Pakistan remained the frontline allied to US and NATO in war on terror for decades; indeed paid a heavy price. A new wave to ruthless terrorist attacks hit the county. At least 57 people have been martyred and 194 injured in an assault during Friday prayers at the main Shia mosque in Risaldar area of the provincial capital Peshawar. According to details an unknown gunman opened fire on the policemen and security guards at the main gate of Shia Muslims Mosque; the bomber successfully entered in prayer hall, and blown himself up where the Friday prayer was going on. Security forces cordon-off the area after the blast. Death toll may increase, as many injured in Leady Reading Hospital (LRH) are critical. Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned the report of the incident.
Speaking to media, Haroon Rasheed, SSP Operations, Peshawar, said, “it was a suicide attack during which the policemen at the gate were targeted first, after which the assailant entered the mosque and blew himself up”.
IG Police KP Moazzam Jah Ansari told media “Peshawar police were present on the spot; two security personnel were deployed outside the worship place, both were martyred. 5 to 6 kg of explosives was used in the blast. CCTV footage shows the terrorist who was dressed in black clothes.
An eyewitness Ali Haider told Eat News, “a large number of worshipers were present in the mosque at the time of the attack. As the Friday prayers were being prepared, at least one of the assailants came to the mosque with a pistol and started targeting the worshipers. After the firing, the assailant detonated a bomb. The doors and walls of the mosque were shaken by the blast. This mosque is not very big. It has a capacity of 400 to 450 worshipers. The mosque was full of worshipers at the time of the incident. Due to the narrow roads connecting the mosque to the main city, it was difficult to transport the injured to the hospital, as the vehicle could not reach the accident site. That is why the injured were carried physically by the locals from three to four hundred meters to the road and from there they are being taken to the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) by ambulance”.
Muhammad Aasim Spokesman Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) Peshawar, while speaking to EAT News said, “dead bodies of 57 people were brought to hospital, 194 are injured including 10 critical”. “Most of the injured are critically wounded so the number of injured is expected to increase. Additional medical personnel and para medical staff have been called as red alert has been declared in LRH”, Muhammad Aasim added
Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Mahmood Khan visited LRH and inspected the injured in the blast. The Chief Minister assured all possible cooperation to the families of the blast victims and martyrs. He expressed determination to eradicate terrorism with the cooperation of the people.
Meanwhile Mehmood Khan Chief Minister KP held a high level meeting on law and order situation in the province. Members of the provincial cabinet, additional chief secretary, Inspector General Police, Secretary interior, Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) attended the meeting. Participants condemned the mosque blast. Chief Minister Mehmood Khan said it was a brutal and heinous act to sabotage the peace in the province. Government will not allow any one to damage the peaceful atmosphere in the province and this will never happen again. Law enforcement agencies will chase the footprints of the culprits and swift actions will be taken against the perpetrator; indeed security of religious places will be further beefed up.
Bilal Ahmad Faizi, the spokesman of rescue 1122 during a telephonic conversation with Eat News told, “As soon as the blast was reported, Rescue 1122 ambulance reached the spot in next 4 minutes and started rescue operations. Rescue 1122 evacuated more than 70 injured and several dead people from the mosque and shifted them to nearby Lady Reading Hospital. Injured were provided medical aid immediately. More than 80 Rescue 1122 personnel, Fire vehicles, Disaster Vehicles and 25 Ambulances participated in the rescue operation”.
Increase in terrorism incidents in since last year
According to figures released by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, there were 207 terrorist attacks in Pakistan in 2021 in which 335 people were killed and 555 injured. Among those killed 177 were security personnel, 126 civilians and 32 terrorists. According to the data, in 2021 the number of terrorist attacks increased by about 42% compared to 2020. The banned terrorist outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), local Taliban groups and ISIS were involved in 128 of these attacks. In 2020, these groups claimed responsibility for a total of 95 attacks.
Security experts say that a couple of weeks back a threat alert was issued that Shia Muslims and other minorities could be targeted in Peshawar. Government has to take more solid steps to curtail the terrorism and extremism in the country to communicate the world the Pakistan is peaceful state in South Asia.
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