At least 14 people are reported to have died in an explosion in Karachi, Pakistan, this afternoon. Local police have said that the blast took place near Parcha Chowk in the Shershah area of Karachi.
Twelve people injured in the blast have been admitted to hospitals. Police officer Zafar Ali Shah said the explosion happened inside a drain located below a private bank.
The police claim that the local administration had issued an order to clean the drain, but it got delayed due to the non-availability of the premises.
Police said that the bank building nearby and a petrol pump were heavily damaged in the blast. Police suspect that the explosion occurred due to gases in the drain getting accumulated under the building.
However, later a police spokesman said that a bomb disposal squad had been called to investigate the blast site. “An official statement on the cause of the blast can be made only after the squad submits its report,” said a cop.
In a statement, Sindh Rangers said that on receiving information about the explosion that officials had rushed to the blast site and cordoned off the area.
Footage of the explosion shows a damaged building and debris lying on the ground. Broken vehicles can be seen at the site of the explosion too.
Locals are cooperating with the rescue workers in trying to clear the debris at the site.
There are reports of more people trapped under the rubble of the building. The civic administration, a police team and Sindh Rangers have initiated separate investigations into the incident.