20 killed in two Pakistan bomb attacks

20 killed in two Pakistan bomb attacks

TTP condemns blasts in Peshawar and Quetta claimed by Ahrar-ul-Hind group

By Afzal Khan

Published: Sat 15 Mar 2014, 11:45 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:38 AM

Police officers and volunteers at the site of the blast in Peshawar. — AP

At least 20 people were killed and over dozens injured in two blasts in the provincial capitals of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan on Friday. Nine were killed near Peshawar and 11 in Quetta.

The bloody day also marked the return from North Waziristan of a three-member sub-committee of the panel of negotiators nominated by the Tehreek-i-Taleban Pakistan (TTP) for consultation with its Political Shura.

At least 11 people were killed and 40 others, including women and children, were injured in the blast at Prince Road near Science College Chowk in Quetta. Earlier nine were killed in a suicide attack targeting a police armoured personnel carrier in the suburban Sarband Road near Peshawar.

Fire erupted at the site of the blast in Quetta that smashed windows of nearby buildings. Three vehicles were also destroyed.

Police said the bomb was planted in a cycle and the target was a Frontier Corps (FC) vehicle.

According to Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) more than 5kg of explosive material was used in the blast and it was detonated with a time device. The attacks dashed hopes of a lasting peace deal with insurgents fighting against the government.

In Peshawar, a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of a police vehicle killing at least nine bystanders, including a woman and a child, police said.

In Quetta, in the unruly province of Balochistan, at least 11 people were killed in bomb blast near a college in the city centre, police said.

An increasingly active Taleban splinter group, Ahrar-ul-Hind, or ‘Liberators of India’ — a name referring to the whole of the subcontinent — claimed responsibility for the attacks.

“We claim both Peshawar and Quetta attacks,” their chief, Umar Qasmi, said. “We don’t abide by these talks and will continue to stage attacks.”

The leadership of the Tehrik-i-Taleban Pakistan (TTP), which is keen on the peace talks, immediately distanced itself from the Friday attacks.

“The TTP strongly condemns the Peshawar and Quetta blasts,” said TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid. “We have no connection to these attacks because we are observing a ceasefire.”

The attacks took place as the government tries to engage Taleban militants in talks to hammer out a permanent ceasefire agreement and end years of violence.

But a series of attacks and counter-attacks by insurgents and government forces since the start of the year has dampened expectations that peace talks could ever yield any result.

Peshawar police chief Faisal Kamran said the target of the attack was an armoured personnel carrier. “The police were deployed in the armoured personnel carrier to provide security during Friday prayers outside mosques when it came under attack,” he said. “The policemen luckily remained safe but innocent people were killed and injured.”

Jamil Shah, a spokesman for the city’s biggest hospital, said at least 30 were injured. Senior police officer Mohammed Faisal said most of the dead were civilians but many police officers were among the wounded.

Faisal said that police had recently stepped up patrolling in the area due to threats from militants from the nearby Khyber tribal region.


(With inputs from agencies)

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