[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 14:21 GMT
Policeman tells of car bomb drama
Soldier outside US consulate
Security has been tightened ahead of the visit of Colin Powell
One of two police officers who defused a huge bomb in Pakistan on Monday has told the BBC how he was only three and half minutes from disaster.

"I was praying to God to help me because I had only minutes to avert a catastrophe," said Mohammed Sabir.

If the bomb near the American consulate in Karachi had gone off, police officers say it would have caused massive devastation and casualties.

Photo fits of two men wanted for questioning have been released.

'Liquid explosives'

Mr Sabir told the BBC of the full drama leading up to the successful defusing of the bomb outside the US consulate.

They have shown the most amazing bravery
Karachi police deputy inspector Tariq Jameel
"The timer was similar to that you see on most washing machines," he said.

"It was connected to a water tank that was full of liquid explosives."

"I could tell from the timer that I only had three and half minutes to defuse the device.

"Fortunately I was able to cut the right wires in time.

"If the bomb had gone off I have no doubt many people would have been killed, so the only thought in my head was that it was my duty to save as many lives as possible."

The bravery of Mr Sabir and his colleague Tariq Mahmud has been recognised by the authorities.

The van was discovered by security officers
The bravery of bomb disposal officers has been praised

Both have been promoted to the rank of inspector from sub inspector, and both have been rewarded with the sum of 50,000 rupees (about $870).

"They have shown the most amazing bravery," said Tariq Jameel, deputy inspector of Karachi police.

"There is no doubt that their efforts saved many lives and averted a major disaster."

Police have, meanwhile, released photofit sketches of two suspected Islamic militants who are wanted for questioning in relation to the attack, which happened two days before a visit to Pakistan by US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

He was not due to visit Karachi.

'Crude device'

Security has been stepped up around the consulate, which reopened for business on Tuesday.

Feb 2003: Gunmen kills two policemen outside US consulate
June 2002: Suicide bomber kills 12 Pakistanis outside US consulate
May 2002: Car bomb kills 13, 11 of them French engineers
April 2002: President Musharraf escapes assassination attempt
Jan 2002: Kidnapped US reporter Daniel Pearl confirmed dead

The consulate has twice come under attack before - in June 2002 a suicide bomber killed 12 Pakistanis outside the building.

Pakistani special branch officials say that in the latest bombing attempt, two men left a small van in a car park by the perimeter wall of the consulate.

They told security guards it had broken down.

The guards became suspicious, and called in the bomb disposal squad.

Police say the bomb was a crude device, which included sulphuric acid, ammonium nitrate and hydrogen peroxide.


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific