Sui­cide bomber kills 17 at Charsadda

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

At least 17 peo­ple were killed in an ex­plo­sion in the premises of a lo­cal court in Charsadda's Shabqadar area on Mon­day, hos­pi­tal sources said. The Ja­matul Ahrar, a splin­ter group of the out­lawed Tehreek-i-Tal­iban Pak­istan (TTP), claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack in an email sent to jour­nal­ists, say­ing the at­tack was car­ried out to avenge the hang­ing of Mum­taz Qadri, killer of for­mer Pun­jab Gov­er­nor Sal­man Taseer. The blast left at least 30 peo­ple in­jured, while two po­lice per­son­nel and a woman were among the dead.

Of­fi­cial sources at the Shabqadar Hos­pi­tal told me­dia they re­ceived 13 bod­ies, while the Lady Read­ing Hos­pi­tal in Pe­shawar re­ceived four.

District Po­lice Of­fi­cer So­hail Khalid told me­dia that the at­tack was car­ried out by a sui­cide bomber. The at­tacker was in­ter­cepted by po­lice­men sta­tioned at the court gate as he was at­tempt­ing to en­ter the ses­sions court premises. The cops fired at the at­tacker who det­o­nated his ex­plo­sives with a loud bang. At least 17 peo­ple, in­clud­ing two po­lice­men were killed while 30 oth­ers were wounded in the at­tack.

Eye­wit­nesses at the site said they heard fir­ing af­ter a loud blast. The ca­su­al­ties were shifted to Shabqadar Hos­pi­tal. Hos­pi­tal ad­min­is­tra­tion said they re­ceived seven bod­ies. At the time of the ex­plo­sion, the courts were crowded af­ter a break over the week­end. Some ve­hi­cles parked in the vicin­ity of the blast site caught fire. Ef­forts are be­ing made to put the fire out. Se­cu­rity and emer­gency teams reached the blast site and sealed the area. Awami Na­tional Party (ANP) Zahid Khan, talk­ing to me­dia af­ter the blast, crit­i­cised the pro­vin­cial govern­ment for 'tak­ing in­ad­e­quate se­cu­rity mea­sures'. Shabqadar tehsil is close to Mohmand tribal re­gion, which is one of seven semi-au­ton­o­mous tribal re­gions in the northwest, where Pak­istani Tal­iban and Al Qaeda-linked mil­i­tants were said to have carved out strongholds. The in­ci­dent comes at a time when law-en­force- ment agen­cies are said to be mak­ing gains in im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Na­tional Ac­tion Plan (NAP) and tak­ing coun­tert­er­ror­ism mea­sures across the coun­try.

A to­tal of 2,159 ter­ror­ists have been killed and 1,724 ar­rested, data from the in­te­rior min­istry showed, since NAP was launched fol­low­ing the TTP­claimed at­tack on the Army Pub­lic School in Pe­shawar on Dec 16, 2014. The num­ber of at­tacks in Pak­istan has fallen around 70 per cent, due to a com­bi­na­tion of the mil­i­tary of­fen­sive against Tal­iban bases along the Afghan bor­der and govern­ment ini­tia­tives to tackle mil­i­tancy, but at­tacks on se­cu­rity and civil­ian tar­gets con­tinue to oc­cur oc­ca­sion­ally.

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