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Taliban claim responsibility for suicide blast at funeral; 16 dead

Published Mar 12, 2012 02:04am

Security official inspect a damaged vehicle which was destroyed in explosion after explosion at Badhber area in Peshawar.           —PPI Images

PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber blew himself up at a funeral in the suburban Badbher area, killing 16 people and injuring 33 others on Sunday.

A senior police official said Advocate Khushdil Khan, Deputy Speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, appeared to be the target of the attack. The blast took place immediately after he had left the place.

(According to western news agencies, the Darra Adamkhel faction of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for attack. Taliban spokesman Mohammad Afridi said the politician was the target because he had set up a militia to battle against the Taliban.

“These militias are the front lines for the Pakistan army,” the spokesman said.)

SSP (Investigation) Umer Riaz told Dawn that parts of the bomber’s body had been found at the blast site.

Bomb disposal personnel said that 8 to 10kg of explosives had been used in the blast and ball-bearings, batteries and cables of the suicide vest had been found at the site.

Capital City Police Officer Syed Imtiaz Altaf said it was a suicide attack.

Another police officer said the funeral was for the wife of Imdad Khan, a member of the local peace committee.

He said the bomber possibly lived in the locality and reached the place when funeral prayers were being offered.

Those killed in the attack were identified as Zarshad, Khalid Dad, Mir Ahmed, Farman Ali, Khan Shah, Kamran, Raees Khan, Hameed Khan, Syed Afridi, Sana-ur-Rehman, Ahmed Khan, Shahbaz, Iftikhar, Raheemshah, Ameen Khan and Raees Khan.

The deputy speaker said he had escaped miraculously. “I believe in Almighty Allah and am not afraid of attackers. Hundreds of our party men have rendered sacrifices for the sake of the soil,” he said.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has announced a compensation of Rs300,000 for family of each deceased and Rs100,000 for family of each injured.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar and Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti condemned the killing of innocent people. They said terrorists could not put pressure on the government with such inhuman and barbaric acts.

Agencies add: “We are devastated,’’ said Zahir Khan, 32, weeping while lying in a hospital bed. His elder brother Raees Khan died in the attack. He said they were chatting when the bomb went off. ‘’I never knew I was going to lose my brother forever.’’

Khan said.

“Why did you murder my brother? He was so beautiful,” he said.

“This morning we had our breakfast together. My mother will not survive if I show her his body.”

“We lifted the coffin and headed towards the graveyard after the prayers when a huge blast was heard,” Saddam Hussain, 21, described the carnage.

“There were body parts and blood stains. People were crying for help.

“There was no doctor and no ambulance. People who had come to attend the funeral, put the casualties in their cars and rushed to hospital. I myself put one wounded man in a car heading to the hospital.”

“How is attacking a funeral Islamic in any way?” Asfandyar Wali Khan, head of the ANP, told reporters in Islamabad.

“I say that these people aren’t followers of Islam,” he added. “I don’t even consider them human.”