Insecurity: Suicide Blast at the Marriott Islamabad

Posted on January 26, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Disasters, Law & Justice, Politics, Society
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Adil Najam

There was a bomb blast in Islamabad today as a car blew up in the parking lot of the Marriott Hotel. The details are still coming in but the indications at this point are that it is a suicide bombing. According to the news flash in The News:

Islamabad police has declared the blast, which occurred in the backyard car parking of a five star hotel located in the highly sensitive area here, a dastardly suicide bombing, resulting in the death of two persons. SP Islamabad, Sikandar Hayat told that the blast occurred due to suicide bombing killing two persons and injuring five, who were shifted to the polyclinic here. Following the bombing here, security high alert has been declared in Karachi and Peshawar also. Observers told that it was the gravest nature of security breach in the highly sensitive security zone of the capital city, as the President House, Pakistan Secretariat and some other key-buildings were located nearby. Eyewitnesses told Geo that the security guard intercepted the suicide bomber trying to bang into the hotel, when he detonated the bomb and blasted himself.

According to the CNN report:

The blast at around 2:37 p.m. (0935 GMT) was just hours before a Indian High Commission function to celebrate Republic Day was due to be held at the hotel. Police cordoned off the area and sirens wailed through the downtown district, where many government buildings including parliament and the office of the president are located…

“He was on foot. The blast occurred when he tried to enter the hotel,” Chaudhry Iftikhar Ahmed, Islamabad police chief, said. A Reuters journalist saw blood and flesh scattered over the tarmac close to a side entrance, where the hotel’s night club and laundry services are located. A motorist, who declined to give his name, described hearing and feeling the explosion as he drove by.

He told Reuters: “As I was driving, I heard a huge blast at my back. The windscreen of my car shattered. When I turned round, I saw flesh scattered on the road.” The bomber’s remains were being examined by forensic experts. “The bomber appears to be in twenties. His face is not recognisable. His skull and lower body parts have been found,” retired Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema, head of the Interior Ministry’s Crisis Management Cell, told Reuters.

Musharraf condemned the attack and vowed to continue fighting terrorism. “President Musharraf reiterated Pakistan’s unwavering commitment in the fight against extremism and terrorism and said that all out efforts be made to unmask and bring to book the perpetrators of this crime,” the official Associated Press of Pakistan quoted him as saying.

The Marriott is one of Islamabad’s main hotels, and is frequented by foreign diplomats and businessmen. The U.S. embassy barred staff from visiting the hotel after a small blast in the lobby in October, 2004…. Otherwise bomb attacks have been rare inside the capital in recent years. Security is tight and easier to enforce in the small, orderly purpose-built capital than it is in Pakistan’s larger crowded, sprawling cities.

Only last night – as I was looking at these pictures (all from Dawn) of hieghtened security because of Ashura and the banning of supposed ‘ulema’ because they might incite sectariat hatered – I was thinking how living under a cloud of constant insecurity and uncertainity has to take a toll on people’s psyche.

Even if we get ‘used’ to this insecurity, we do not really ever get ‘used’ to it. We merely take on a mask of either indiference, or cynicism, or fatalism, etc. about the state we live in. In no case is is a comfortable existence, and in every case it takes a toll on the very fabric of society, how it sees itself, and how it goes about its daily business.

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Sometimes one reads of yet another such news and the resolve begins to waver. We have to find a way to live together in peace. There has to be a better way of expressing and resolving our differences? Will the violence end? How?

57 responses to “Insecurity: Suicide Blast at the Marriott Islamabad”

  1. Jabbar says:

    Not sure what to make of this court decision to set the accused in this free

  2. umar says:

    assalam o alaikum.. only two americans were dead… where are the remainings? if you watch the vedio clips very closely.. to whome mr driver indicated facing towards top floor. no one knows….why there were vehicles of indian high commissioner bypass just before? where we people lack coordination and they (americans+indians) have? pleze thinks…. Allah nations pr bre(big) AZAAB send krne se pehley chotay(small) AZAAB send krta hai. so where we are now…..

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