Insecurity: Suicide Blast at the Marriott Islamabad

Posted on January 26, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Disasters, Law & Justice, Politics, Society
57 Comments
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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. 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(smaal) AZAAB send krta hai. so where we are now…..

  2. umar says:

    assalam o alaikum. it was a sad day. may Allah bless every one, amin. we as a nation should start thinking on some other lines now. plz apprise, if anyone know that how it is possible that top floors got into fire without being initiated at bottom? where are those marrines (americans) from where those steel boxes comes from? how marrines took them to top floor which were bursted at later stage? either government knows but behaves as they dont know. ….. as they are afraid of highlighting true matter… may Allah give us strenght to speak atleast. … with all my compliments. thanks….

  3. ali says:

    There can be no full proof security against these maniacs.The war against terror was initiated By the US and Pakistan being its partner has suffered the most.As Pakistan accepts too much aid from the US for its survival it also has to take its dictation. It seems that this war on terror will last for a while but once it is over Pakistan should review its foreign policy.
    It is good news for the employees of Marriott that the owner of the hotel is not laying them off and has promised them their pay until the hotel is up and running again.

    Good luck to them

  4. Shirin Lutfeali says:

    This is to mobbie: It IS us who are killing our own people. Quit trying to put the blame on anyone else. Did you forget that it was our very own Benazir who allowed the Taleban to thrive back in the early 90s? And who do you think is training the Taleban in Afghanistan? And the billions of dollars in US aid that our government greedily takes–who do they share it with? That’s right, our good friends the Taleban. Only now, they’re pissed and want to include Pakistan and Pakistanis in their mindless suicide rampages. Get your head out of the sand–we ARE the perpetrators of violence.

  5. mobbie says:

    We Pakistanis always become victim of terrorism. Attack on any country we are responsible and attack on Pakistan who is responsible

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