The explosive device had been presented as evidence in a courtroom in the city of Karachi, Pakistan when it exploded, injuring five people.
An unfortunate incident saw the device explode as it was being presented as case property. The judge was one of those injured in the accident, which is the first of its kind in Pakistan.
Alleged extortionist and gangster found with grenades
First of all media reports claimed that the device was a grenade presented as part of a case against a terrorism suspect. The individual had been cited for illegal possession of explosives.
However Dr Jameel Ahmed, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South zone, later informed the press that the device was a detonator rather than a grenade. The detonator contained a small amount of explosives and was packed inside a glass container.
According to Ahmed he judge of the anti-terror court asked for the device to be presented after a request from the defense lawyer. The device was being presented by Abid Ansari, investigating officer of Sindh Police, when it exploded.
Judge in Pakistan thrown from chair by blast
Eyewitnesses reported that a court clerk opened a box containing the device before removing a pin from the detonator. The aim was to show the anti-terror judge when the explosion occurred by instead the device exploded in his face.
“Upon the request by the judge, the investigator tried to demonstrate the working of the grenade by pulling something out of it,” defense lawyer Abdul Jabbar Lakho told reporters.
Judge Shakeel Haider, the clerk and a policeman were injured in the explosion, as well as 2 other people. They were taken to a nearby hospital to receive emergency treatment.
A further investigation was carried out by the Bomb Disposal Squad of Pakistan. “We are investigating as to how the detonator was brought to the court without being defused,” Ahmed added.
Karachi grappling with gangs and terrorism
The trial relates to a man accused of extortion and gang activity. He has apparently carried out several attacks using grenades and police found a number of explosive devices when they arrested him.
Authorities are struggling to contain gang- and terror-related criminal activity in Karachi, Pakistan. The volatile city of some 20 million souls has seen attacks on security forces by Islamist militants and organized crime in the past.
Attacks on police are common, and a spate of incidents last year saw military police targeted as well. Four Rangers soldiers were killed outside a mosque on November 20, before two military policemen were shot dead in their vehicle in early December.
An initiative to crackdown on attacks began in 2013. Violence incidents have been declining on the whole, but authorities have come in for criticism from human rights defenders.
It is alleged that authorities are carrying out extra-judicial killings during staged firefights. The situation in Karachi is complicated by the allegedly close relationship between politicians and violent gangs, which are used to exert influence.
Opposition politicians say that the crackdown in Karachi is being used as a front to silence political dissent in the restive region. While a large proportion of anti-militant operations take place in other areas, Karachi presents a unique set of security issues.
According to the Sindh Rangers 364 terrorists have been killed since the operation began. Thirty-seven Rangers have died during that time.