At least nine people, including five children, died and one person sustained injuries in the Kandhkot Taluka of Kashmore district after a rocket launcher’s ordnance exploded inside a house on Wednesday, police and witnesses said.
The explosion took place in Badal Sabzoi village, in Malheer Union Council, and an investigation was under way, Kashmore District Police Officer (DPO) Rohail Khoso confirmed to The Express Tribune.
The district administration said that the explosion occurred at around 9:00 am in the jurisdiction of the Goghat police station. It added that law-enforcement personnel had cordoned off the spot, as investigators look to clues from where the rocket was brought in the area.
Health department officials confirmed that 10 people were brought to a local hospital. They said that nine victims, including five children died, while a woman, identified as 40-year-old Shaista, was discharged after treatment.
Badal Sabzoi village is located at a distance of 15 kilometres from the Kahsmore district headquarters and close to the riverine area of Indus, which is teeming with outlaws, who have created a big headache for the law-enforcement authorities of Sindh.
The area is also infamous for tribal clashes too. Police believed that those criminals had modern weapons. Recently, in several social media posts, these bandits could be seen brandishing heavy weapons, including rocket launchers.
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Some locals claimed that the blast occurred during the shifting of weapons by the criminals from one location to another in fear of an on-going operation initiated by the law-enforcement personnel. However, there was no official confirmation of their claim.
Recently, pictures of anti-aircraft weaponry also created a serious situation for the aviation sector officials, as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) warned airlines in July of “high risk” while flying at low altitudes in Karachi and Lahore.
The warning prompted Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to allay these concerns, stressing that the Pakistani airspace was safe. The CAA director general had clarified that some of the photos were many years old but admitted that the publicity of these in news stories had exacerbated the issue.
The issue of the criminal stronghold in the riverine area had been discussed in a provincial Apex Committee meeting. The meeting had approved a massive operation by police and Rangers against the outlaws. The internet facility in the area has also been shut down.
Before the on-going operation in the area known as ‘kacha’, the local police had asked the government for an operation with the support of paramilitary forces as it was not possible for them to trace the criminals.
Earlier, a senior police official posted in the district had said that the bandits had strong network. He also disclosed that it was not even possible to bring back the abductees without the help of local ‘influential’ persons.
Call for probe
Taking notice of the explosion in the remote village of Sindh, the Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqir asked provincial police to investigate the matter. He further inquired as to why was the rocket present in the village.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had also demanded of the government to investigate the explosion. He lamented that the katcha areas of Sindh and Punjab were home to many criminal gangs and urged the government to clear the region from such elements.