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Karachi Muharram blast not a suicide attack: minister

world Updated: Jan 04, 2010 19:29 IST

The blast in a Muharram procession in Karachi that claimed 25 lives was not a suicide attack, Pakistan's interior minister said Monday, adding that investigations into the incident were 80-85 percent complete and would be made known soon.

Speaking to reporters here after a review meeting on the Karachi situation, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the city government was not found negligent in connection with the tragedy, Online news agency reported.

Responding to a question, he said he did not want to take names but people with a criminal record were involved in the Karachi tragedy.

In response to another question on the response of the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers who were guarding the procession against the alleged perpetrators, he said they were not authorised to open fire.

An explosion tore through a procession of Shia Muslims in Karachi Dec 26, killing at least 33 people and injuring more than 80.

Commenting on target killings, he said, a committee headed by Additional Interior

Secretary Asif Nawaz has been constituted and directed to submit its report at the earliest. Strict action would be taken against those who are involved in such incidents, he added.

Pakistan was rocked by a series of explosions and suicide attacks during 2009 that claimed almost 1,000 lives, the bulk of them civilians.

Close to 600 people died in the last quarter of the year alone after the Pakistani military went into action against the Taliban in their South Waziristan strongholds along the Afghan border.

The military had earlier cleared out the Malakand division of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of the Taliban.