30 Jul 2023

Pakistan: 40 Killed, 200 Injured In Blast At Political Rally Of Jamiat Ulema Islam Fazal



Islamabad: Dozens of people were killed after a bomb went off at a political rally in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday.

Rescue officials confirmed at least 40 people were killed in the town of Khar in Bajaur district, a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban.

"We fear the death toll will increase," Rescue Department spokesperson Bilal Faizi said.

Another 200 people were taken to hospital with injuries.


The rally of Jamiat Ulema Islam Fazal (JUI-F), which is part of the ruling coalition, was going on at Khar tehsil of Bajaur.

JUI-F's senior leader Hafiz Hamdullah was supposed to address this rally, but he could not reach here due to some reason. Later in conversation with the media, Hafiz said – About 35 of our workers have been killed in this blast. I condemn this incident. We will not be demoralized by such attacks.

Hafiz further said – Such attacks have been happening in the past as well. They should be thoroughly investigated. We are not even provided any kind of security. We will raise this issue in Parliament.


Images showed bodies strewn around the scene

Images of the incident showed bodies strewn around the scene, and volunteers carrying blood-soaked victims to ambulances.

"There was all dust and smoke around and I was under the some injured people from where I hardly could stand up but only to see chaos and some scattered limbs," one witness told the media.

The bomb exploded inside a packed venue where a rally was being held for the Jamiat Ulema Islam party, known for its links to hard-line Islam.

"It is now an attack on our party. It is an assault on Pakistan, its democracy," Hafiz Hamdullah said, struggling to hold back tears at a press conference in the capital Islamabad.

He said a local leader was among the dead while two national MPs were also wounded in the "savage" bombing.

"A senior leader from the party was due to address the ceremony, but before his arrival a bomb explosion took place," Akhtar Hayat Gandapur, the inspector general of police for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told the media.


No group has claimed responsibility

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the local chapter of the so-called "Islamic State" group has recently carried out attacks against the party.


JUI-F is a hardline Islamist organization

JUI-F is a hardline Islamist organization and has close ties to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Afghan Taliban. Therefore, there is little possibility that the attack in this area would have been carried out by the Taliban.

Jamiat chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman had an important role in holding talks between the Government of Pakistan and the Taliban.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and President Arif Alvi both condemned the attack.


Could be fidayeen attack


According to police, the blast took place at around 4.30 pm. At this time many people were present in the rally. It is believed that the attacker was present only among the party supporters. That's why it is being considered as a fidayeen attack.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazal spoke to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif after the incident and briefed him in detail. The government has also ordered an inquiry into the incident. Fazal told the supporters – You people should immediately reach the hospital and provide blood to the injured.

According to Pakistan People's Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, this attack is another conspiracy to weaken the country. The government can go to any extent to deal with terrorists.

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