PESHAWAR: A Superintendent of Police (SP), along with three other cops and two passers-by, was killed while 37 people were wounded in a suicide attack near the Khan Raziq Police Station in the Qissa Khwani Bazaar here on Wednesday.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), while calling reporters in Kohat and Peshawar, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the slain SP Hilal Haider had been torturing their members in custody for quite some time.
The TTP spokesman, Mohammad, who normally represents the outlawed group’s Darra Adamkhel chapter, said they had also targeted and killed SP Kalam Khan and SP Khurshid Khan and would continue attacking the police.
SP City Asif Iqbal told reporters that SP Investigation Hilal Haider was on way to office in his official car when he was attacked by a suicide bomber in the Qissa Khwani Bazaar.
Haider, 57, his gunman Murad, driver Ilyas, another policeman Khurshid and two passers-by were killed and 37 others, including policemen and women, were injured in the suicide attack.
The injured and bodies were shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital close to the site of the blast where a state of emergency was declared.
Those injured included two women, Tahira and Haseena. The other injured were identified as Abdur Rahman, Almas Khan, Amir Shah, Arbad Ali Khan, Bashar Zada, Faizan, Farhan, Farman Shah, Habibur Rehman, Hisaruddin, Irshad, Izzatullah, Jalil, Police Sub-inspector Jalil, Javed, Laiq Shah, Mohammad Aslam, Mohammad Iqbal, Munir Ahmad, Naik Muhammad, Nasrullah Jan, Niamat, Raheem Gul, Rasheed Khan, Rasool Khan, Rustam, Sabz Ali, Saleh Muhammad, Subhani, Waliullah, Yar Jan, Zafar Khattak and Jan Badshah.
Experts of the bomb disposal unit opined that almost seven kilograms of explosives were used in the attack. The blast destroyed the official vehicle of the senior police officer and smashed windowpanes of dozens of nearby buildings.
The busy trade centre was closed as the police cordoned off the area immediately after the explosion.
People were busy in shopping or on their way to workplaces when the blast ripped through the crowded Qissa Khwani Bazaar. “I was on way to my shop when I heard a huge explosion and then saw people lying in a pool of blood,” said Ismail Khan, an eyewitness. He said the injured were rushed to hospital by a large number of people in Qissa Khwani, Kabuli and Khyber bazaars. The officials at the LRH said five people were received dead at the hospital.
The funeral prayers for SP Hilal Haider, Murad and Ilyas were held at the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines.
Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Kiramatullah Khan, Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour, chief secretary, inspector general of police and other senior officials attended the funeral prayer.
Hilal Haider is the second SP killed in Peshawar during the last three weeks. Earlier, SP Rural Khurshid Khan was killed and beheaded when militants stormed a police post in Matani sited close to the tribal area on October 15.
During the current year, another SP, Kalam Khan, was killed in a suicide attack at the Pishtakhara Chowk in March.
Hilal Haider joined the police force as an assistant sub-inspector in 1975. He was promoted to the rank of SI in 1991 and as inspector in 1997. Hilal Haider was promoted to DSP rank in 2007 and was elevated as the SP Investigation on shoulder promotion last year.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has condemned the Peshawar bomb blast and expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives.
In his condolence message, the chief minister prayed that may Allah Almighty rest the departed souls in eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved families to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude.
APP adds: Meanwhile, President of the Awami National Party (ANP) Asfandyar Wali Khan and provincial President Senator Afrasaib Khan Khattak and MQM chief Altaf Hussain on Wednesday strongly condemned the suicide attack on SP Investigation Hilal Haider and expressed profound grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives.
In a statement issued here, the ANP leaders said that terrorists were making such cowardice and inhuman acts in a bid to make the people hostage. However, they said this would not continue any longer. Such inhuman acts could not deter the resolve of the government, police and people and time was not for far when peace would completely prevail in the country, they added.