56 martyred, over 60 injured in gun-and-bomb attack on Peshawar Imambargah

–President, PM, Info Minister, others strongly condemn blast in Peshawar

Peshawar blast a conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan: Interior Minister

–Allama Naqvi announces 3-day mourning, countrywide protest

Peshawar blast a ‘suicide bomb attack’, says SSP

PESHAWARAt least 56 people including the Imam of the mosque and a policeman were martyred and over 60 injured in a gun-and-bomb attack on an imambargah during Juma congregation in Kucha Risaldar Qissa Khawani Bazar Peshawar on Friday.

According to police, the blast occurred inside Jamia Mosque located at Kocha – e – Rasladar Chowk in Qisa Khwani Bazar during Friday prayers, leaving at least 56 people dead, the spokesperson of Lady Reading Hospital confirmed.

Rescue 1122 officials said rescue activities started soon after the blast and the injured had been rushed to Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital.

“We have declared an emergency at the hospitals,” said Muhammad Asim Khan, a spokesman for Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, confirming the death toll.

The explosion blew out the windows of nearby buildings, and frantic rescuers were seen ferrying the dead and wounded from the scene.

Police and security teams cordoned off the area and started to collect evidence besides declaring the state of emergency.

Peshawar SSP Operations Haroon Al-Rasheed said that the blast appeared to be a suicide one but confirmation will come after investigation. “There were two security personnel deputed at the entrance of the imambargah. One of them died during the exchange of fire while the other is seriously injured.”

CCPO Peshawar Muhammad Ijaz Khan said before the explosion two armed terrorists tried to force their way into the mosque but the policemen deployed there challenged them. In the ensuing gun-battle, one police officer was martyred while another was injured.

Peshawar Capital City Police Officer Ijaz Khan said that two terrorists attempted to enter the Imambargah and also fired shots at policemen on duty. “A policeman was martyred in their firing while another sustained critical injuries,” he said and added that the bomb exploded in the mosque after attack on the police officials.

He said that the police high-ups had reached the site of the blast, adding that evidence had also been collected from there. “It is too early to say anything about motive behind the blast. Media will be informed about latest developments,” he added.

Local police official Waheed Khan said the explosion occurred as worshippers had gathered in the Kucha Risaldar mosque in Peshawar’s old city for Friday prayers.

Ambulances rushed through congested narrow streets carrying the wounded to Lady Reading Hospital, where doctors worked feverishly. “10 injured are in critical condition,” according to a hospital spokesperson.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but both the Islamic State group and a TTP had carried out similar attacks in the past. Witnesses said the blast happened during the Friday prayers.

Shayan Haider, a witness, had been preparing to enter the mosque when a powerful explosion threw him to the street. “I opened my eyes and there was dust and bodies everywhere,” he said.

At the Lady Reading Hospital Emergency department, there was chaos as doctors struggled to move the many wounded into operating theatres.

President, Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid and other have strongly condemned the blast in Peshawar.

In their separate messages, the president and the prime minister expressed grief and sorrow over loss of precious lives. They also extended condolences to the families of the deceased.

Meanwhile, the prime minister ordered an inquiry into the incident and directed the concerned to provide immediate medical aid to injured people.

Taking notice of the deadly suicide blast inside a mosque, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has sought report from the chief secretary and Inspector General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police.

In a tweet, the Interior Minister strongly condemned the terrorist attack and expressed sorrow over the loss of innocent lives.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has also condemned the blast in Peshawar.

“In the past, we have effectively tackled such conspiracies, and now too by the grace of Allah Almighty, the enemies of Pakistan will fail,” the minister said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Fawad strongly condemned the blast and expressed grief over the loss of precious lives in the tragic incident. He prayed for the departed souls and the early recovery of the injured.

The minister said the investigation into the incident was being carried out, following which its details would be made public.

Sheikh Rashid termed the incident “a conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan at a time when an international cricket team is visiting the country.”

Former president Asif Ali Zardari also vehemently condemned the bomb blast in Peshawar’s mosque and said: “Had the terrorists’ nurseries been eliminated, this incident would not have taken place.”

He added that terrorists were the enemies of the country and the nation, and they were needed to be crushed as an enemy.

He prayed for early recovery of the injured in the blast and stressed the need for implementing the National Action Plan in letter and spirit. He also sought stern action against the terrorists involved in the bomb blast and their facilitators.

Meanwhile, in the wake of huge Peshawar bomb blast, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Friday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to brief him on the security situation.

The meeting was held at PM House in Islamabad. PM Imran was apprised of the matters related to security issues by the Interior Minister. The premier directed the Interior Minister to ensure law and order in the country.

Besides discussing the security issues, both the premier and the interior minister also discussed the ongoing political situation in the country.

On the other hand, the head of Shia Ulema Council (formerly known as Tehrik-e-Jafaria of Pakistan, Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi on Friday condemned the bomb blast that ripped through an Imambargah in Peshawar that killed as many as 40 people and announced a three-day mourning.

Besides announcing the three-day mourning, the Shia Ulema Council leader also announced a nationwide protest on Sunday.

Allama Naqvi while strongly condemning the bomb attack, lashed out at the government saying that the rulers seemed to have completely failed to provide security to the citizens.

Meanwhile, speaking to the media, Senior Superintendent of Police Operations Haroon Rasheed said that a lone suicide bomber is responsible for today’s deadly attack at a mosque in Peshawar’s Qisa Khwani Bazar.

He termed the blast a suicide bomb attack. He said the attacker was alone, and fired shots at the police personnel deployed at the mosque before detonating his charge.

The two cops were martyred as a result of firing, the police officer said.

Earlier, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed condemned the Peshawar mosque blast and said there was no prior threat alert issued for Peshawar. Anti-state elements want to play havoc with the country’s peace, he claimed.

Efforts are on to destabilize Pakistan under a well-thought conspiracy, the minister said.

At least 30 people were martyred and more than 50 others sustained injuries when a blast ripped through a mosque located in Peshawar’s Qisa Khwani Bazar this afternoon. TF REPORT

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