Wednesday July 24, 2024

Peshawar mosque bomber was in police uniform: KP IGP

By Javed Aziz Khan
February 03, 2023

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General of Police (IGP) Moazzam Jah Ansari said on Thursday the suicide bomber who had carried out the attack in the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines mosque had entered the facility on a motorbike while wearing the police uniform and helmet.

“I have checked the suicide bomber in the CCTV footage, his coming on a motorcycle right from Khyber Road. He was wearing a police uniform, jacket and helmet. His face matches the one recovered from the mosque,” the provincial police chief told a press conference flanked by other officers. He said the bomb disposal unit, after examining all the evidence, confirmed that the terror act was carried out by a suicide bomber. The IGP said the engine of the motorbike had been recovered.

“In the next stage, we will reach and dismantle the network and then the perpetrators. We have reached close to the network involved,” said the police chief.

He said Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan were involved in the attack but they did not claim responsibility after keeping in view the public anger at the act.

The police chief said the building of the mosque had been built decades back, the structure had grown weak and that was why it caved in with the explosion. He said that most of the people lost their lives and were wounded after the roof collapsed on them. The KP Police chief said the number of martyrs in the blast was 84 and the hospital termed the death toll as 102 in confusion.

Earlier, media reports from hospital sources said that 101 people died in Monday’s blast in the mosque of Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines during Zuhr prayers.

Moazzam Jah Ansari said, “We are fighting a war and our men are sacrificing lives, but some elements triggered protests while others spread rumours claiming that it was either a planted bomb or a drone carried out the attack.” He said the entire force was in pain and needed to be encouraged. The brave force would continue fighting this war and would defeat the miscreants to perform the duty of protecting this province and its people, he vowed.

“We have lost our brave jawans and that is why everyone is working on the case. None of us could sleep for the last three days. We will take revenge for everyone martyred and injured in the attack,” the police chief said.

Ansari said all the regional police officers and heads of different wings have been directed to arrange police darbar and encourage their men. He said they have also been directed to take care of the families of martyrs as well as all those injured, adding efforts were being made to increase the martyrs package.

Capital City Police Officer Ijaz Khan said the media and social media had wrongly quoted him as saying that the bomber had come in a car as he had never given such a statement. The IGP, along with his deputies, later took oath along with hundreds of policemen during a darbar that every measure will be taken for peace in the province, going after the militants and protecting the life and property of every citizen.

APP adds: Moazzam Jah Ansari said the police force was zeroing in on the terrorist network behind the deadly suicide attack on the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines mosque and warned that efforts to provoke police jawans would not be tolerated.

He said the morale of the police force was sky-high despite the mosque’s bombing and they were ready to offer more sacrifices for the protection of their motherland against any threat. Dispelling all the conspiracy theories emerging after the suicide attack, the IGP made it clear that it was a suicide attack. He rejected the speculations that the blast was triggered through a planted bomb or drone strike and said about 10 to 12 kilograms of TNT was used in the attack.

The IGP said the bomber entered the mosque at 12:37 pm and asked one of the police constables about the mosque, adding the question indicated that the bomber was unaware of the place and was sent by someone to carry out the explosion with police the target. “There is a complete network behind the bomber,” he added.