PESHAWAR, June 30: At least 18 civilians were killed and 46 injured in a car bomb attack on a convoy of the Frontier Corps in Badbher area on the outskirts of Peshawar on Sunday.
Almost all the victims were poor vendors selling fruits, vegetables and corn cobs while the others were passersby and commuters. The area was littered with parts of human limbs and flesh, vegetables and fruits.
Two FC personnel suffered injuries in the blast.
All the dead and most of the injured were civilians from Badbher and nearby villages of Mashokhel, Mashogagar and Sheikh Mohammadi. No group claimed responsibility for the attack till late in the night.
The dead included three teenage brothers identified as Tariq, 13, Riasat, 16, and Sadararat, 18, sons of Zarmash, a resident of Badbher village, officials at the Lady Reading Hospital said.
Zarmash is a daily wage worker in Saudi Arabia.
The injured were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital.
Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Javed Marwat said initial reports put the death toll at 16, but it could go up because condition of some of the injured was critical. He said police were looking for the culprits in Badbher and nearby villages.
Convoys of security forces have come under frequent attacks on the road linking Peshawar with Kohat in jurisdiction of Badbher and Mattani police stations.
The car which caused the blast was parked in front of the local market near the Badbher police station.
“Around 40kg of explosives was used in the bomb,” Abdul Haq, in-charge of the bomb disposal unit, told journalists at the blast site. He said that four to five mortar shells had been placed inside the car and detonated with a remote control.
Soon after the blast, FC personnel fired in the air which created panic in the area.
Former information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain was the first politician to reach the hospital to inquire after the health of the injured.
Talking to journalists, he expressed concern over the killing of civilians and said: “It is the responsibility of everyone to condemn terrorism and help victims irrespective of whether one is in the government or not.” He said the provincial government headed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had been issuing statements about the need to hold talks with militants but the latter kept on killing innocent civilians.
He said if the government was interested in holding talks it should immediately form a committee and start the process of negotiations. Later, Senior Minister Sikandar Hayat Sherpao also visited the hospital.