Suicide bombing at Peshawar mosque leaves 59 dead, 170 wounded

— 27 policemen among dead

— Army chief attended PM-headed security meeting   

PESHAWAR: A powerful explosion at a mosque in the secured Police Lines neighbourhood of Peshawar has killed at least 59 worshippers and wounded 170 people, according to police and rescue officials.

The explosion occurred during afternoon prayers at approximately 1:40 pm and police and army personnel were reportedly present inside the mosque at the time, according to police.

Sahibzada Noor Ul Amin, Imam of the mosque, was also martyred in the blast, police said.

“It’s an emergency situation,” Muhammad Asim Khan, a spokesman for the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, said.

Many worshippers were still trapped inside, police said, and heavy machinery and fire brigades were combing the ruins for survivors in a frantic rescue operation. Officers said the blast emanated from the second row of worshippers, with bomb disposal teams probing the suicide attack.

A member of the outlawed TTP claimed responsibility while separately, another member of Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) also claimed the attack.

The sources said that at least 27 police officials were martyred in the blast. Funeral prayers were offered late Monday evening for the martyred police officials attended by high-ranking officials at Police Lines. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General of Police (IGP) and other top security officials attended the funeral prayers.

Security sources said that a suicide bomber present in first row of the Police Lines Mosque in Peshawar blew himself as soon as the prayers started. Following the bombing, the provincial health department declared an emergency in district Peshawar and asked all medical personnel to remain on duty.

Law enforcement agencies cordoned off the attack site and have started an initial investigation. The GT Road near Bala Hisar was also closed to traffic.  

It was learnt that more than 250 people were present in the mosque to offer ‘Zohar’ prayers when the blast took place. As a result of explosion, the front portion of the mosque caved in killing several and leaving dozens others injured.

Rescue teams rushed the scene soon after getting the information and started rescue activities. Most of the bodies and injured were shifted to Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar.

Part of the mosque roof and wall had collapsed and bloodied survivors limped from the wreckage, as dead bodies were ferried away in ambulances. The police said it was a suicide attack as the suicide bomber who was standing in the first line of the faithful blew himself up.

Further investigation is underway on the CCTV footage of Police Line gate and family quarters, it added.

The roof collapsed because the explosion damaged the pillars of the mosque, according to the initial investigation.

A high-level committee has also been set up to probe any security lapse, read the report.

New security guidelines

Following the deadly blast at Peshawar Police Line, security guidelines have also been changed for Civil Secretariat.

Department of Administrative Affairs Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has issued a declaration regarding the new guidelines.

Vehicles entering Civil Secretariat will go through a thorough security check which include inspection of car’s bonnet and trunk.

Meanwhile, in Islamabad, roads leading to the Red Zone neighbourhood housing government and diplomatic buildings have been closed.

Last March, a suspected Islamic State bomber attacked a Shi’ite mosque in Peshawar killing 64 in Pakistan’s deadliest terror attack since 2018. Afghanistan-based Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are also active there.

Since the Taliban surged back to power in Afghanistan in 2021, Islamabad has accused them of failing to secure their mountainous border, allowing fighters to flit back and forth to stage attacks and escape capture.

Over the first 12 months of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, Pakistan witnessed a 50 percent surge in militant attacks, focused in the western border provinces, according to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS).

Detectives said the March 2022 bomber in Peshawar was an Afghanistan exile who had returned home to train for the attack.

Peshawar was also the site of a 2014 massacre by the TTP, who raided a school for children of army personnel and killed nearly 150 people, most of them pupils.

The Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) spokesman has said the martyred brought to the hospital included Inspector Doran Shah, Zohaib Nawaz [resident of Dir Lower], Maqsood Ahmed, Rashida Bibi, Rafiq of Lakki Marwat, Constable Naseem Shah, Liaqat of Charsadda, Driver Amjad, Shehryar, Liaqat of Lakki Marwat, Mohammad Ali of Mian Gujar, Sahibzada, Zahir Shah, Tilawat Shah, Waseem Shah, Gul Ashraf, Hayatullah Khattak, Zubair, Abdul Hameed, Usman, Khalid Khan of Charsadda, Rafiq Khan, Inspector Irfan Khan, FC personel Shahab of Charsadda, Abdul Wadud, FC personnel Ahmad Khan, Liaqatullah Shah of Lakki Marwat, Atif Mujeeb, Rizwanullah of Charcadda and Hazrat Umer.

The identity of two bodies was not yet ascertained, the spokesman added.

Condemnations pour in

President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly denounced the suicide attack inside a mosque at police lines in Peshawar.

Shehbaz Sharif said the cowardly terror attacks could not weaken the resolve of the nation against terrorism, and the miscreants and their facilitators involved in attacks on innocent citizens would be punished for their heinous crimes.

He was speaking during his visit to Peshawar after the deadly blast at the mosque of Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines during Zuhr prayers.

Chief of Army Staff Syed Asim Munir received the prime minister on his arrival. He was accompanied by Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb.

On the occasion, the Corps Commander Peshawar briefed the prime minister about the motives behind the terror attacks.

