Kills 25, injures 55, over a dozen critical
- TTP claims responsibility
- Ch Nisar demands inquiry report
At least 25 persons were killed and around 55 other were injured as a result of a high intensity explosion at the local fruit and vegetable market near in Parachanar, Kurram Agency Saturday morning.
The condition of over a dozen is stated to be critical, instilling fear that the number of casualties may increase.
Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has condemned the blast and asked for a report on the blast from the relevant authorities.
Local tribesmen say that the explosion occurred when a large number of buyers and traders were assembled in the market, early in the morning. The explosion was so severe that it was heard all over Parachanar and its surrounding areas.
Soon after the explosion, the local tribesmen participated in rescue activities and shifted a large number of injured people to nearby Agency Headquarter Hospital.
According to a press release issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), an IED blast took place at 08:50 AM in the local vegetable market near Eidghah in Parachinar, Kurram Agency, on Saturday. Army and FC Quick Reaction Force reached the site and cordoned off the area. Those injured were flown to hospitals in Army helicopters.
After the incident, heavy contingent of security forces and FC, rescue teams and ambulances reached the area to take up rescue work.
Those killed include a fruit trader from Mansehra district whereas the remaining belong to Parachinar and its surrounding villages. Except a tribesman from Maqbal village, the remaining victims belong to Shia community, which is badly affected by terrorism and sectarian violence since 2003.
TTP claims responsibility
Banned militant organisation TTP has claimed responsibility for the blast.
“Saifullah alias Bilal carried out the attack in Parachinar on Saturday,” TTP spokesperson Muhammad Khorasani said. He further said the blast was in retaliation for killing Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Asif Chotu, along with three others in an encounter. It was to avenge the killing of our associates by security forces and to teach a lesson to Shiites for their support for Bashar al-Assad,” said the group’s spokesman Qari Saifullah, referring to the Syrian president.
The group has since long been engaged in sectarian terrorism all over the country.
Emergency declared at local hospital
Director Health Services FATA Dr Jawad Habib Karam Khan has declared emergency at hospital in Kurram Agency.
Leaves of all the relevant agency health staff have been cancelled and they have been ordered to report for duty. Additional human resource, medicine and ambulances from nearby health facilities have been shifted to Kurram Agency to ensure supplies of services to the affectees.
Purpose built emergency kits, obtained from ICRC, have also been sent to Parachinar, said a press release.
Teams have been constituted to visit and look after the needs of injured referred to Peshawar hospitals.
Terrorists will fail: COAS
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Saturday that terrorists will fail in their attempt to regain lost relevance.
The Army chief’s statement was tweeted by DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor following the bombing in Parachinar.
General Bajwa has directed for quick evacuation and best medical care to the victims of Parachinar blast.
KP govt assures full support
The KP government has assured that all possible support will be made available for the victims of Parachinar bombing.
The spokesman of KP government Mushtaq Ghani said the Zarb-e-Azb Operation has broken the back of terrorists.
MPA Shaukat Yousufzai also stated that all possible facilities will be made available to the wounded.
The area has witnessed scores of such attacks and kidnappings for ransom incidents in the past several years. At least three explosions have occurred at the same site in the recent past. The latest one was in December 2015, killing more than two dozen persons.
The agency is adjacent to North Waziristan where Operation Zarb-e-Azb is in progress against the Tehreek-i-Taliban and other insurgent groups. Parachinar is the administrative headquarters of the agency near the Afghan border.
There are a total of 7 agencies and most of them border Afghanistan. Kurram Agency, that is landlocked by Afghanistan on three sides, is 250 kilometers from Peshawar. The central city of this agency is Parachinar with a population of 500,000 people with Shias being a clear majority.
Law-enforcement agencies launched investigation into the blast by cordoned off the area and started search operation till last reports came in on Saturday.
Funeral prayers of victims held
Funeral prayers of 20 blast victims, out of a total of 23 killed, were held in the Parachinar on Saturday.
Inspector General of Frontier Corps Major General Shaheen Mazhar, Brig Amir Muhammad Khan, Commandant Tall Bridge, Member National Assembly Sajid Topri, Political Agent Khurram Ikram Ullah, relatives of the deceased and others attended the funeral prayers.
The bodies were later handed over to relatives and heirs of the deceased killed in the blast. A shutter down strike was observed in the city to condemn the blast. Moving scenes were witnessed at the time of the mass funeral. There were feelings of anger and sorrow over the tragedy that struck Parachinar.
Condemnations and condolences
President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khatakk, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman along with other leaders have strongly condemned the Parachinar blast. In their statements, they have expressed deep sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives and expressed sympathies with the bereaved families in this difficult time.
PM Nawaz Sharif directed the concerned authorities to provide best medical treatment to the injured of Parachinar blast.
Governor KP Iqbal Zafar Jhagra said the war on terror will continue until the last terrorist is eliminated. He said the cowardly terror attacks cannot weaken the nation’s resolve against the menace.
Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting and National Heritage has strongly condemned a terrorist act and blast at Para Chanar on Saturday morning which claimed precious lives.