Ashura blast DNA test confirms death of missing person

blast-2-300x160Six months after the Ashura blast, one of the two missing participants of the procession has finally been identified through a second type of DNA profiling, it has been learnt.

A senior police official associated with the Ashura blast investigation told Dawn that one of the missing victims, Mukhtar Ali Soomro, son of Punhail, had been identified through Ytype profiling, which was conducted because an earlier DNA profiling of his remains did not match with a blood sample of his younger brother, Sultan Ahmed.

According to the police record, 41 people were martyred and around 100 were wounded when a bomb ripped through the Holy Ashura procession (mark the martyrdom of Imam Hussain grandson of holy Prophet Mohammad) on M.A. Jinnah Road on Dec 28, 2009.

It emerged days following the blast that three participants of the procession did not return home nor did their bodies arrive at any mortuary.

The three missing persons were Younis Soomro, his nephew, Mukhtar Soomro, and Ejaz Husain.

Three weeks after the blast, a severed head was found from the premises of a bakery along M.A. Jinnah Road on Jan 20, 2010. It was identified as that of Ejaz Husain who had gone missing following the Ashura carnage.

After this recognition, Younis Soomro and his nephew Mukhtar Soomro were the only persons who remained unidentified.

Finally, police obtained 13 samples from the human remains found from the blast scene and sent them to the Institute of Biomedical and Genetic Engineering (IBGE), Islamabad, for want of DNA profiling in January 2010. Similarly, blood samples obtained from close relatives of the missing victims were also sent by the police to the institute.

A report issued by the IBGE in February stated that the blood samples of two persons namely Ali Raza, son of Younis Soomro, and Sultan Ahmed, brother of Mukhtar Ali Soomro, were sent by the Karachi police for DNA profiling and comparison with 13 human remains secured from the scene of the blast on December 28.

The report issued by the IBGE said, “No match was found between the DNA profile of Ali Raza, son of Younis Soomro, and the DNA profiles obtained from the tissue samples secured from the scene of the Ashura blast. It is concluded that none of the human remains belongs to Younis Soomro, father of Ali Raza,” the report added.

However, it pointed out that a second type of DNA profiling (ie Y-profiling) for each sample would be required in order to identify Mukhtar Ali Soomro, the brother of Sultan Ahmed. It was said that the Y-profiling would double the cost of analysis: ie Rs20,000 per sample.

“Since none of the parents of Mukhtar Soomro were available, we had to go for Yprofiling costing Rs170,000 to the Karachi police to seek identification of one of the missing victims,” SSP Special Investigation Unit (SIU) Raja Umar Khattab told Dawn.

However, he expressed satisfaction over the latest findings through which the missing person had finally been identified. Meanwhile, the family of now lone missing participant of the procession, Younis Soomro, has not yet received any government assistance because neither his body was identified nor were his remains. While the family lost its breadwinner, his death has not been yet confirmed.

Younis Soomro was accompanied by his nephew Mukhtar Soomro while his six-yearold son, Ali Raza, and another nephew Sultan, 15, (younger brother of Mukhtar) were at a distance from them when a blast ripped through the procession. Sultan had suffered head injuries.


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