22 die as suicide bomber hits Tableeghi Markaz in Mingora
11 January, 2013
MINGORA: Twenty-two members of the Tableeghi Jamaat were killed and more than 60 injured in a blast inside the Tableeghi Markaz in Swat Valley on Thursday, police and local residents said.
Some police officials initially claimed that the blast was caused by a gas cylinder but Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Malakand Akhtar Hayat later said it was a terrorist act.
The police said the blast took place inside the main Tableeghi Markaz located on the Takhta Band Road in Mingora city, the headquarters of Swat district.
Several members of the Tableeghi Jamaat said they believed it was a suicide attack. They said hundreds of worshippers had gathered in Tableeghi Markaz for Shab-e-Juma (Thursday night). They said it was a huge blast and there was no way it could be a cylinder explosion.
The doctors at the Saidu Sharif Hospital said more than 70 injured were brought to the hospital.Some of the dead included Aman Khan, Fazal Wahab, Fazal Khaliq, Lal Muhammad Khan, Shah Zaib, Ziauddin, Bakht Buland, Afzal Khan, Bakht Khan, Saifur Rehman, Shahi Rehman (ASI), Hazrat Rehman, Alamgir and Hijrat Alam.
"The death toll may go up as some of the injured are in a critical condition. It doesn't seem to be a gas cylinder blast as there were no burn injuries on the victims brought to us," a doctor said on condition of anonymity.
Some members of Tableeghi Jamaat said it was a suicide attack. "There was no cylinder in the basement. Gas cylinder does not kill so many people," stated one of the injured, Liaquat Khan.
Another member of the group Nisar Khan also challenged the police claim and said there were no gas cylinder on the premises of the building. They said some of the people died of their critical injuries as they could not be shifted to hospital in time.
They also complained of lack of vehicles for transportation of the injured people to the hospital.The district administration and local police initially tried to downplay impact of the blast and termed it a gas cylinder blast.
When reached by our sources, Swat Deputy Commissioner Kamran Rahman said that it was a terrorist act but did not agree to confirm that it was a suicide attack. "There is possibility of terrorism in this act but the police and Pakistan Army are jointly investigating to determine the nature of the blast," the official said.
It was after a long time that the people of Swat experienced such a huge bloodshed in the valley.Meanwhile, the Pakistani Taliban condemned the blast and termed it an act of the enemies of Islam and Muslims.
"No one can even imagine carrying out such an act and kill members of the Tableeghi Jamaat. We are so sad over the killing of innocent people in the Markaz and assure them that we will try our level best to trace those behind this cowardice act and will give them exemplary punishment," TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said.