that two suicide bombers were involved.
An official report submitted to President Pervez Musharraf yesterday said Benazir was the target in the attack.
According to official sources the report was compiled by important officials under orders from Musharraf.
The report compiled by intelligence agencies carried statements of Sindh chief minister, Sindh governor, Sindh chief secretary and the inspector general of Sindh police.
Police and Rangers could not do much to avert the attack due to lack of cooperation from PPP chairperson’s security team, the report quoted officials as saying.
The Sindh government had asked the PPP leadership to reach Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum before sunset citing security reasons, but due to massive turnout, the procession could not proceed as planned. Benazir was saved because of the armored vehicle she was in and a police jeep that came between the truck and the bomber and bore the brunt of the attack, the report added. Analysts said the government did not anticipate such a big turnout at the procession.
Benazir’s Pakistan People’s Party yesterday demanded the removal of the chief investigating officer from the case, alleging that he had been present when her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was tortured while in custody in 1999.
Benazir yesterday visited the mausoleum of Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, making her second public outing in as many days after the suicide attack.
She later told a press conference the government had not provided enough security to protect her after the failed assassination attempt.
“As of now, I haven’t got what I want in terms of my security,” she said. “And it’s not just me, I want security provided to all political leaders of Pakistan.” Benazir said it was premature to talk of any partnership with Musharraf.
She said she had not been informed of the progress police had made in its investigation into the assassination bid.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, hearing a petition by Benazir’s party concerning the Karachi blasts said the court was monitoring the investigation into the bombing and would take action when it deemed necessary.
Another 11-member bench of the top court headed by Justice Javed Iqbal continued its hearing of petitions against Musharraf’s re-election as president.
During the course of the proceedings Justice Iqbal said politicians had sought intervention of the army on numerous occasions. After the court adjourned its hearing until today, Attorney General Malik Qayyum and Prime Minister’s Adviser Sharifuddin Pirzada said, “We expect a judgment in the case within a week.”