PESHAWAR: At least 31 people including three Sikhs were killed and more than 40 others injured when a powerful bomb blast ripped through a busy market outside a religious seminary in Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Friday, officials said.
The explosive material was planted in a bike in the Friday Market (Juma Bazar) near an Imambargah, a Shia religious place, in Orakzai tribal district’s Kalaya area, bordering Afghanistan.
People were buying warm clothes when the bomb went off, officials said. At least 31 people were killed while more than 40 others injured, district administration officials as saying.
“Three Sikh traders and three children were also among the dead in the Orakzai blast,” Deputy Commissioner of Orakzai Tribal district Khalid Iqbal stated.
Officials said that most of the victims were minority Shia Muslims, who in the past were also targeted in the area.
“Three children were among those killed. The remote-controlled bomb was attached to a motorcycle,” officials said.
The area has been cordoned off and investigation into the incident is underway. An emergency has been declared in the region’s hospitals to handle the situation.
Prime Minister Imran Khan strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Orakzai tribal area and said: “My prayers go to the victims & their families”. “Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind that we will crush the terrorists, whatever it takes,” he said in a tweet.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari blamed the US failure in Afghanistan for the attack and warned Pakistan to be prepared for more such incidents. She condemned the horrific terror attack.
“As the US fails in Afghanistan, Pakistan should be prepared for fallout and we must ensure greater security for our tribal areas especially protection of our people,” she tweeted.
No group claimed responsibility of the attack but the Taliban militants often carry out such attacks. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police are on high alert following the Orakzai blast and a separate attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi on Friday morning.
“Our enemies are not happy with peace in the province,” provincial Chief Minister Mehmood Khan said after the attack.
It was the second attack on Friday as security forces foiled a bid by militants to enter the Chinese consulate in Karachi and killed three attackers.
In 2011, 30 people including 10 cops, were killed and over 50 injured when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden van into the building of the Communication and Works Department. Orakzai, a terror hotbed, is one of the seven semi-autonomous tribal regions of Pakistan which has a porus border with Afghanistan.