PARACHINAR: Fourteen persons were killed and 65 injured in an major explosion caused by an explosive-laden vehicle here on Monday, official and tribal sources said. Sources said a car parked in the Turi Market, the busiest bazaar in Parachinar near the Kashmir Chowk, blew up at 2:35pm. All the 14 people were killed on the spot.
The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’s Ghazi group claimed responsibility for the blast through a spokesperson who talked to reporters in Kohat and elsewhere from an undisclosed location by phone. This is the first time that the Ghazi group’s existence withinthe TTP has been claimed. The spokesman, Ahsan, was unheard of in the past.
The explosion was heard far and wide in Parachinar and body parts of the victims were seen scattered at the site of the blast. Most of those killed and injured were shopkeepers or customers.
About 30 shops in the bazaar were completely destroyed while more than 100 were partially damaged, eyewitnesses said.The locals had retrieved the bodies from the debris before the government officials arrived to supervise the rescue work.
The injured were shifted to hospitals in Parachinar, Sadda, Thall and Peshawar. Most of the injured were stated to be in critical condition.Those killed included Salman Ali, Muntazir Hussain, Hidayat Hussain, Sharif Hussain, Hayat Ali, Syed Gul Agha, Shafayat Hussain, Mohtaj Ali, Shahid Hussain, Mohammad, Ishaat Hussain, Irshad Hussain and Syed Shujaat Hussain.
Following the explosion, the political administration declared emergency in the city and power supply was suspended in the area. Security forces and Kurram Levies cordoned off the area to arrest suspicious people. However, there was no word yet about the arrest of any person.
According to the bomb disposal unit officials, about 500 kilogrammes of explosives were used in the blast. Rocket and mortar shells were also stuffed in the explosive device to cause maximum number of casualties.
After the blast, enraged residents of Parachinar town blocked the Peshawar Road in protest and burnt tyres on it. They chanted slogans against the government for its failure to stop the terrorist attacks and provide protection to the people.
Talking to The News, Kurram Agency’s Political Agent Syed Shahab Ali Shah confirmed the death of 13 persons, adding that 58 persons were injured in the blast. “It is not yet confirmed whether it was a suicide attack or remote-controlled explosion,” he said, adding that investigation was under way to determine the nature of the incident.
He said most of the victims were commoners busy in purchasing food items in the market when the incident occurred.
Turi and Bangash tribal elders, including Allama Sheikh Nawaz Irfani, the prayer leader of Jamia Masjid Parachinar, and former senator Allama Abid al-Hussain condemned the car bombing and announced three-day mourning in Kurram Agency.
They decided to keep all the bazaars and markets closed today in protest against the political administration for its failure to check vehicles arriving in Parachinar from other places.A local welfare organisation, Haideri Blood Bank, arranged 200 bags of blood for the injured.
Haji Ali Haider and journalist Syed Sajid Ali Shah, who were seriously injured, were eyewitnesses of the blast. They said a young boy driving a car arrived at the Kashmir Chowk and hit another car already parked on the roadside, causing a deafening blast.
Dozens of cars were damaged in the blast, which also caused partial damage to over 100 shops and almost an equal number of houses in the city.In February this year, a similar bombing had killed 45 people in Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram Agency.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Masood Kausar has announced Rs300,000 each for every dead person and Rs100,000 each for the injured.