A Bombing in Karachi

Dozens murdered while attending a prayer session in a public park

Satellite Image of Karachi Click to enlarge.

Terrorists have struck again in the southern city of Karachi, Pakistan. Over forty are believed dead and scores wounded after a bomb was detonated during a prayer service in a public park. The Associated Press reports “Initial reports suggested a bomb was planted near the stage in Nishtar Park… for a prayer gathering organized by a Sunni Muslim group to celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad, said area police chief Shah Nawaz. But Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao told Pakistan’s private Geo television that authorities were also investigating whether the attack may have been carried out by a suicide bomber.”

CNN speculates the attack may be the latest incident of sectarian violence between Shiite & Sunni factions in Pakistan, “In February, at least 40 people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a Shiite procession in the town of Hangu in the country’s North West Frontier Province.” However if the incident was a suicide bombing, the obvious culprit is Lashkar-e-Taiba, al Qaeda’s local branch in Pakistan.

In early March, Karachi was the scene of a suicide car attack on a convoy of a representative of the U.S. Consulate, which killed the diplomat and seriously damaged the surrounding buildings. Karachi is the breeding and meeting grounds of al Qaeda terrorists. Just this week, Interpol has issued a “special notice” concerning Dawood Ibrahim, and “now recognizes Dawood as part of the worldwide terror syndicate of Osama bin Laden whose Al-Qaida is lead member of the 17-member World Jihad Council.” Dawood’s operations have spanned Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman.” Interpol states Dawood maintains “a posh colony in Karachi.”

Pakistan’s dysfunctional state of affairs only worsens. Various agencies in the North West Frontier Province have fallen to the Taliban. The Taliban is basically offering the Pakistani Army a truce in North Waziristan. Pakistan has been inclined to accept such offers in the past. The banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) recently held a 5,000 man strong rally calling for the establishment of “a global caliphate, beginning with Pakistan,” and according the the Daily Times, a leader of the SSP was quoted as saying “The concept of nation state is an obstacle in the way of the establishment of Khilafat (Caliphate). We will start the establishment of Khilafat in Pakistan and then will do so across the world.” And the Pakistani government recently declared the Baluchistan Liberation Army a “terrorist entity,” foreshadowing another bloody confrontation in the large natural resource-rich province in the southwest corner of the country.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.


  • Colin says:

    Bill, what would possibly be the motivation of a group like Lashkar-e-Taiba to attack a group of worshipping Sunnis? Wouldn’t that alienate potential supporters? It’s not like they killed a member of the Musharraf regime or torched the obligatory Colonel Sanders. This was an attack on the religiously active (possibly even devout) members of the Pakistani population, arguably the source of greatest legitimacy for outfits like LeT and al Qaeda.

  • ECH says:

    Would Zarqawi in Iraq try to kill a Sunni tribal leader in order to try to blame it on Shias? Of course and he has done many such things in the past.

  • c says:

    Good point. Its always good to remember that events like this don’t happen in a vacuum, and that, as much as people dismiss this notion, Iraq is tied in witgh a larger war.

  • Colin says:

    Sorry, that last one was me

  • Rob says:

    Nice overhead of Karachi.
    Note the freeways; they are there.
    Pakistan is changing.
    The critical issue is how Musharaff and the Pak military will respond to what is going on in Waziristan. Pakistan has responded well to the challenge of the War on Terror. This has resulted in positive changes in Pakistan, the most important is more peacefull relations with India. Reduced tensions with India, can leave the Pak military free to deal with the challenge in Waziristan and among the Baluch if necessary.
    Pakistan has gone our way in the War on Terror and the terrorists are pushing back.
    Wish them well.

  • remoteman says:

    Those are divided main roads, nothing like what we would call a freeway. Plenty of stoplights. Pakistan seems to be, ever so slowly, losing control of much of their “nation”. Trouble ahead me thinks.

  • Interested Observer says:

    Does this mean that Pakistan is in a state of civil war?
    Are we tracking deaths per month in the tribal areas plus bombings in a land at peace compared to Iraq a land in “full scale revolt”
    Or for that matter murders per capita in DC?

  • GK says:

    Pakistan does have a booming economy at the moment, growing slightly faster than even India. That may change abruptly, though.

  • Colin,
    Groups like Lashkar and the Taliban are heavily influenced by Sunni Wahhabism. Celebrating the Prophet’s birthday, to a Wahhabi, falls under the crime of idolatry. They’re also known to desecrate Islamic graveyards to prevent what they see as the worship of the dead. I think it’s entirely plausible that Lashkar (or some other radical Sunni group) launched a suicide attack at this ceremony.

  • Ed H says:

    I A. Why doesn’t someone track the deaths per month in California, as a comparison.

  • Colin says:

    Suprising, if that’s the case. I thought that LeT was militantly nationalistic enough (isn’t LeT’s raison d’etre the Kashmir issue?) to not risk losing the people that could, presumably, support it. Also, I thought most of the terrorist groups in that region were from the Sunni/Deobandi sect, not the Wahhabism.

  • Neo-andertal says:

    I think I will wait for further information on the bombing in Karachi. There are all sorts of political groups and criminal gangs. A lot of what goes on in Karachi goes unreported. The place is a convulsive mess not unlike Baghdad.

  • tblubrd says:

    Scary thought – Pakistan has Nukes. This seems so much like what Iran would be with nukes. I suspect that the “Caliphate” will own the nukes before long.

  • Paul says:

    There is an internecine war within Islam – Sunnis versus Shias and it has been ongoing for centuries. It will only get worse.

  • Sam says:

    Comments deleted as completely off topic to post. See Comments Policy.

  • Mike E says:

    Pakistan is a very violent country. If one were to add up the sectarian killings, bombings, unsolved murders and troop deaths near the Afghan border, and put it in the news, we would see debates about “is it civil war”.

  • dj elliott says:

    Mike E
    By some definitions, India-Pakistan has been an unsettled civil war since ’49…


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram