Suicide attack at Iranian consulate in Peshawar kills two

Published February 24, 2014
Security personnel stand guard outside the Iranian consulate following a suicide bomb attack in Peshawar on February on February 24, 2014. – AFP Photo
Security personnel stand guard outside the Iranian consulate following a suicide bomb attack in Peshawar on February on February 24, 2014. – AFP Photo
Mast Gul (left) is seen with Mufti Hassan Swati in this file photo
Mast Gul (left) is seen with Mufti Hassan Swati in this file photo

PESHAWAR: A spokesman for militant commander Mast Gul, once acclaimed in Pakistan for his role fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, has claimed responsibility of a suicide attack at Iranian consulate in Peshawar which killed two paramilitary soldiers and wounded ten others on Monday.

“We sent a suicide bomber to target the Iranian consulate and Iranians inside the building,” the spokesman told Reuters.

“They unfortunately remained safe. We will continue to target Iranian installations and the Shia community everywhere,” he added.

The bombing took place in the up-market University Town area of the northwestern city of Pakistan, where many non-government organisations (NGOs) are also based.

Police said a suspicious vehicle stopped near a security checkpost near the Iranian consul-general’s office, following which a blast was witnessed.

“We have two bodies of paramilitary soldiers and ten wounded have been admitted to hospital,” Farhad Khan, a spokesman for Khyber Teaching Hospital where the casualties were taken told AFP.

A senior police official, Mohammad Ejaz Ahmed, said it appeared to be a suicide bombing.

Confirming the incident and casualties, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Shaukat Yousafzai told reporters that Iranian consulate was the apparent target of the attackers.

Meanwhile, Iran's foreign ministry strongly condemned the bombing in a statement, the state broadcaster reported.

Its spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham called for “close cooperation” of regional countries to combat the “spread of terror acts and extremism, particularly (attacks) against diplomatic missions.”

Iran is Pakistan's predominantly Shia Muslim neighbour to the west. Sunni militants frequently attack Shia targets and mosques in Pakistan.

Pakistani Shia pilgrims are often attacked as they travel across the country to visit holy sites in Iran.

The attack on the Iranian consulate came as the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tries to engage the Taliban in peace talks. Negotiations broke down this month after a string of attacks and counter-attacks by both sides.

Mast Gul, also known as Haroon Khan is a leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen who had risen to fame following a gun battle with Indian security forces and his dramatic escape from Charrar-i-Sharif in Indian-held Kashmir in 1995. He hails from Sadda in Kurram tribal region.

He was given a hero’s welcome by the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) which showcased him at public meetings but later distanced itself from him after finding him to be violating the organisation’s discipline.

The 47-year-old militant survived an ambush near Peshawar in August 2003 and little was known about his whereabouts since then.

Earlier this month, Pakistan entered into talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) aimed at ending their seven-year insurgency.

But the militant group continued carrying out attacks on a near-daily basis, and the dialogue was suspended last week after the insurgents claimed they had executed 23 kidnapped soldiers in a northwestern tribal region.

Since then the air force has been carrying out attacks in the volatile tribal regions which border Afghanistan, killing dozens.

Opinion

Editorial

The whole truth
28 Sep, 2022

The whole truth

THE war on truth has never been more relentless than it is today. Authoritarianism is on the rise and purveyors of...
Real-world trolls
Updated 28 Sep, 2022

Real-world trolls

It's reprehensible how PTI supporters now seem convinced that politicians from opposing camps aren't entitled to basic dignity.
Islamabad wildlife
28 Sep, 2022

Islamabad wildlife

PRESERVING biodiversity is low on the list of priorities of both state and society. However, successful attempts at...
Noon leaks
Updated 27 Sep, 2022

Noon leaks

PMO audio leaks are a national security emergency that ought to be investigated at the highest level.
Cipher probe offer
27 Sep, 2022

Cipher probe offer

CONSIDERING the toxic political polarisation in the country, former prime minister Imran Khan’s suggestion that ...
Delaying Doha plans
27 Sep, 2022

Delaying Doha plans

WHEN Doha announced its intention to spend $3bn in different commercial and investment sectors of Pakistan around a...