Death toll from Pakistan suicide bombing reaches 93

International Desk Published: 31 January 2023, 09:08 AM | Updated: 31 January 2023, 02:15 PM
Death toll from Pakistan suicide bombing reaches 93
Security personnel and rescue workers prepare to search for the blast victims in the debris of a damaged mosque inside the police headquarters in Peshawar on January 30. — AFP

The death toll from the suicide bombing that rocked the crowded mosque at the Police Lines compound in Peshawar of Pakistan rose to 93, with 221 people wounded, police said Tuesday, reports Geo News.  

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. 

A rescue operation is underway to retrieve bodies from the debris of the mosque, said an official, adding that a search operation is also being carried out. 

The official said that about 17 bodies have been pulled out of the rubble and one injured person. 

Day of mourning

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 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 Geo News.

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.

Suspected bomber's head found: CCPO

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Peshawar Mohammad Aijaz Khan, while speaking to Geo News, said that the blast appears to be a suicide attack and the head of the suspected bomber has also been found at the site.

CCPO Khan said that the exact nature of the blast will be known once the rescue operation concludes. "It is possible that the attacker was already present in the Police Lines before the blast and that he may have used an official vehicle [to enter]," he said.

The city police chief also said that there are offices of over eight departments in Police Lines including Frontier Reserve Police (FRP), Special Security Unit (SSU) and Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).

"About 1,500 to 2,000 police officers visit the Police Lines daily," he highlighted.

'Final verdict will be given after probe'

In an exclusive chat with Geo News, Inspector-General Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Moazzam Jah Ansari 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 being done at the Police Lines with workers coming in and going out every day," he added.

IG Ansari said the CCTV footage is being reviewed and a final verdict will be given after the investigation. He added that the CTD is probing the attack.

The inspector-general also said that the process of identifying the suicide bomber is also underway, adding that the masterminds and the facilitators will be brought to justice.

World offers condolences

The ghastly attack triggered an outpour of reactions from the world. The leaders also affirmed 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 expressed.

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 also 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.