KARACHI SHERATON BOMBING
On 05/08/2002 morning a car bomb, driven by a suicide bomber, stuck to a bus with French expert engineers, who were about to leave the Sheraton Hotel toward Karachi shipyard. They worked with the Pakistani navy and were members of a French team that helped Pakistan to build three submarines in Karachi shipyard.
11 French experts were killed in the blast, 2 Pakistanis and the suicide bomber. Five other Pakistanis died later form their wounds. 22 people, including 12 Frenchmen, were seriously wounded.
The New Zealand cricket team, who was staying in Sheraton Hotel, abandoned its tour of Pakistan and returned to New Zealand. Following the bombing, French secret service agents were sent to Pakistan to investigate what appeared to be a serious breakdown in security before the suicide attack.
The Pakistani police was looking after three suspects believed to have bought a car used in a suicide bomb attack. It was later established that at least three kg of highly explosive material had been placed in the engine of the car, a red 1973 model Toyota Corolla.
On 09/18/2002, a man named Sharib Zubair was arrested and believed to have masterminded the attack. In 2003, two men were sentenced to death for the bombing by a Karachi court but were, in 10/2006, acquitted from all charges. The suspected bomb maker, Mufti Mohammad Sabir, was arrested on 09/08/2005 (see – Zubair – Sabir ). Both were Harkat-ul-Mujahideen members. The suicide bomber was identified as 19 years old Asif Zahir.
A group called al-Qanoon claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the incident is believed to have been connected with Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. Several people were arrested in the aftermath of the attack, and were reported to be members of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.
In 11/2004, the alleged mastermind of the attack, Maveed-ul Hassan, was arrested in Pakistan near the Wagah crossing point with India where he was working for few months. There was a two million rupee ($33,700) reward for his capture.
According to Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Maveed-ul Hassan was the mastermind of the consulate bombing and was behind other attacks, including an explosion at a club in Karachi during the 2002 eve celebrations that wounded nine people.
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