Mosque in Peshawar Pakistan Attacked
By Mahvish Akhtar
Atleast a hundred people were killed in a suicide bombing on Monday in Peshawar in a mosque. At least 200 people were severely injured in the attack. According to Lady Reading Hospital spokesperson, 53 wounded were in the ICU with life-threatening injuries. Mostly police officials were killed or injured after an explosion ripped through a mosque in Peshawar’s Red Zone area. The powerful blast blew away the wall of the prayer hall, and the inner ceiling collapsed on the praying individuals below.
Wajahat Ali, a 23-year-old police constable who survived, said that he had lost all hopes for survival. “I remained trapped under the rubble with a dead body over me for seven hours,” he told AFP from the LRH.
Peshawar police chief Muhammad Ijaz Khan said that more than 90 percent of the victims were police officers, between 300 and 400 of whom had gathered in the compound’s mosque for prayers.
“Through their despicable actions, terrorists want to spread fear and paranoia among the masses and reverse our hard-earned gains against terrorism and militancy. My message to all political forces is one of unity against anti-Pakistan elements. We can fight our political fights later.” Said, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
In a media briefing on Tuesday afternoon, KP Inspector General (IG) Mauzzam Jah Ansari said there was no “central command” at the Police Lines, and the checking mechanism was limited to the gate. Construction workers were also coming in and out of the location all day. Somehow [explosive] material was brought here in small quantities over time. The bomber came in empty-handed and obtained the materials already on the premises. In this regard, a security lapse is also being investigated. A separate committee headed by the Peshawar CCPO has been constituted,” he said.
In response to a question, the IG said that officials estimated 10-12 kilograms of explosive material were used. “Most of the damage was not caused by the explosive material; the shockwaves from the blast caused the roof to cave in, burying people under the rubble.”
On Monday night, collective funeral prayers for 27 police martyrs were offered in Peshawar’s Police Lines area with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Chief Mauzzam Jah Ansari, army officers, and officials of civil administration in attendance.
“As the head of this force, I salute the police officials who lost their lives in the deadly blast. These martyrs are our real heroes, and their sacrifices will not be in vain,” he said, adding that the bereaved families would not be abandoned and their welfare would be the “prime responsibility” of the KP police
“I was standing with my friends when the blast threw us away, and just as we tried to get our bearings, within a few seconds, the entire roof collapsed,” Rehman, who works in the telecommunications department for the police, told Al Jazeera.
“The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable,” Sharif tweeted after visiting Peshawar. “This is no less than an attack on Pakistan.”
According to sources, the blame is going to Tehreek-Taliban Pakistan. Authorities say at early stages after the attack, TTP took claim of the attack and then took it back. There has been a lot of friction between the previous government and the TTP. Even after coming to a peace agreement, there hasn’t been any peace, and the TTP has been creating trouble for Pakistan in one way or the other.
Pakistan had asked the recent Taliban Government to help in this matter but has met with nothing but a cold shoulder and disdain for being asked to be involved in their political issues.
TTP is not a new problem or a new factor in Pakistani politics. Its just a different player since the Afghan Taliban have made a government in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s military was frequently accused of sheltering Afghan Taliban leaders and fighters while they were waging insurgent attacks, including suicide bombings, against U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan for almost two decades. These activities were mostly ignored by all sides because in the bigger scheme of things it went in everyone’s favor.
Since the Afghan Taliban took over, Islamabad helped trade and cooperation with the Afghan government which was in need of economical help. However, with the world isolating the Afghan government and its attitude towards the TTP’s actions in Pakistan such as a spree of recent terrorist attacks within Pakistan, mostly claimed by the TTP, has strained relations between the two countries.
However, Afghanistan has spoken out against blaming Afghanistan Taliban having any hand in the incidents, this one included. Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told a gathering in the capital, Kabul, that Pakistani officials should find a solution to their security challenges locally and desist from “sowing the seeds of enmity” between the two Muslim countries.
On Thursday Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IGP said that they are closing in on the culprits who have committed this crime. Moazzam Jah Ansari refuting all the conspiracies theories pleaded to the public to not “provoke his forces”.
Speaking during a press conference in Peshawar about the blast, Ansari revealed that they have found the network of terrorists behind the attack.
“We will avenge every drop of blood of our martyrs,” he reassured everyone.
He added that the police has acquired the CCTV footage of the suicide bomber in which he can be seen in a police uniform, riding a motorcycle and wearing a face mask. He said they are close to tracing the terrorist behind the attack.