Peshawar - Ten people, including son and nephew of ex-deputy prime minister of Afghanistan, were killed and 70 others wounded when a suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a bus in Peshawar on Monday morning. Security officials said the target was a police mobile van.
Qazi Muhammad Ameen Waqad’s son, Qari Halal, his nephew, Mohammad Idrees, and eight others were killed when the bomber detonated himself near a police patrolling van on a busy University Road during the rush hour. The two Afghans were not the principal targets, said officials in the Afghan Consulate General in Peshawar.
“Our employees were standing at a bus stop when the blast took place,” said Syed Mohammad Ibrahim Khel, the consul general.
Reports say Qari Halal was on his visit to Peshawar to invite Pakistani clerics to an Ulema conference in Kabul. He worked as a business attaché, while Mohammad Idrees had been working with the refugee section of the consulate.
Including three policemen and a teenager, the 70 injured were ferried to Khyber Teaching Hospital, where four of them were stated to be in a critical condition.
Nevertheless, police said Monday’s suicide bombing targeted a top civil servant who heads the city’s administration, Sahibzada Anees. He passed by shortly before the blast in Jehangirabad neighbourhood.
A police official, Mohammad Faisal, said, “The commissioner, who passed just a minute before from University Road, was the target of the bombing, but he escaped unhurt as the bomber missed the target and struck his motorcycle into a passenger bus.”
Police said body parts of the suicide bomber were found at the site and hospital officials confirmed the death toll. Bomb squad officials said the explosives weighed up to six kilograms. SSP (Operations) Imran Shahid told reporters the blast could be a suicide attack, adding that “we are also assessing the CCTV footage”. After the incident, security forces and police cordoned off the area and shifted the dead and the injured to Khyber Teaching Hospital.
Media reports said that Peshawar Commissioner Sahibzada Anees was passing from the same area when the blast took place. However, he appeared to have survived, sources from the commissioner house were quoted as having said.
Witnesses said passengers were boarding a bus for intercity transport, when the bomber hit. University Road is a busy highway connecting Peshawar to Khyber Agency and Hayatabad township.
According to Superintendent of Police Peshawar Cantt Muhammad Faisal, about five to six kilograms of explosives was used in the blast and it was a suicide attack.
KPK caretaker Minister for Information and Public Relations, Mossarat Qadeem, condemned the bombing. She sympathised with the families of the victims and the injured.
KPK Governor, Engineer Shaukatullah, also flayed the terrorist attack and described it a heinous crime. “Such cowardly and inhumane acts have not only been claiming innocent lives but also bringing bad name to the country and the nation. Those behind such attacks deserve to be condemned by all,” he said.