Free Press Journal

Blast claimed by Taliban kills 21 in Pakistan


Peshawar : A powerful explosion on Saturday ripped through a crowded vegetable market in minority Shias dominated Parachinar in northwest Pakistan’s restive Kurram tribal agency, killing at least 25 people and injuring 50 others.

The blast – claimed by Tehrik-i-Taliban – occurred at the market inside Eidgah Bazaar in Parachinar, the administrative headquarters of the agency near the Afghan border.

Citing the political administration in Kurram agency, Geo TV said that at least 25 people were killed in the blast.

However, in a brief statement the military said that 20 people have been killed in the attack. Initial report suggests that explosives kept in a vegetable crate exploded during auction of the vegetables, officials said.

The injured were shifted to Parachinar headquarters hospital where there is a shortage of doctors and medical facilities. At least 10 patients were said to be in critical condition.

A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the improvised explosive device (IED) blast took place at 08:50 AM in the vegetable market.

“Army and FC Quick Response officials have reached the blast site and cordoned off the area. Army helicopters have been flown in for medical evacuation of the injured,” it said.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan condemned the attack and ordered a detailed report regarding the incident. Muttahida Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, a Shia political organisation, announced three days of mourning over the blast.

According to officials, the death toll is expected to rise as the market was crowded due to early morning rush.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Umer Khurasani has claimed responsibility for the blast. He said the blast was to avenge the killing of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Asif Chotu.

Asif, who was on Pakistan’s most wanted terrorist list and carried a bounty of Rs 3,000,000 on his head, was killed along with three aides in an encounter near Lahore on Tuesday.

He was directly involved in killing over 100 citizens of Pakistan in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Indirectly, he was involved in killing of over 200 people.–PTI