PARACHINAR: At least 22 people were killed and dozens others wounded on Sunday in a blast at a used clothes market in Kurram Agency's Parachinar area.
Hospital sources told DawnNews that 55 people were injured as a result of the blast out of which more than 15 victims are in critical condition.
LeJ claims responsibility
A sectarian outfit, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) 'international' wing, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Aalmi (LeJ World) claimed responsibility for the blast.
The organisation's spokesman Ali Abu Sufyan, in an email, claimed that his organisation is behind the blast, warning the people of Parachinar to stop sending their children to take part in the Syrian war.
The market was bustling with people who were out shopping for clothes. As winter season arrives locals throng lunda (used clothes markets) bazaars to buy used and second-hand clothes.
A Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) official told DawnNews that, "It was a timed device bomb. Around 30 to 35 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast."
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor, Sardar Mehtab Abbasi told DawnNews that 18 people had died and 27 others were wounded in the blast. He said that instructions have been passes to shift the 18 victims, who were in critical condition, to Peshawarfor better treatment.
Sardar Mehtab Abbasi further said that he had also ordered for compensation to be paid to the victims within the next two days.
Security forces cordoned off the area as a probe into the blast went under. Security sources said that two suspects have been taken into custody from the blast site.
Earlier, rescue and emergency teams rushed to the blast site and shifted the dead and wounded to District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Parachinar.
An emergency has been imposed at DHQ Parachinar.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif issued condemnation messages against the blast.
Kurram is one of the most sensitive tribal areas as it borders three Afghan provinces and at one point was one of the key routes for militant movement across the border. It has witnessed scores of such attacks and kidnappings for ransom incidents in the past several years.
The agency is adjacent to North Waziristan where Operation Zarb-i-Azb is in progress against the Tehreek-i-Taliban and other insurgent groups. The military had also launched an offensive against militants in 2011.
Parachinar is the administrative headquarters of the agency near the Afghan border.
It is small garrison town developed by the British Army in the foothill of Spin Ghar (White Mountain) in mid-1895. The town total population is about 40,000 comprising people of different tribes, races and faiths.