PESHAWAR: At least 19 people were killed and 42 others injured when a bomb exploded on a bus carrying government employees on Peshawar’s Charsadda Road, DawnNews reported.
Peshawar SSP (operations) Najeeb-ur-Rehman said the bomb planted in the rear portion of the bus went off when it reached Gulbela area, about 15km northwest of Peshawar.
The blast damaged a number of nearby shops and doors and windows of several buildings. Some people working in nearby fields were hit by shrapnels.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IG Nasir Durrani told reporters that the bus was taking employees of civil secretariat to their villages in Charsadda district and was targeted by a remotely-detonated bomb.
Durrani further said that it was a planned sabotage activity and the police was assessing the situation.
Bomb Disposal Unit chief AIG Shafqat Malik said the high quality explosives weighing 12 to 15 kilograms had been packed in a bag.
Lady Reading Hospital’s spokesperson Syed Jamil Shah said that 10 bodies and 27 injured had been brought to the hospital where two of the injured died.
The rest of the bodies and the injured were taken to the District Headquarters Hospital in Charsadda. A woman was among the dead. Four of the injured were in critical condition.
Eyewitness said the blast was so powerful it threw victims' bodies clear of the vehicle and onto the roadside.
“The sound of the blast is still ringing in my head, I cannot explain it in words,” Lal Zada, 40, a government employee whose right leg was severely wounded, told AFP.
Lal Zada lost his brother-in-law, also a government employee in the blast.
“All of a sudden, there was a huge explosion. The bus shattered and something hit me in my leg and I fell to the floor. It was horrible,” he said.
Footage showed the back of the bus reduced to a tangle of twisted metal by the force of the explosion.
Horrific scenes were seen in Peshawar's main Lady Reading hospital.
The injured screamed for help in the emergency unit while doctors and medics were seen rushing in and outside the wards, providing medical treatment and wheeling the critically injured to the operating theatre.
The target was government employees, Sahibzada Mohammad Anis, the commissioner of Peshawar, told AFP. The bus was heading to the town of Charsadda when the bomb went off.
Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, lies on the edge of Pakistan's tribal areas, labelled by Washington as the main sanctuary for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the country. The city has seen frequent attacks by militants in the past few years, with targets ranging from civilians to policemen and other law enforcement personnel.
— With additional reporting by Zahir Shah Sherazi