PESHAWAR, Feb 21: One person was killed and 16 others sustained injuries when an improvised explosive device went off at a busy market here on Thursday.
According to sources, the device was packed in a plastic can and put in a bag that was detonated through a remote control. They said that the powerful blast rocked the market of cellular phone sets in the busy commercial area near Hashtnagri. The blast damaged several shops in the vicinity.
Seventeen persons were injured in the blast. They were rushed to Lady Reading Hospital where one of them identified as Qari Hidayatullah succumbed to his injuries after he was operated upon in the evening. Doctors said that he remained unconscious for several hours.
The officials of bomb disposal squad said that about three kilograms of explosives were used in the blast. They said that it was a locally made device. It was third blast in the city during the past one month. A blast had taken place near CD shops at Jalil Kababi Road and another near Bacha Khan Chowk in a police van some time ago. However, no accused has so far been arrested in any of these cases.SP Khalid Hamdani told journalists that terrorists were targeting CD and music shops in Peshawar. He claimed that police had beefed up security by establishing new checkpoints in different areas.
He said that police got information that about 12 would-be suicide bombers were trying to enter Peshawar. Security was put on high alert, he added.
Ismail, the brother of an injured man present at the hospital, told Dawn that he was busy in repairing a cellular phone set when the blast occurred.
Some other eyewitness including Mohammad Sharif and Abdul Wahab said that they had shops in the market.
The injured were identified as Abdul Wahab (25), Attique (23), Bilal Ali (24), Farhan Ali (36), Farman (20), Hassan Malik (22), Hilal Akbar (18), Hayat Khan ( 20), M. Zareef (42), Naseer (30), Sharif (24), Usman (17), Saeedullah (30), Kamran (21), Hidayatullah (25) and Ishfaq (23).
A shopkeeper, pleading anonymity, told this scribe that unidentified Taliban had warned them at least three times by sending them letters to avoid uploading songs as ring tones in the cellular phone sets.
However, people continued uploading songs in their cellular phone sets, he added.
The shopkeeper said that many of his colleagues left the market and switched over to other businesses after receiving threats from Taliban.
The blast also caused severe traffic problems in the area as both the lanes of Faqirabad Road were blocked and motorists were stranded for more than two hours on the main G.T. Road.
After closure of Faqirabad Road, other thoroughfares including Courts Road, Sher Shah Suri Road and Khyber Bazaar Road were flooded with vehicles.
The motorists and commuters faced difficulties owing to traffic jam on the roads.