Dozens killed in a political rally in Pakistan, ISIS behind attack, says Police
Police in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said on Monday that an initial probe has suggested that the banned terrorist group ISIS is behind the suicide attack
A powerful blast triggered by a suicide bomber killed at least 44 people and injured nearly 100 others on Sunday at a rally of a hardline Islamic party in a restive tribal district of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.
The explosion took place at 4 pm at the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) workers' convention in Khar, the capital of Bajaur tribal district.
At least 44 people were killed and nearly 100 injured in the blast, police sources said.
Rescue workers said they feared the number of casualties would rise.Over 500 people were attending the convention when the blast occurred.
DIG police Malakand Range Nasir Mehmud Satti said the initial investigation revealed it was a suicide blast. However, evidence is being collected to determine the nature of the blast.
Police in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said on Monday that an initial probe has suggested that the banned terrorist group ISIS is behind the suicide attack.
"We are still investigating and gathering information on the Bajaur blast. The Initial probe shows that banned outfit Daesh (ISIS) was involved," Geo News quoted police officials as saying.
An official of the Bomb Disposal Unit said the initial investigation report confirmed it was a suicide blast in which 12 kg explosives were used. An official of the Bomb Disposal Unit said the initial investigation report confirmed it was a suicide blast in which 12 kg explosives were used.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast at the JUI-F convention. He said terrorists targeted those who advocated the cause of Islam, the Holy Quran and Pakistan.
“Terrorists are enemies of Pakistan and they will be eliminated,” he said in a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Elements involved in the incident would be meted out with strict punishment, he said.
He also sought a report of the incident from Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman demanded Prime Minister Sharif and the province's caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan to investigate the incident.
He also urged the party workers to reach the hospital and donate blood.
"JUI workers should remain peaceful and federal and provincial governments should provide the best treatment to the injured," said Fazl.
Police said that the injured have been shifted to a nearby hospital. The condition of many injured people was stated to be critical.
An emergency has been declared in the hospitals of Bajaur and adjoining areas where most of the injured were taken. The critically injured have been transported from Bajaur to hospitals in the provincial capital Peshawar by military helicopters.
Bajaur District Health Officer Dr Faisal Kamal said more than 150 injured people had been brought to the Bajaur District Headquarters Hospital.
The US on Sunday extended its deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured in the suicide blast and vowed its support for Pakistan's efforts in combating terrorism.
"We strongly condemn this heinous act of violence, which resulted in the loss of innocent lives and caused harm to many others. Such acts of terror have no place in a peaceful and democratic society. We stand in solidarity with the people of Pakistan during this difficult time," the US embassy said in a statement.
"We reiterate our commitment to supporting Pakistan's efforts in combating terrorism and ensuring the safety and security of its citizens," the statement said.