12 killed, top judge wounded in Taliban attack in Pakistan

Karachi: A senior Pakistani judge overseeing anti-terror cases was today critically wounded in a Taliban attack that left nine security personnel dead on a busy street in the country's biggest city here.
 
Justice Maqbool Baqar, senior Judge of the Sindh High Court, was heading to the court when an IED believed to be attached to a motorbike exploded near his motorcade.
 
Police spokesman Imran Shaukat said those killed included the driver of the judge's car, six policemen and two rangers personnel who were part of the security convoy for the judge.
 
"At least a dozen people were also injured in the power blast caused by an IED device weighing around seven kilograms," he said.
 
Justice Baqar, who was believed to be on the hit-list of the proscribed militant organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was said to be out of danger at a private hospital.
 
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack.
 
"We claim responsibility for the attack on the Sindh High Court judge as he had delivered verdicts against Muslims and particularly the Mujahideen," the TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told media outlets on telephone.
 
TTP spokesman said the Taliban also carried out attacks on the local peace council chief in Bannu and a police officer in Peshawar, killing three people including the head of the pro-government milita along with his brother and nephew.
 
According to eye witnesses, the bomb exploded as soon as the judge's convoy passed through Burns road going to the Sindh High Court.
 
"The motorcycle was parked by someone near the roadside since morning and when people inquired where he was going he said he was going to get some eatables," one eye witness said.
 
Senior police official Ameer Sheikh said Justice Baqar who has been dealing with cases of militants had been receiving threats from other militant outfits like the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
 
Due to the intensity of the blast, three police mobile vans and two motorbikes were badly damaged.
 
Justice Baqar is currently working as acting chief justice and delivered verdicts on several cases involving militants.