CHARSADDA: At least 16 people, six women and two policemen among them, were killed when a bomber detonated his suicide vest in a court compound in Shabqadar town on Monday.
According to police, a policeman tried to stop and search the suicide bomber but he forced his way through the main entrance of the sub-district courts and detonated his vest when another constable pounced on him before he could proceed towards the more crowded family court.
“We would have more casualties had the bomber gone towards the family court,” Deputy Inspector General of Police Saeed Wazir told Dawn.
“Mondays are reserved for court hearings of family disputes, so there were more people there. The bomber either wanted to hit the family court or head towards the bar room where a large number of lawyers were present,” he said. “Our cops demonstrated exceptional bravery and gave away their lives to save others.”
Taliban group claims responsibility for the attack carried out to ‘avenge hanging of Taseer’s killer’
An official said the bomber shot the constable who intercepted him when he tried to shove his way into the premises without being searched.
“The constable, despite having been shot and wounded, managed to get hold of the bomber. Another cop rushed and tried to grab him and that’s when the explosion took place,” Charsadda district police chief Suhail Khalid said.
According to witnesses, the bomber appeared to be about 17 years old.
“There was a big explosion and vehicles parked nearby caught fire,” one of the witnesses said.
The district bar association’s president Mohammad Altaf said the lawyers would observe a day of mourning.
The DIG said 18 policemen and a woman constable were on duty at the courts.
More than 20 people were injured in the explosion.
Jamaatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack. In an email, the group’s spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said the attack was a revenge for the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, a security guard convicted of shooting dead Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.
Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2016