European Union condemns bombing on Benazir Bhutto’s convoy in Karachi

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto
Lisbon, Oct 19 : The European Union's Portuguese Presidency has condemned the bomb blasts near the convoy that was carrying former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Bhutto narrowly escaped an assassination attempt, but over 138 others were less fortunate.

"The European Union strongly condemns the terrorist attack on the convoy of Benazir which killed more than eighty people participating in a peaceful procession through the streets of Karachi," it said in a statement.

The EU urged Pakistani authorities to bring those responsible for the blast to justice, The News reported.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the blasts could be the handiwork of al-Qaeda.

The attack reportedly bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda and resembled assassination attempts by militants linked to the terrorist network on President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in recent years.

The Pakistan Interior Ministry has confirmed the deaths of 70 people in the attack.

Officials at six hospitals in Karachi reported over 130 dead and about 600 wounded, making it one of the deadliest bombing incidents in Pakistan’s history.

Bhutto was leading the procession to Qaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum, where she was to give a speech. However, after the two explosions, she was rushed to the safety of Bilawal House in Karachi’s uptown Clifton area.

Earlier, Intelligence reports had warned of threats of suicide attacks against Bhutto by militants linked to al Qaeda, the Taliban and Baitullah Mehsud. (ANI)