Bomb targets top judge in Karachi, 7 dead: Officials

KARACHI (AFP) - Bombers targeted a senior judge in Karachi on Wednesday, killing at least seven people on a busy street during morning rush hour in Pakistan's business capital, officials said.

The attack happened as Maqbool Baqir, a senior judge at the high court of the southern province of Sindh, where Karachi is the main city, drove past with his security detail in Burns Road.

"According to initial information, seven people have been killed," Sindh information minister Sharjeel Memon told reporters.

He said one officer from the Rangers paramilitary force was among the dead.

Rangers and police made up Baqir's security detail, the minister said.

Police said Baqir was rushed to hospital with critical injuries and that his driver was killed.

Memon asked reporters to "please pray" for the judge's recovery.

"I can confirm that Justice Maqbool Baqir is critically injured," police official Salman Syed said.

Police said Baqir was the target.

"Nine people are injured. The bomb was planted on a motorbike and it was detonated by remote control," Syed said.

Baqir has a reputation for honesty and has also served as a judge in special anti-terrorism courts set up in Pakistan to hand down quick judgements in terror cases.

Karachi, a city of 18 million people, contributes 42 percent of Pakistan's GDP but is rife with murder and kidnappings and has been plagued for years by ethnic, sectarian and political violence.

Last year around 2,000 people were killed in violence linked to ethnic and political tensions, its deadliest toll in two decades.