PESHAWAR: A suicide attack targeting a senior military official killed at least five people in a Peshawar Cantonment area on Tuesday.
The suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden vehicle on Sher Shah Suri Road, not far from the Governor House, Frontier Constabulary headquarters, the Cantonment railway station and the Peshawar Press Club.
“The moving vehicle targeted the convoy of Frontier Corps DIG Brigadier Khalid Javaid who narrowly escaped with a few injuries. An FC soldier, a woman and a passerby were killed on the spot,” the Capital City Police Officer of Peshawar, Ijaz Ahmed Khan said. Two others died in hospital.
The blast destroyed three military vehicles, a rickshaw and a motorcycle and damaged several cars on the busy thoroughfare.
Banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claims responsibility for the attack
Part of boundary wall of the railways station and windows of nearby houses and Press Club were also damaged. The blast caused suspension of power supply in the area for several hours.
The CCPO said the law and order situation had been under control in the city for several months, adding that the attack was in reaction to the Zarb-i-Azb operation in North Waziristan.
He said police would further tighten security at the cantonment’s entry points. Cantonment Circle SP Faisal Shehzad said the bomber was driving a white Suzuki car and attacked the FC convoy which was going to Balahisar Fort from Sadar area.
AIG Shafqat Malik, head of the bomb disposal unit, confirmed that it was a suicide attack in which about 45kg explosives had been used.
Artillery shells were also used to add to the impact of the blast.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Mushtaq Ghani said the assault was aimed at destabilising the city, adding that the government would deal with the miscreants with an iron hand.
A witness said the blast was followed by firings by FC personnel.
“We tried to help injured people but were prevented from doing so. In the meantime police and security forces arrived there and forced us to lock the gates of our homes on the inside,” some residents of the area said.
Four of the deceased were identified as FC soldier Zareen Afridi of Bara; Saba Gul, resident of Kotla Mohsin Khan; Tahir Khan of Nowshera and Sufyan of Pandu Chowk, Peshawar. The body of the fifth victim was mutilated beyond recognition.
The injured were taken to the Combined Military Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital.
They included Brigadier Javaid, Sharif, Farid, Amin, Sohail, Zarmash, Jamil Shah, Qaiser, Noor Anwar, Alam Zaib, Imdad, Shakil, Bakht Nawaz, Fazl-i-Subhan, Anwar, Zar Khan, Sajjad Hussain, Rizwanullah, Noor Alam, Mohammad Rizwan, Lal Zada, Inayatullah and Imdadullah.
Six of them, who had suffered multiple injuries and undergone surgery, were said to be in critical condition.
According to AFP, the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack.
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2014