RAWALPINDI: In the second blast this month in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, more than two dozen people, including women and children, were wounded on Sunday in the busy Ganj Mandi district.
A car was also destroyed by the blast, which took place at about 2 pm, just a few hundred metres from the Ganj Mandi police station and near a water filtration facility.
Police, emergency services and counterterrorism department officials raced to the blast scene shortly after the explosion, cordoned off the scene, transported the victims to the hospital and began gathering evidence from the site.
The police could not rule out the possibility of a ‘terrorist act,’ but the investigation was underway to ascertain the precise cause of the blast.
25 people, including two women and three teenagers, were injured in the attack, according to the emergency services and counterterrorism police. Four of them offered first aid on the spot, while others were taken to the headquarters of the Rawalpindi district hospital.
Eyewitnesses were cited by the emergency services as saying that two motorcyclists tossed a hand grenade at passers-by and crowded around a shoe seller before driving away.
Speaking to Dawn, a bomb disposal specialist said In addition to a small crater, the investigators found a pin from the site that was used in the hand grenade.”
The official said it was a ‘high-intensity explosive’ grenade manufactured locally.
A hand grenade was lobbed between shoe selling vendors in front of the Ganj Mandi police station at about 2 pm, according to a spokesman for the CTD. He said thirteen people suffered injuries.
He said the bomb disposal squad had evacuated the area as CTD events and the crime scene unit were finding information that a FIR would be registered afterwards.
This year it was the second blast in over a week and the fifth attack in the garrison area, though no party has taken responsibility for the blasts so far.
Nabeel Ahmed, who works for a freight carrier, told Dawn that he and his older brother had dashed to the scene where the wounded were crying right after the blast. He said, “My cousin, Mohammad Munir Ahmed, 40, was wounded in the blast as well.” He was admitted to the hospital at the DHQ where his status was safe but seriously wounded.
Later, the site where they were told about the blast was inspected by District Police Officer Imran Ahmer and City Police Officer (CPO) Mohammad Ahsan Younas.
The CPO, speaking to the media, said that two blasts had occurred in Rawalpindi during the past eight days and that the likelihood of terrorism could not be ruled out in the most recent incident. “He explained that the possibility of terrorist activities had been reported by intelligence, “but it was not directly linked to targeting vendors.
Another security official said the reason for the attack could be to fear ransom dealers, but that will be obvious after the inquiries had been concluded.