KP mourns as death toll from Peshawar suicide bombing reaches 95

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PESHAWAR: The death toll from the suicide bombing that rocked the crowded mosque at the Police Lines compound in Peshawar rose to 95, with 221 people wounded, said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Caretaker Chief Minister Muhammad Azam Khan on Tuesday. 

A suicide bomber blew himself up in the mosque — which is in a tightly guarded police compound — on Monday at around 1pm during the Zohr prayers, causing the roof to come crashing down upon those who were offering the prayers at that time. 

The caretaker CM revealed that an inquiry committee has been constituted to identify those who are responsible for this act.

The rescue operation to retrieve bodies from the debris of the mosque has been concluded, said Rescue 1122’s spokesperson. 

Day of mourning

KP Caretaker Chief Minister Muhammad Azam Khan has announced a day of mourning in the province today following the heinous attack.

The national flag will be at half-mast across the province, he said, adding, “The government share the grief of the martyrs’ families.”

The interim CM also assured the aggrieved families that the provincial government would not leave them alone in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Preliminary investigation report sent to PM: sources

A preliminary investigation report of the blast has been sent to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, sources told.

Sources said that evidence found at the site of the incident indicates that it was a suicide attack.

As per the report, the roof tumbled down as the pillars collapsed, causing a lot of damage. The sources added that a high-level investigation committee has been set up to look into the security lapses.

Sources quoting the report added that the CCTV footage from the Police Lines gate and family quarters is being investigated.

Probe will clear everything soon: IG

Speaking during a press conference alongside KP CM Azam Khan, Inspector-General Moazzam Jah Ansari said that about 10-12 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.

He said that there has been a security lapse and investigations are underway to ascertain the facts. “We are checking one-month’s CCTV footage and tracking the facilitators of the bomber,” he added.

The provincial police chief said that a joint investigation team (JIT) has been notified and the probe will clear everything soon. Those responsible will be identified and brought to book, he added.

He said that the attacker might have entered the premises as a guest. He added that the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had denied responsibility for the attack last night. 

Earlier, the IG said that there are over 2,000 policemen in the Police Lines working with eight different departments.

He said that a large number of civilians visit this place on a daily basis, adding that it also has family quarters. “Construction work was also going on in the locality with workers coming in and going out every day,” he added.

World offers condolences

The ghastly attack triggered an outpour of reactions from the world community over the loss of lives, with leaders affirming their support for Pakistan against terrorism.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his “deepest condolences” over the loss of lives in the Peshawar suicide attack.

“Worshippers at a mosque in Peshawar endured a horrific attack today, which killed and injured many […] I extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims,” he said.

Saudia Arabia also “reiterated its resolve to stand with Pakistan against all kinds of violence, extremism and terrorism” while condemning the heinous act, Radio Pakistan reported. 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres extended heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wished a quick recovery to the wounded.

He reiterated the world’s support against terrorism and violent extremism.

Csaba Korosi, president of the UN General Assembly, called the incident a “truly horrid and cowardly attack”.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha also condemned the act while reassuring support for the nation to tackle terrorism.