- Suicide bombing kills 43 and injures over 130.
- Police say gathering data on suicide bomber.
- Three suspects taken into custody by police.
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police said Monday an initial probe suggested that the terrorist organisation Daesh is behind the suicide attack on Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) workers’ convention in Bajaur.
At least 43 people were killed and over 130 injured when a suicide bomber set off explosives at the rally on Sunday in the former tribal area, which borders Afghanistan.
Emergency was declared in the hospitals of Bajaur and adjoining areas where most of the injured were taken, said District Police Officer (DPO) Nazir Khan. The critically injured were transported from Bajaur to hospitals in Peshawar by military helicopters.
“We are still investigating and gathering information on the Bajaur blast. The Initial probe shows that banned outfit Daesh was involved,” the law enforcers said.
The police added they were gathering details about the suicide bomber, while the bomb disposal squad team was collecting evidence from the site. “CTD personnel are busy in collecting other evidence.”
DPO Khan said three suspected people had been taken into custody.
Pakistan has seen a resurgence of attacks by extremists since last year when a ceasefire between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamabad broke down. A mosque bombing in Peshawar killed over 100 people earlier this year.
A report submitted to the UN Security Council recently mentioned that the TTP might be seeking a merger with Al Qaeda to create an umbrella organisation that shelters all militant groups operating in South Asia.
Pakistan has long blamed Afghanistan for not living up to its commitment to ensuring that its soil is not used for terrorism in Islamabad, but cross-border militancy continues.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman demanded that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and KP Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan investigate the incident.
The targeted party is a major ally of the coalition government of PM Shehbaz, which is preparing for national elections to be held in November.
PM Shehbaz condemned the blast, calling it an attack on the democratic process of Pakistan. He vowed that those responsible would be punished.
The top brass of the Pakistan Army has recently said that sanctuaries and liberty of action available to terrorists of proscribed TTP and other groups of that ilk in Afghanistan is one of the major reasons impacting the security of Pakistan.
Terror activities in the country have soared by 79% during the first half of 2023, a statistical report released by the independent think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) showed.