September 27, 2023

54 Killed; Lifeless bodies scattered on the ground while people cried out for help

Bajaur suicide attack draws condemnation from across Muslim world,

ISLAMABAD_(AFP/Webdesk)_Blood-stained chairs, scattered ball bearings and shoes shed by the dead, wounded and panicked bore testimony Monday to the carnage caused by a suicide bombing at a Pakistan political event.

At least 54 people were killed and more than 100 wounded on Sunday when a blast ripped through a gathering of Islamic Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) party members in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The marquee hoisted in the town of Khar lay mangled and charred the morning after the explosion, partly collapsed onto blood-soaked carpets with around 400 upended red chairs strewn about.

“Upon arriving at the scene, I was confronted with a devastating sight,” Khar resident Fazal Aman, 29, told AFP on Monday.

“Lifeless bodies scattered on the ground while people cried out for help.”

Party paraphernalia, including hats and scarves in JUI-F’s black-and-white branding, were abandoned and trampled into the dusty ground, some flecked with dried blood.

The first funerals for the victims got underway on Monday, including for a pair of cousins aged 16 and 17 where young boys wept by coffins.

“These two were very serious and down-to-earth individuals in our family,” said 24-year-old shopkeeper Najeeb Ullah. “This is a great injustice on our land.”

Remnants of human flesh and hair could be seen as far as 30 metres (100 feet) from a shattered stage, the apparent epicentre of the blast near Khar’s main bazaar.

Gulistan Khan, a 40-year-old farmer being treated at a nearby hospital, said he was in the third row when the bomb detonated as local JUI-F leaders arrived to crowds chanting slogans.

“I was thrown backwards as if lifted off the ground,” he said.

“The blast was powerful. Flames coming out were very high so I couldn’t see anything.”

A mound of about 40 sandals and shoes had been piled in the shade behind a cordon of yellow police tape as zebra-striped JUI-F flags fluttered in the breeze.

Investigators in rubber gloves and facemasks picked through the scene on Monday morning, one using a trowel to scoop up a sample from a dark patch on the floor of the stage.

The site was swarmed by security forces carrying assault rifles and surrounding roads were peppered with police checkpoints.

Regional counter-terrorism deputy inspector general Sohail Khalid told AFP the bomber used around 40 kilograms (90 pounds) of explosives, bound up with ball bearings to cause maximum carnage.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but the local chapter of the Islamic State group has recently targeted JUI-F, a key government coalition partner led by a firebrand cleric.

While,

The suicide attack that took place in Bajaur on Sunday, which killed around 47 people and left over 200 injured, has drawn strong condemnations from across the Muslim world.

The leadership of the Muslim nations as well as the heads of the Muslim world bodies condemned the heinous crime and sympathised with the bereaved families.

At least 44 people were killed in a suicide blast at a Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) workers’ convention in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) Bajaur district on Sunday. The explosion occurred when more than 400 JUI-F members and supporters gathered under a tent in the town of Khar, near the border with Afghanistan.

Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha, in a statement, condemned the explosion in the strongest terms.

He offered his sincere condolences to the victims’ families and to the government and people of Pakistan wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.

The secretary-general reaffirmed the OIC’s solidarity with Pakistan in its efforts to combat extremism and terrorism.

In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry denounced the attack and reaffirmed the Kingdom’s rejection of violence and terrorism anywhere in the world, expressing that the Kingdom stood in full solidarity with Pakistan and its people.

The ministry offered condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, the government, and the people of Pakistan, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Jassim Muhammad Al-Budaiwi, also condemned the bombing and said that the position of the Cooperation Council was firm.

He said the Council rejected all forms of violence, extremism and terrorism, which aimed to destabilize security and stability and were inconsistent with human values ​​and principles.

Similarly, in a statement, the UAE foreign ministry also strongly condemned the terrorist attack and reiterated its permanent rejection of all forms of violence and terrorism aimed at undermining security and stability in contravention of human values and principles.

The UAE ministry also expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the Pakistani government and people.

The State of Qatar also expressed its strong condemnation and denunciation of the explosion.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated Qatar’s firm position on rejecting violence and terrorism, regardless of the motives and reasons.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani strongly condemned the attack and offered condolences on behalf of the government and the people of Iran to the government and people of Pakistan.

Besides Kuwait, the state of Egypt also condemned the bombing and “renewed its firm stance toward its categorical rejection of all forms of violence.

“Egypt, government and people, expressed their sincere condolences and sympathy to the government and people of brotherly Pakistan in this painful affliction, and to the families of the victims, wishing a speedy recovery for all the injured,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said.