28 killed, 150 injured in blast in Pakistan Police Lines mosque
A blast inside a mosque shook Peshawar’s Police Lines area on Monday, with officials saying that at least 28 people were killed and 150 were injured.
Peshawar Commissioner Riaz Mehsood confirmed the casualties, adding that a rescue operation was underway inside the mosque, reports Dawn.
“An emergency has been imposed at hospitals across the city and injured persons are being provided the best medical facilities,” the senior official said.
Meanwhile, Lady Reading Hospital spokesperson Mohammad Asim told Dawn.com that injured persons were still being brought to the medical facility and some of them were in critical condition.
Dawn.com’s correspondent at the blast site said the explosion took place at around 1:40pm as Zuhr prayers were being offered. He said personnel of the police, army and bomb disposal squads were present inside the mosque.
The reporter said a portion of the building had collapsed and several people - especially those standing in the front row during the prayers - were believed to be under it.
Visuals run on television channels showed people gathered around the collapsed wall of the mosque.
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The police have also closed roads leading to the Red Zone.
It is still unclear whether a bomb was planted in the mosque or if it was a suicide attack. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The last major incident of such a nature had taken place in Peshawar last year, when a suicide blast inside a Shia mosque in Kocha Risaldar area claimed 63 lives.
In a statement issued later in the day, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast and said that the attackers behind the incident “have nothing to do with Islam”.
“Terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending Pakistan,” he said.
The premier paid tribute to the martyrs and promised that their sacrifices will not go in vain. “The entire nation is standing united against the menace of terrorism.”
PM Shehbaz also said that a comprehensive strategy will be adopted to counter the deteriorating law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the federal government will help provinces in increasing their anti-terrorism capacity.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while condemning the attack, said that “terrorist incidents before the local and general elections were meaningful”.
چیئرمین پیپلزپارٹی اور وزیر خارجہ بلاول بھٹو زرداری کی پشاور میں خودکش حملے کی مذمت— PPP (@MediaCellPPP) January 30, 2023
ضمنی اور عام انتخابات سے قبل دہشتگردی کے واقعات معنی خیز ہیں، بلاول بھٹو زرداری
دہشتگردوں ،ان کے سرپرستوں اور
سہولت کاروں کے خلاف سخت کاروائی ہوگی ، بلاول بھٹو زرداری @BBhuttoZardari
A tweet by PPP’s media cell quoted Bilawal as saying that strict action will be taken against the terrorists, their patrons and their facilitators.
Bilawal stressed that the National Action Plan was the only solution to the issue of terrorism and promised: “it would be implemented strictly”.
He also called party workers and position-holders to donate their blood to save the lives of the injured.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan also strongly condemned the “terrorist suicide attack” in Peshawar and expressed sympathies with the families of the victims.
Strongly condemn the terrorist suicide attack in police lines mosque Peshawar during prayers. My prayers & condolences go to victims families. It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 30, 2023
“It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism,” he added.
Meanwhile, former human rights minister Shireen Mazari termed the bomber’s “access to a central area of the provincial capital” as another “intel failure”.
“Our police are frontline defenders against terrorists, especially in urban areas and need better resources, including equipment,” she added.
Condemnable suicide attack today in Peshawar police lines mosque. That the bomber could gain access to a central area of the prov capital is sadly another Intel failure. Our police are front line defenders ag terrorists esp in urban areas & need better resources incl equipment.— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) January 30, 2023
Security high-alert in Islamabad
Islamabad Inspector General Dr Akbar Nasir Khan issued directions for a “security high-alert” to be placed in the capital, a tweet by Islamabad Police said.
پشاور میں دھماکہ۔— Islamabad Police (@ICT_Police) January 30, 2023
آئی جی اسلام آباد ڈاکٹر اکبر ناصر خاں نے اسلام آباد میں سکیورٹی ہائی الرٹ کے احکامات جاری کردئیے۔
تمام داخلی و خارجی راستوں پر چیکنگ بڑھا دی گئی۔
سیف سٹی کے ذریعے مانیٹرنگ کی جارہی ہے۔
اہم ناکہ جات اور عمارتوں پر سنائپرز تعینات کر دیے گئے ہیں۔
It said that security at all entry and exit points of the city has been increased and monitoring was being done through the “Safe City” system.
The police added that snipers had been placed at “important points and buildings” and the police were provided with thermal imaging facilities.