Inspector General of Police Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muazzam Jah Ansari presented the initial investigation report about the attack. The PM was also shown the CCTV footage of the suicide attack on the Police Lines mosque.

The participants of the meeting offered Fateha for the martyred, sympathized with the bereaved families, and prayed for the early recovery of the injured.

On the occasion, the prime minister said the terrorists were attacking the security institutions, which were defending Pakistan. They were making a nefarious attempt to create an atmosphere of fear and terror, and their designs would be foiled by the institutions and the people unitedly, he added.

Pakistan had rendered great sacrifices against terrorism, and the sacrifices of the martyrs would not go waste, the prime minister said.

Shehbaz Sharif said the capacity of the anti-terrorism institutions and police would be enhanced and the National Action Plan would be implemented comprehensively and with full force.

Meanwhile, the prime minister visited the Lady Reading Hospital to inquire after the persons injured in the blast. The prime minister took rounds of different wards and met the injured. He directed the hospital administration to provide the best medical facilities to the injured.

Speaking during his visit, he said those who shed the blood of the worshippers could not be Muslims. The criminals behind the terror attack would not be absolved by Allah Almighty, he remarked and vowed to root out the terrorists.

He said the attacks on innocent citizens during prayers in mosques and in the name of Islam were the worst acts. The people of Pakistan had identified the real faces of the extremist elements who had a baseless ideology and were misinterpreting the religion, he added.

Earlier on his arrival at the hospital, the prime minister was received by caretaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Azam Khan, Adviser to the PM on Political Affairs Engr Amir Muqam, and IGP Muazzam Jah Ansari.

Improvement of intelligence gathering, equipping police to combat terrorism urged

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and senior party leadership strongly condemned the attack and expressed sympathies with the family of the martyrs.

The former premier said that it is “imperative” that the country improves its “intelligence gathering and properly equip police forces to combat” the growing threat of terrorism. He also expressed condolences with the families of those killed and injured.

PTI cancels protest

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf canceled its protest against inflation which was scheduled to take place in Peshawar outside the Governor House. Former minister Sher Ali urged party workers to not come to the protest.

The party also condemned the attack, calling it “most unfortunate”. PTI leader Shaukat Yousafzai expressed his grief at the loss of precious lives, adding that security agencies made great sacrifices to restore law and order.

A spokesperson for the PTI instructed party workers to donate blood to the injured and urged the caretaker government in the K-P to take effective measures for the treatment of the injured.

Former President Asif Ali Zardari condemning a suicide attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that terrorists being active in KP was extremely dangerous.

He advised the government to take action against nurseries of terrorists as per National Action Plan (NAP). Asif Zardari said that terrorist incidents before by-polls and general elections were cause of concern. He urged the federal and interim provincial governments for bringing terrorist planners and facilitators to book.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman strongly condemned the attack and said that attacking a sacred place during worship was the “height of brutality”.

He maintained that the nation should fight conspiratorial elements with mutual unity and agreement.
Fazl also prayed for the forgiveness of the martyrs and for the recovery of the injured.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Amir Sirajul Haq also condemned the brutal attack, saying terrorism in Peshawar is highly condemnable.

“Innocent blood is being shed in the country, mosques are being targeted, but government is nowhere to be found. In the power grab, people have been left at the mercy of terrorists. Protection of life and property, let alone any relief, what purpose does such a government have?” he tweeted.


Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has strongly condemned the attack on Police Lines mosque in Peshawar. He prayed for the elevation of the ranks of martyrs and the speedy recovery of the injured.

The Senate chairman said the terrorists would never succeed in their nefarious designs as the determination of the government, security agencies, people and parliament against terrorism was unwavering.

Such barbaric terrorist attacks cannot shake our resolve for a peaceful Pakistan, Sanjrani said adding terrorists were trying to sabotage the development process in Pakistan through these terrorist activities, but the Pakistani Nation was determined to root out this scourge of terrorism.

Meanwhile Senate Deputy Chairman Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Leader of the House in Senate Ishaq Dar and Leader of the Opposition in Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem also strongly condemned the blast and said the terrorists would not succeed in their evil objectives. They said the entire nation was united against terrorism.

Commissioner urges citizens of O- group to donate blood for blast victims

The city Commissioner Riaz Khan Mehsud urged the citizens of O- group to donate blood for the treatment of blood victims.

Talking to reporters, here, he said O- blood was required for critically injured victims following the appeal made by the Lady Reading Hospital’s spokesman.

He said at least 28 people, including policemen, were martyred and 150 wounded in the powerful explosion that ripped through inside the mosque of Malik Saad Shaheed police lines in red zone.

Meanwhile, Capital City Police Officer Peshawar Ejaz Khan, while talking to the media, said that it was too early to comment anything that how many policemen were still trapped under the mosque’s rubble. He said the focus was currently being made on the rescue operation.

“We cannot say with surety about the nature of the blast at the moment but there is a smell of explosives inside the mosque,” he feared, also not dismissing the possibility of a suicide attack.

The CCPO said usually 300 to 400 people including officials of the headquarters of Peshawar Police, Counter Terrorism Department, Frontier Reserve Police, Elite Force and Telecommunication Departments offer Zuhr prayer in the mosque.


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