Govt employees’ bus blast kills 16, hurt 55

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PM, others condemn terror act

Tariq Saeed

Peshawar—Despite the so-called foolproof and enhanced security measures by police and security forces, the heartless terrorists once again managed to bath the provincial metropolis into blood by carrying out a deadly explosion targeting a bus carrying government employees leaving at least 16 people dead and 55 others seriously wounded on Wednesday morning. Condition of the wounded in City’s major hospital was described as precarious by the doctors.
The bus targeted on a busiest road in the Cantonment area was meant for transporting employees of various departments including those from Passport and NADRA offices as well as Civil Secretariat from Dargai and other small towns to Peshawar.
The police0 and the official sources said a public transport bus, hired to carry employees of various government departments on daily basis, left Dargai, Malakand agency Wednesday morning picking up people from various small towns on its way to Peshawar.
There were around 50 people onboard when the bus reached near Sonehri Masjid in the busiest cantonment area of Peshawar, was blasted through an Improvised Explosives Device (IED) believed to be planted under one of the seats.
The blast was so powerful that it made the bus skid around 40 feet hitting many other vehicles on the road.
Within almost 100-metre radius of the blast site FC Headquarters, Police Station, West Cant, Cantonment Hospital and other offices.
The rescue teams and law enforcers immediately rushed to the site of blast and shifted the victims first to Cantonment General Hospital, situated at a few yards away, and later to the Lady Reading Hospital as emergency was declared in the City’s main hospitals.
The doctors pronounced 12 people dead while four more succumbed to their injuries later taking the death toll to 16. More than 55 people are in hospital with condition of four stated to be critical.
“The bus was carrying government employees from Mardan to their offices in Hayatabad that include NADRA, Passport and PDA offices.” The officials said adding that the explosive material was planted under one of the seats. The provincial Minister for Information said though it was not clear if the explosive material was planted at the first destination or by someone getting aboard the vehicle on its way to Peshawar yet the explosion was caused by a radio-controlled device.
“The blast was caused by explosive material planted inside the bus,” Superintendent of Police Cantonment Muhammad Kashif said while the DIG in charge Bomb Disposal Squad Shafqat Malik said the explosive material weighed between six and eight kilogram.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani confirmed the number of casualties, saying that investigation was underway to determine security flaws adding the bomb attack might be a backlash of Zarb-e-Azb operation.
SSP Operation, Abbas Marwat told media that the blast occurred through a time device weighing eight-kilogram and planted underneath a seat, near the toolbox adding further investigation will take place when the driver of the bus, who is in a critical condition, recovers, however, praised his gallantry saying not caring about his injuries the driver drove the bus to a police station where rescue services reached easily.
This is the third time a passenger bus carrying government servants was attacked. In June 2012 a bus carrying government employees blew up in Gul Bela area near Charsadda leaving 18 people dead and many others seriously injured. After one year another bus carrying government employees including officers and females was targeted in the same Gul Bela area that resulted in 17 government servants mostly serving in the civil secretariat.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan and Federal interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and others have in strong words condemned the bomb blast on Wednesday and expressed their deep sense of shock and sorrow over the loss of precious innocent lives. Chairman PTI Imran Khan stressed that exemplary punishment should be given to the culprits and all political forces should devise common strategy to frustrate the nefarious designs of the terrorists.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra in a statement termed the bomb blast as a cowardly act of terror. Governor said such terrorist attacks could not deter the national resolve to eliminate the wave of militancy and menace of terrorism. The Governor said, those who play with innocent lives deserve no leniency and will be brought to court of justice at any cost. He said that the Pakistani nation stand united with military in the war against terror. He said the operation against terrorists to curb the wave of militancy and terrorism will continue till the elimination of last terrorist.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information and Higher Education, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani strongly condemned the attack in Peshawar and termed it cowardly act of anti-state elements. He expressed grief over loss of precious lives as a result of bomb blast in a passenger bus and sympathized with the bereaved families. Talking to media at the site of the blast, he said such desperate terrorists attack cannot shake resolve of the government to wipe out terrorism, adding terrorists have no religion and they were just enemies of humanity. He further said, KP was soft target for terrorists as it was adjacent to tribal areas and demanded the federal government to return FC services to the Provincial Government enabling it to beef up security.
Chief Minister KP Pervez Khattak also strongly condemned the incident and expressed his deepest grief on the loss of precious lives. He also inquired about the health of victims of Peshawar Saddar bomb blast at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar and directed the hospital administration to provide efficient medical facilities to the injured.

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