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Rediff.com  » News » 3 Sikhs among 32 killed in blast in Pak's northwest

3 Sikhs among 32 killed in blast in Pak's northwest

Last updated on: November 23, 2018 23:54 IST

Photograph: Fayaz Aziz/Reuters

At least 32 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.

According to initial investigation, an improvised explosive device was planted in a bike that was used for transporting vegetables to the popular Friday Market (Juma Bazar) near an imambargah, a Shia religious place, in Orakzai tribal district's Kalaya area, bordering Afghanistan.

"This is a Friday bazaar, where hundreds of people had gathered for groceries," Deputy Commissioner Khalid Iqbal said.

"The ground is then used for Friday prayers as well," he added.

At least 32 people were killed while more than 40 others injured, Dawn news quoted 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 told PTI.

The minority Sikh community in the area was previously displaced by the Taliban that controlled the region prior to the military operation in 2010, Samaa TV reported.

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.

"I was buying vegetables at a distance from bomb site," Karam Khan, who accompanied an injured person to the hospital in Kohat, said.

"There was a huge explosion and I woke up with blood splashed all over the place and there were body parts everywhere," he said about the gory scene.

The area has been cordoned off and investigation into the incident is under way.

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 porous border with Afghanistan.

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