ASIA

Bomb targets top judge in Karachi, 12 dead

Bombers targeted a senior judge in Karachi on Wednesday killing seven people during morning rush hour in Pakistan's business capital. (File photo: Reuters)

Bomb attacks in Pakistan killed 12 people and wounded 14 others on Wednesday, including a senior judge who was critically injured following a blast in the business capital Karachi, officials said.

The first bomb targeted Maqbool Baqir, a judge at the high court in southern province Sindh in the port city of Karachi, killing at least nine people on a busy street during the morning rush hour.

Baqir is a member of Pakistan's minority Shiite Muslim community and had been threatened by militants, including hardline Sunni Muslim sectarian outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has claimed a series of devastating bomb attacks on Shiites.

The bomb, planted on a motorbike, exploded as Baqir drove past with his security detail in Burns Road in the centre of the city.

At least nine people, including eight members of the judge's security detail, were killed and 14 other people wounded.

"The dead include six police officers, two (paramilitary) Rangers and the judge's driver," police official Ameer Sheikh told AFP.

Officials had earlier put the toll at seven.

Police said Baqir was in hospital with critical injuries.

"He received threats from the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Other militants had also threatened him," Sheikh said.

Baqir has worked on several cases involving militants, serving as a judge in special anti-terrorism courts set up in Pakistan to hand down quick judgements in terror cases.

Police said six kilogrammes of explosives were used to detonate the bomb, planted on a motorcycle.

Karachi, a city of 18 million people, contributes 42 percent of Pakistan's GDP but is rife with murder and kidnappings and has been plagued for years by ethnic, sectarian and political violence.

Last year around 2,000 people were killed in violence linked to ethnic and political tensions, its deadliest toll in two decades.

In the northwest, another bomb attack killed the head of a pro-government tribal militia, along with his brother and nephew in Jani Khel, Bannu district, officials said.

Security officials told AFP that Malik Hashim Khan supported an army operation in the area, part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which borders Afghanistan, in 2007-08.

"It was a powerful bomb which destroyed the vehicle completely. Malik Hashim, his brother and nephew died on the spot," a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A second official said the dead bodies were destroyed beyond recognition.

Pakistan has for years been fighting homegrown Taliban insurgents in its border areas with Afghanistan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either attack on Wednesday but the Taliban frequently target anti-Taliban tribal elders in the northwest, as well as police and soldiers.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 26 June 2013 KSA 13:52 - GMT 10:52
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