PESHAWAR: At least 10 people, including two Afghan diplomats and a journalist, were killed and over 60 others sustained injuries in a motorbike blast on the busy University Road here on Monday.
“Around five kilograms of explosives were planted on the back seat of the motorbike. Ball-bearings were also embedded in the explosive layers to cause more casualties and damage,” Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of the Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) Shafqat Malik told The News.
Earlier, it was reported that a suicide bomber had rammed his motorbike and exploded it near a police van on the University Road near Arbab Road, moments after Commissioner Peshawar Sahibzada Mohammad Anis had passed through the area.
Superintendent of Police (SP) Cantonment Peshawar Mohammad Faisal said the suicide bomber struck his motorbike into a police van moments after Commissioner Sahibzada Mohammad Anis drove past the road.
Those killed in the blast included the Afghan consulate’s Business Attache, Qazi Hilal, and an official of its refugee section, Mohammad Idrees. Qazi Hilal was son of the former deputy leader of Hezb-i-Islami and Afghanistan’s former minister for justice and communications, Qazi Amin Waqad. Idrees is said to be Hilal’s relative and the two were together in connection with some work when they were caught in the blast while standing on the roadside.
A journalist, Arif Shafi, was among those killed in the blast while another journalist Gohar Ali’s daughter, Ayesha Ali, was wounded.A few others killed in theblast were identified as Adil Shah, Makhdoom Ali Shah and Shamsuddin. Four bodies could not be immediately identified.
One of the victims whose body was burnt was suspected to be the suicide bomber. However, the cops are investigating the case and trying to find out if this burnt body is of the bomber.“He was very close to the site. It is to be investigated as to how he was so close to the explosives. However, it is sure that the blast occurred above the ground,” Shafqat Malik said. He added that the blast was most probably triggered with a remote-control device.
Most of the casualties were caused in a minibus that was passing through the area when the bomb went off.The victims included men, women and children who were taken to the nearby Khyber Teaching Hospital in the ambulances of the Rescue 1122, Edhi Trust and private vehicles.
The main University Road was blocked after the explosion as police cordoned off the area. There were horrible scenes at the spot as people were bringing out bodies and victims from the destroyed vehicles, including the minibus.
Meanwhile, two persons were killed and 22 others sustained injuries in attacks on the Awami National Party (ANP) office in Nowshera and candidate in Charsadda districts.It was learnt that unidentified gunmen attacked the election office of the ANP candidate for PK-13, killing one of his security guards and injuring two other persons in Nowshera.
Two miscreants riding a motorcycle opened indiscriminate fire on the main entrance to the hujra, which was also the election office of the ANP candidate, Shahid Khan Khattak.His son Jawad Khan and scores of party workers were present at the hujra, but they escaped unhurt in the attack.
The slain guard was identified as Johar Ali, 19, while the injured party workers included Shahid Khan and Adalat Khan. The injured were rushed to the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) where doctors said their condition was critical.
The attackers escaped after the attack. Two vehicles parked in the hujra were also damaged in the incident. Heavy contingents of the police arrived at the scene after the incident and cordoned off the area.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nowshera Waqar Ahmad told ‘The News’ that the attackers riding a motorcycle started firing at the hujra, killing the guard.After the incident, a large number of ANP leaders and workers staged protest against the firing incident.
In Charsadda, a passerby was killed and 20 others sustained injures when Awami National Party (ANP) candidate for PK-17 was attacked with a remote controlled bomb in Sar Dheri, local sources said.The sources said ANP candidate for PK-17 Muhammad Ahmad Khan narrowly escaped in the attempt on his life.
They said Ahmad Khan was returning from his election campaign in Sar Dheri when explosives planted in a motorcycle parked along the road went off, killing a passerby identified as Bahar Ali. Twenty people, the sources said, were injured in the explosion.
Bomb disposal Unit officials said two kilogram explosive was used in the explosion.Later, speaking at a news conference, Ahmad Khan said ANP candidates were being targeted in a bid to keep them out of the electoral process. He said the elements staging the attacks would not succeed in their nefarious designs.
Meanwhile, the hujra and a nearby mosque were partially damaged when a bomb planted by militants exploded near the house of the Awami National Party (ANP) leader in the limits of Katlang Police Station in Mardan district.
The sources said explosives had been planted near the gates of the hujra of ANP leader Khan Daraz Khan in Hajyanoo Koroona in Ghundo village in Katlang which went off early in the day without causing injuries to anyone in the area.Soon after the incident, the police cordoned off the area and conducted search. However, no arrest was made, the sources said.
Meanwhile, two candidates on Monday came under attacks in separate incidents during their election campaign in the district, local sources said.
The sources said that two unidentified motorcyclists attacked the vehicular procession of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) candidate for NA-15 Karak and JUI-S Deputy General Secretary Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz in Jangrezi area of Banda Daudshah tehsil.It was learnt that both the candidates and their workers remained unhurt in the attack.
Hafiz Faisal Tariq, close aide of the candidate, confirmed the incident, saying that Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz was going to attend a public meeting in Guddikhel Union Council when the incident took place.
Meanwhile, two gunmen opened fire on the hujra of former Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) MPA and now independent candidate for PK-41 Karak-I Malik Qasim Khan in Khojaki area of Takht-e-Nusrati on the Indus Highway.
The power transformer of the guesthouse caught fire and the building was also slightly damaged but no loss of life was reported in the incident.