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Shi'ites Targeted by Bombings in Karachi

Two bomb explosions in southern Pakistan have left at least 25 people dead and wounded scores of others. Police have yet to determine whether one of the attacks was the work of a suicide bomber. Ayaz Gul reports for VOA from Islamabad.

Police say that minority Shi'ite Muslims were the target of the two deadly bombings in Karachi, the country's largest port city and commercial capital.

The first bomb hit a bus carrying Shiite worshipers on the city's main road and caused most of the casualties.

An hour later, the second explosion occurred just outside the emergency ward of Karachi's main Jinnah hospital where the victims from the previous attack were being brought for treatment.

Video footage showed the entrance was packed with relatives of victims and hospital staff when the bomb went off. Doctors fear the death toll is likely to increase because 15 people were critically wounded in both the attacks.

The blasts occured following weeks of relentless political violence in Karachi that has left scores of people dead.

A senior advisor to the Sindh provincial government, Sharmila Farooqi, says Friday's bombings could be the work of those behind the incidents of political killings in the city. "It is very unfortunate. I think it is time we got over our petty political differences and we brainstorm and we look for a peaceful solution to put an end to this killing to put an end to this barbarism," he said.

Provincial authorities believe activists of the Muttahid Quami Movement (MQM) party, which represents' Karachi's dominant Urdu-speaking immigrants from India, and ethnic Pashtoon settlers are behind the ongoing politically motivated killings. The violence has claimed up to 100 lives within the past two months.

The victims of Friday's blasts were marking the end of 40 days of annual Shi'ite mourning for the Prophet Muhammad's grandson.

Pakistani authorities have in the past blamed Sunni Muslim militant groups for attacking Shiite leaders and their religious processions.

A powerful bomb explosion in Karachi in late December ripped through a Shi'ite procession, killing up to 50 people.