A suicide bomber killed more than fifty people and wounded some one-hundred others in Karachi, Pakistan. Those dead include three leaders of organizations representing moderate Sunni Muslims. They are Abbas Qadri, head of the Tehrik Sunni group, Iftikhar Bhatti, his deputy, and Akram Qadri, a spokesman.
The bombing occurred as some ten thousand worshippers gathered in a public park to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. According to news reports, following the explosion, many businesses closed, public transportation was suspended, and mobs burned cars and buses in protest. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, condemned the bombing and issued a statement saying it "will not go unpunished."
Mohammad Hanif is a relative of Harif Billu, another Sunni leader who was killed. He told the Reuters news agency, "There is some conspiracy behind it to create disharmony amongst the Muslims." Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, Pakistan's interior minister, says that at this time it is unclear who is responsible:
"This is a very early stage and I would not be able to say precisely who has done it, but definitely the investigation is going to be very exhaustive and we will be able to find out who has committed this gruesome crime."
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack offered these remarks:
"We are saddened by the news of a bombing at a celebration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad in Karachi, Pakistan."
Mr. McCormack says the United States "strongly condemns this attack and can see no conceivable justification for this atrocity." The U.S., he said, "offers its condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this senseless act of terrorism. This outrage demonstrates yet again the threat terrorism poses to the people of all countries."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.