Karachi: Fake bomb tied to man in terror incident
KARACHI: A furniture showroom owner and father of three lost his life Tuesday in a most unusual and horrific fashion, after assailants tied a fake bomb to his bullet ridden body.
Despite the presence of scores of people, no one dared help the victim for fear of the bomb exploding. The Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), which arrived too late, could not help the victim either.
This unforgettable incident took place near the Araish Home and Office Furniture Showroom, situated near Express Way, Manzur Colony, within the jurisdiction of the Baloch Colony police station.
The victim, Saleem Anwar Sheikh, 45, whose death left various questions and fears haunting forever, opened his shop around the usual time, at 10:22 am. He was reciting the Quran at his showroom, a regular habit of his after opening, when two armed men entered the shop with alleged intentions of kidnapping him.
Sheikh and his salesman were present at the showroom when the armed men entered the shop.
“The first thing they asked Sheikh, when they entered the shop,” said the salesman talking about the assailants, “was to close the Quran he was reading. Sheikh objected to this. He also signaled to me to escape through the roof and get help.”
While the salesman escaped to call for help, the two assailants took Sheikh outside with alleged intentions of kidnapping him. They planned to get away in his car but when they heard the commotion and saw people gathering, they fired two shots at Sheikh’s head and fled from the scene.
The salesman was shocked to see a belt with a bomb attached to it and the words “maut” (death) written on it, wrapped around his employer’s body. He was also wearing black glasses which the killers had put on him.
Soon, a large crowd of people gathered around Sheikh who was asking for help. The crowd, terrified of the bomb, did nothing. “I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to help him but I got scared after seeing the bomb,” the salesman said.
The police soon reached the scene. They managed to tread closer to the victim but stepped back as soon as they saw the bomb. Contradictory statements from the police and BDS have emerged about the sequence of events.
“I reached the scene within five minutes and Shah was already dead because of being shot twice,” said SHO Matiullah Khan. The police, immediately, informed the BDS at around 10:33 am. and everyone waited for them to show up, he said.
However, BDS member Sabir Khan Durrani said that the BDS was informed at 11:05 am. “Everyone is saying that the BDS reached the scene late but no one is asking why Firstly, we were given the wrong address. We first went to Akhtar Colony and were also stuck in traffic jams. That’s why we reached the scene late. If the citizens of Karachi do not give way to ambulances, why would they give way to us” asked a frustrated Durrani. “It was the responsibility of everyone to save this man’s life. Why didn’t anyone else try to help him” he questioned.
“I tried several times to cut the belt from the deceased’s body,” claimed the SHO. “There were scores of panicked people who were trying to help. This made it very difficult for the police to do anything.
Meanwhile, the crowd blocked the flow of traffic and started chanting slogans against the BDS, which had still not arrived. The BDS reached the scene at 11:45 am. to declare the bomb a fake. “The hoax was in the shape of a toy car with two detonators attached to it. There were no explosives,” said Durrani.
Once the bomb was declared a fake, the deceased’s body was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), from where his family took the body after completing the legal formalities.
Sheikh was a resident of the Karachi Admin Society. He was laid to rest at the Shafiq Pura Graveyard after the Maghrib prayers, where scores of people attended his funeral.
The motive behind the incident is far from known. Nobody knows why Sheikh was killed in such a horrific manner. “It is clear that this is not a case of attempted robbery because if anyone wanted to rob him they could have just killed him. There would’ve been no need to attach a fake bomb to him,” said DSP Ali Raza.
The deceased’s family engaged in the burial of Shah and so the police found it best not to question them about the incident. Shah did not have any affiliation with a political party. It is possible that this is a case of kidnapping for ransom, or a personal matter, according to the DSP. No FIR was registered at the time this report was filed.