Death toll from Peshawar blast rises to 100

Javed Aziz Khan
Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

PESHAWAR: Death toll in the suicide attack inside a mosque in Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines reached 100 as the province remained in mourning on the second day after the tragic attack.

The national flag remained at half-mast after the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government announced one day of mourning. An official confirmed that the death toll from the worst attack on police in many years had reached 100 after more bodies were recovered from under the rubble while others succumbed to injuries at the Lady Reading Hospital.

Many wounded were rescued from under the rubble by using heavy machinery as the rescue operation continued for over 24 hours.

The bodies of two Deputy Superintendent of Police Asmat Shah and Arab Nawaz and some more policemen were also recovered.

Funeral prayers of more policemen were offered at the police lines. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali and senior police, army and civil officers attended the funeral.

Many of the bodies and some injured people were pulled out of the debris on Tuesday. Around 53 people were still under treatment at the LRH out of which seven were in the ICU.

Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan told media persons after visiting the blast site earlier that 95 people were martyred and over 220 were wounded in the attack.

The chief minister, while paying tributes to the KP Police, said he had taken up the issue of worsening law and order in the province with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Inspector General of Police Moazzam Jah Ansari on Tuesday visited the blast site and inspected the rescue work. He told the media that around 12 kg explosives were used in the blast and the shockwaves caused most of the damage, bringing down the roof of the mosque. He said an inter-agency joint investigation team would probe the incident. The police chief said initial investigations suggested that explosives were smuggled into the police lines in small quantities at different times. The KP Police chief said a team headed by capital city police officer was investigating the security lapse aspect to find out how the suicide bomber managed to enter the police headquarters. A high-level meeting with IGP in the chair reviewed the law and order situation in KP. All heads of regions and different wings were directed to visit the houses of the martyred and wounded to show their support. They were also directed to provide financial support to the families. Terror struck Peshawar when a suicide bomber blew himself up in central mosque of the Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines on Monday.

The blast took place when around 400 policemen and people from nearby offices were offering the Zuhr prayers.

The explosion was so powerful that a major portion of the mosque caved in, leaving many victims trapped under the debris for hours. The rescuers were busy till Tuesday to remove the debris and pull out the wounded. Some low-ranking policemen on Tuesday demanded through social media that the case must be properly investigated and it should be shown to the department that how the incident happened.

“If proper investigation was not conducted through a JIT, we all over 100,000 cops should quit their jobs as a protest,” claimed a voice note in different official groups.

Security has been put on alert in Peshawar after the attack. The entry and exit points to the city were strengthened and vehicles were checked. Strictest security measures were taken at the entry points to the red zone.

The attack was the biggest on police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the current wave of violence. The attack happened in the police lines named after former capital city police officer Malik Muhammad Saad.

Malik Saad was also martyred along with many others in a suicide attack 16 years ago when the first major attack was carried out in Peshawar in the previous wave of terrorism.

The martyred included DSPs Asmat Shah, Arab Nawaz and sub-inspectors Muhammad Ali, Irfan Khan, Doran Shah, Zahir Shah, Tilawat Shah, prayer leader of the mosque Sahibzada Noor-ul-Amin, a woman living in a nearby quarter Rashida Bibi.

The other deceased included Liaqat Khan, Shehryar Khan, Maqsood Ahmad, Waseem Shah, Gul Sharaf, Hayatullah Khattak, Usman Safi, Amjad, Abdul Wadood, Zubair, Abdul Hameed, Shakil Ahmad, Shahabullah, Atif Mujeeb, Zohaib Khan, Rizwanullah, Khalid Jan, Rafiq, Liaqatullah, Hazrat Umar, Ahmad Khan and some were unknown.

Most of them were policemen while a few civilians came to the mosque from nearby offices and quarters.