Thousands bury victims of Karachi bombing

KARACHI: Thousands of mourners attended funerals on Monday for victims of a bombing that killed 48 people in Abbas Town, a Shia dominated neighbourhood of Karachi.

Thousands of men, women and children, many of them wearing black headbands, beat their chests and heads and sobbed as eight coffins passed by at the start of the first funeral, an AFP reporter said.

Some mourners reportedly set two trucks on fire near the Super Highway in the outskirts of Karachi after attending the burial of the victims.

Moreover a firing incident was reported in Sohrab Goth area where attendees of the funerals of the Abbas Town blast victims came under fire.

At least 4,000 people turned out for the funerals, police officers estimated.

Sindh provincial police surgeon Aslam Pechuho told AFP the death toll had risen to 48 from an overnight 45, with around 200 wounded.

A complete shutdown was observed in Karachi as the city mourned on Monday the bombing that occurred a day earlier in the city’s Abbas Town area.

Some relatives of the victims were still identifying the remaining bodies kept at the morgue.

Some protestors staged demonstrations at the city’s Numaish Chowrangi and burnt tyres blocking roads in the area.

Traffic was thin as educational institutions, businesses and markets announced closure after the local government declared Monday a day of mourning for those killed in Sunday’s bombing.

The Jafria Alliance had also called for a strike for today which was backed by the Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen and other Shia organisations.

Local transport and traders’ associations said they would not be operating on Monday.

“There will be no public transport on the roads today,” said Karachi Transporters Ittehad chief Irshad Bokhari.

All-Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI) President Atiq Mir also said shopping centres and malls as well as other business activity would remain suspended.

Most petrol pumps and filling stations were shut across the city.

Although the Karachi Stock Exchange was open for operations today, there were fewer dealers and trading volumes were low, AFP quoted a local stock broker as saying.

The Sindh Assembly session scheduled for March 4 (today) was also postponed for two days in the wake of the blast.

Last year was the deadliest on record for Shias in Pakistan with more than 400 killed, according to Human Rights Watch.

Similarly a shutdown was also observed to mourn the Karachi incident, in Hyderabad city which left most social and business activities suspended on Monday.

All main trade centres and bazaars in the city remained closed while public transport was very thin. The attendance in the government and private offices was recorded low due to panic and fear.

Several main roads wore deserted look as traffic remained off the streets. Heavy contingents of police carried out patrolling across the city to avoid any untoward incident.

The government and private schools also remained closed as Sindh government and private school managements had already announced the closure over tragic bomb blast killings.

Angry mobs set tyres on fire in some areas of the city in protest against the blast incident.

The bomb exploded in Karachi on Sunday as worshippers were returning from prayers in the Shia-dominated neighbourhood of Abbas Town, ripping through two apartment blocks and trapping people beneath piles of rubble.

Those who survived but whose homes were damaged or destroyed are being housed temporarily in schools, officials said.

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