Karachi University in shock after explosion rocks campus

A bomb exploded inside premises of Pakistan`s largest university on Tuesday.

Last Updated: Dec 30, 2010, 10:23 AM IST

Karachi: Fear and panic prevailed at Pakistan`s largest university on Wednesday, a day after a bomb explosion inside the premises of the varsity left several students injured and all others in a state of shock.

It was the first such instance when a bomb had exploded at the Karachi University which is home to around 15,000 to 18,000 students.

The explosion took place just outside the central cafeteria near a makeshift prayer place for Shi’ite Muslims on Tuesday and the police are clueless over the incident.

"Until now we don`t know the motive behind this explosion which appears to have caused by an improvised explosive device," Superintendent of Police Naeem Sheikh said.

The explosion came close on the heels of violent campus clashes between student unions or with the administration. The government has permanently posted the paramilitary rangers at the institution.

"The university opened today (Wednesday) but every one is anxious and worried and there is fear because nothing like this has ever happened at this varsity," Mass Communications faculty member Saad Mehmood said.

SP Sheikh conceded that the security at the varsity was clearly lax and had resulted in the increasing trend of violence and the explosion.

"What is worrying is we don`t know why this was done, was it a sectarian attack, mischief or show of power by students or a fallout of the terrorism and extremism in many parts of the country," said Professor doctor Abid Hasnain of the KU teachers society.

Talking to the media, KU vice-chancellor Pirzada Qasim admitted that there had been a security lapse.

"We need at least 150 personnel for campus security," he said.

From 8:30 am to 8:45 am, there are almost 15,000 to 16,000 students entering the gates which makes it impossible for the security guards to properly check without causing delays, he said.

A student, Arifa Bashir, said the explosion highlighted the growing lawlessness at the university.

"This incident has shaken us all because arms and ammunition were no novelty on campus. Every time clashes erupt, guns are found. But this is the first time such a thing has happened," she said.

Another student, Basit Ali, said the administration was to blame for the situation.

"There is too much politicisation in the varsity and it is a fact that people (who aren`t even enrolled in KU) packed in cars are allowed to enter and are always there in the cafeteria," he said.

The explosion inside the varsity premises poses a new challenge for the government and law enforcement agencies already struggling to deal with recent terrorist strikes in the city that have killed several dozen people.

"The government should be concerned because if this explosion has anything to do with the Tehreek-e-Taliban then it would only create panic and fear in educational institutions in the country," a security official who declined to be named said.

Last year in October, twin suicide bomb attacks had taken place inside the international Islamic university in Islamabad in which some five students were killed.

PTI