PESHAWAR: A bomb blast at a religious seminary in Peshawar on Tuesday morning martyred at least eight people, including children, and wounded more than 110, police and hospital officials said.
The blast occurred at the Speen Jamaat mosque, which also serves as a religious school for the local community in the Dir Colony area, at 8:30 am.
According to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) spokesperson Mohammad Asim, four of those martyred in the attack were students between the ages of 20 to 25.
The LRH spokesperson said that the injured were being provided with immediate medical attention and the hospital’s director was present at the emergency ward. Tariq Burki, the director of the LRH, said that four of those martyred were children.
Furthermore, the injured have also been taken to Khyber Teaching Hospital, Hayatabad Medical Complex and Naseerullah Khan Babar Hospital.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, while visiting the site of the blast, spoke to reporters and said that the focus was on providing the injured the best possible treatment.
“[Students] were reading the Quran here, that is when the explosion occurred,” Peshawar Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Muhammad Ali Khan told reporters near the scene.
“The initial investigation shows […] that five to six kilogrammes [11-13 pounds] of explosive material was used [and] that someone came here and left a bag of explosives.”
“The explosives were planted in a plastic bag,” another police officer told Reuters who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to media.
The police and rescue teams have reached the crime scene and launched the rescue operation.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Mansoor Aman an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the blast.
President Arif Alvi said that blast was “shocking and saddening for all of us”. He called for the “heinous criminal terrorists” to be apprehended and given exemplary punishment.
Prime Minister Imran Khan “strongly condemned” the blast, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. He expressed sadness over the lives lost in the explosion and prayed for the quick recovery of the injured.
وزیر اعظم عمران خان کی پشاور دھماکے کی شدید مذمت
دھماکے میں قیمتی جانوں کے ضیاع پر افسوس کا اظہار۔ وزیر اعظم کی افسوسناک واقعے کے نتیجے میں زخمی ہونے والوں کی جلد صحتیابی کے لیے دعا۔ pic.twitter.com/loOUJASIZx
— Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) October 27, 2020
Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz said that those who attack students gaining knowledge have no connection with humanity. “We will defeat the objectives of those attacking the stability of the country,” he added.
پشاور مدرسے میں دھماکےکی شدید مذمت کرتے ہیں۔ تعلیم و تدریس حاصل کرنے والے طلباءپرحملہ کرنےوالوں کاانسانیت سے کوئی تعلق نہیں۔ ملک کو عدم استحکام سے دوچار کرنے والوں کے مذموم عزائم خاک میں ملائیں گے۔شہداء کے لواحقین سے دلی اظہار تعزیت اور زخمیوں کی جلد صحت یابی کی دعا کرتے ہیں۔
— Senator Shibli Faraz (@shiblifaraz) October 27, 2020
PML-N supreme leader and deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif also condemned the blast, saying that those who targeted the seminary “could not be Muslims”.
He said that the incident reminded him of the 2014 Army Public School massacre in which 132 students and 17 school staff lost their lives and called for those responsible to be caught and punished.
دیرکالونی پشاور میں مدرسے کو نشانہ بنانے والے مسلمان نہیں ہوسکتے
تعلیم حاصل کرتے بچوں اور تدریس کرتے اساتذہ کی شہادت نے سانحہ اے پی ایس کے دکھ تازہ کر دیئے ہیں
ملوث مجرموں کو قانون کے کٹہرے میں لایا جائے اور قرار واقعی سزا دی جائے
متاثرہ خاندانوں سے ہمدردی اور تعزیت کرتا ہوں
— PML(N) (@pmln_org) October 27, 2020
In another tweet from his personal account, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif called upon the government to “look at tears running on the bloody faces of injured children and immediately compensate for their pain”.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz termed it a “heart-rending” incident. “The damage inflicted [on] students is extremely saddening. There is no compensation for the mothers who have lost their children,” she said.
پشاور مدرسہ دھماکہ دل دہلا دینے والا واقع ہے۔بالخصوص بچوں کو ہونے والے نقصان نے انتہائی رنجیدہ کردیا ہے۔ جن ماؤں کی گودیں اجڑ گئیں،انکے دکھ کا تصور اور ازالہ ممکن نہیں!
اللہ تعالیٰ سے دعا ہے کہ لواحقین کو صبر عطا فرمائے اور اس سانحے میں زخمی ہونے والوں کوصحت یابی عطا فرمائے۔آمین
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) October 27, 2020
“We will defeat the objectives of those attacking the stability of the country,” said Information Minister Shibli Faraz while strongly condemning the blast.
“Our fight against terrorists and their extremist ideologies has to be won decisively — we have no option,” tweeted Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, adding that this was a “cowardly act by terrorists”.
MNA Mohsin Dawar condemned the blast, saying “We have been warning against the regrouping of terrorists in our areas. All terrorist networks need to be dismantled fully.”
The United Nations (UN) also condemned the “horrific” attack at the seminary in Peshawar.
“We condemned this horrific attack on an educational institution,” the secretary-general’s spokesperson said at a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.
“The secretary-general expresses his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured,” the spokesman said.
“The United Nations remains committed to support the people and government of Pakistan,” he added.
“Education is the fundamental right of every girl and boy, everywhere. Schools must never be targeted. They must remain safe learning environments at all times to protect the growth and healthy development of children, adolescents and young people,” said UNICEF’s Pakistan Representative Aida Girma in a statement.