Death toll in Peshawar mosque suicide attack climbs to 95
Over 100 people were also wounded in suicide blast in the Police Lines mosque
PESHAWAR (Dunya News) - The death toll in the suicide bombing in the Police Lines mosque in Peshawar has jumped to 95, Dunya News reported on Tuesday morning.
The rescue operation is still going on at the collapsed structure as rescuers are in the process of cutting the debris. Security officials said the explosion took place around 1:40pm on Monday as Zuhr prayers were being offered as a result of which the roof of the mosque caved in. At least 157 people were wounded in the blast.
The blast said to be perpetrated by a suicide bomber took place at the mosque where a large number of people had gathered for prayer, police official Sikandar Khan said. "A portion of the building had collapsed and several people are believed to be under it," Mr Khan added.
Most of the casualties were of police officers. It was not clear how the bomber was able to slip into the walled compound which houses the police headquarters in Peshawar and is located in a high-security zone having other government buildings.
More than 300 worshippers were praying in the mosque, with more approaching when the bomber set off his explosives vest. Many were injured when the roof came down, according to Zafar Khan, a police officer, and rescuers had to remove mounds of debris to reach worshippers still trapped under the rubble.
Police and rescuers shifted the injured to the Lady Reading Hospital and other health facilities. The authorities immediately cordoned off the area. Videos and pictures shared by social media users showed horrific scenes as the injured drenched in blood were shifted to medical centres for first aid.
"The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is no less than an attack on Pakistan," tweeted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who visited the wounded in Peshawar and vowed "stern action" against those behind the bombing. He expressed his condolences to families of the victims, saying "their pain cannot be described in words."
The funeral prayers of 27 police officials who were martyred in the suicide bombing was offered on Monday night at the ground of Police Lines. Corps Commander Peshawar, Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Commandant Frontier Constabulary, IG Frontier Corps, IGP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, senior military and civil officials, relatives of martyrs and people from other walks of life attended the funeral.
The nation s resolve against terrorism unwavering: PM
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the cowardly terror attacks could not weaken resolve of the nation against terrorism and the miscreants and their facilitators involved in attacks on innocent citizens would be punished for their heinous crimes. He was speaking during his visit to Peshawar after the deadly blast at the mosque of Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines during Zuhr prayers.
Chief of Army Staff Syed Asim Munir received the prime minister on his arrival. The PM was accompanied by Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb.
On this occasion, the Peshawar corps commander briefed the prime minister on the possible motives behind the terror attacks. Inspector General Police Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muazzam Jah Ansari gave the initial investigative report about the suicide attack on the mosque.
The PM was also shown CCTV footage of the suicide attack on the Police Lines mosque. The participants in the meeting offered fateha for the martyred, sympathised with the bereaved families and prayed for the early recovery of the injured.
While the pain of the grieving families cannot be described in words, I express my heartfelt condolences and most sincere sympathies. My message to the perpetrators of today s despicable incident is that you can t underestimate the resolve of our people. https://t.co/edUJ6SbP3M— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) January 30, 2023
On this occasion, the prime minister said terrorists were attacking the security institutions which were defending Pakistan, adding the terrorists were making a nefarious attempt to create an atmosphere of fear and terror. The strength of unity of institutions and people would foil the designs of terrorists, he said, adding that Pakistan had rendered great sacrifices against terrorism and sacrifices of the martyrs would not go waste.
Shehbaz Sharif said capacity of the anti-terrorism institutions and police would be enhanced and the National Action Plan would be implemented comprehensively and with full force.
Meanwhile, the prime minister visited the Lady Reading Hospital to inquire after the persons injured in the blast. He took a round of wards and met the injured. He directed the hospital administration to provide best medical facilities to the injured. He said those who shed blood of the worshippers could not be Muslims. The criminals behind the terror attack would not be absolved by Allah Almighty, he remarked. He vowed to root out the terroristm.
He said the attack on the innocent citizens during prayers in the mosque and in the name of Islam was worst of acts. People of Pakistan had identified the real faces of the extremist elements who had a baseless ideology and were misinterpreting the religion, he added.
Earlier on his arrival at the hospital, the prime minister was received by caretaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Azam Khan, Adviser to the PM on Political Affairs Engr Amir Muqam and Inspector General of Police Muazzam Jah Ansari.
Later in tweets, the PM said terrorism was the foremost national security challenge.