A powerful suicide car bomb attack in front of Danish Embassy in the heart of a residential sector on Monday highlighted again how the presence of such missions was endangering the lives of the people in peaceful neighbourhoods, according to Daily Times.
Just next to the Danish Embassy is the Embassy of Ukraine that suffered minor damage in the Monday’s attack.
The bomb that exploded exactly at 1:05 pm left a big crater in Street 21, F-6/2, breaking the windowpanes of houses, damaging cars and leaving trees smouldering in its wake.
So massive was the explosion that the engine of the car used in the attack was tossed approximately 15 yards away with pieces of metal and other parts of the vehicle strewn all over the area.
Ambulances of Capital Development Authority (CDA) were the first to zoom in while those of other organisations followed shortly afterwards.
Police contingents, mobile forensic laboratory, fire engines and the media corps dashed to the scene as rescue personnel evacuated those killed or injured to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and the Federal Government Services Hospital (FGHS).
The embassy was only partially damaged in the attack because of its high walls but an adjacent office of a Pakistani development organisation was significantly wrecked. Cars parked in its compound were also left smashed.
The Danish and the European Union flags were in tatters and blown off their staffs, with the gate to the building and the security guard’s hut outside also being damaged.
Witnesses said that many injured were rushed away in waiting ambulances. The immediate vicinity of the embassy appeared to be a war zone with trees virtually denuded by the impact of the blast and charred branches and metal spread all over.
It was an attack that had looked imminent after the re-publication of blasphemous sketches by Danish newspapers that deeply hurt the religious sentiments of the Muslims all over the world.
The bomb attack was the second in Islamabad targeting foreigners after a blast in March ripped through a posh Italian restaurant in Sector F6/3, close to Super Market. It killed a Turkish woman and injured 12 others.
Such acts of terror occurring deep inside populated areas have again brought into focus why embassies, NGOs and United Nations Organisations continue to operate in residential sectors.
While the loss of life is regrettable, it is the residents who have had to bear the brunt of such unwanted operations in their neighbourhood. People have repeatedly called for the eviction of embassies and offices from residential sectors.
Among the embassies in residential areas are those of Hungary, Italy, Uzbekistan, Argentina, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Norway and South Africa while the UN agencies include WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNESCO. The UNHCR is the only UN branch operating from the seemingly safe confines of the Diplomatic Enclave.
The Senate Standing Committee on Interior had recently asked all UN organizations to move into the Diplomatic Enclave considering the security aspect. The UN had earlier asked for deployment of Frontier Constabulary at its offices and the government obliged by providing the needed cover at some of their offices.
The CDA has served notices on offices using private houses for their operations to vacate them but progress has been extremely slow and results not quite encouraging.