Karachi: Five persons were killed and 15 more injured when a car bomb went off near an election office of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Karachi on Thursday, the second time the party has been targeted in a terrorist attack in the southern Pakistani city since Tuesday.
The blast occurred near MQM`s office in the densely populated North Nazimabad area of Karachi at about 9.30 am.
All five persons killed were MQM workers, leaders of the party said. Three of the dead were brothers, MQM leaders and local residents said.
The 15 injured people were taken to a nearby hospital.
The bomb was hidden in a car with government number plates.
"The car had a government number plate and was parked close to the MQM election office in in Nusrat Bhutto colony of North Nazimabad," said DIG Zafar Bukhari.
It could not immediately be ascertained if the registration number was genuine. The powerful blast damaged several nearby buildings and cars in the residential area.
Security personnel cordoned off the area while a bomb disposal squad swept the site of the blast.
A spokesman for the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the blast in phone calls made to TV news channels.
TTP had issued a threat few weeks ago, declaring it would target leaders and election rallies of secular parties like the MQM, Pakistan People`s Party and Awami National Party.
People today protested after the attack and pelted stones at police vehicles.
The channels reported that the Taliban have a sizeable presence in the area where the bombing occurred.
On Tuesday, a bomb exploded near another election office of the MQM in Karachi killing four persons and injuring 20.
Earlier this month, a MQM candidate in the upcoming general election was gunned down by Taliban fighters in Hyderabad, Pakistan`s second largest city.
There have also been a string of bombings targeting the PPP and ANP in the country`s restive northwest.
Caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, who was in Karachi for an official visit, condemned the blast near the MQM office.
Khoso was "personally monitoring the situation and is in constant touch with the concerned authorities," said a statement issued by his office.
Khoso reiterated the resolve of his government to do "what it takes to maintain law and order and peace in the country so that elections could be held in a conducive environment."
President Asif Ali Zardari too strongly condemned the blast.