KALAYA: At least 34 people lost their lives and as many as were injured in a suicide blast in busy Kalaya Bazaar of Orakzai tribal district in northern Pakistan on Friday, officials said.
Medical Superintendent of Kohat District Hospital Dr Nawab Ali said that they received several dead bodies and injured, some of them in critical condition.
Commissioner Kohat division Mutahir Zeb told media a motorcyclist blew himself up in Jumma Bazaar (Friday Bazaar) in front of a Madrassa in the morning when a large number of people were busy in shopping. Three Hindu shopkeepers who were identified as Saran Chand Laal, his son Mahan Laal, and a close relative Mathak Laal were also among the dead.
The security and rescue personnel reached the site of the blast and shifted the bodies and injured to hospital. Sources said the condition of some of the injured was critical and the death toll might increase. Some of the critically injured people were shifted to Kohat for treatment. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.
Initially it was suggested by local administration that explosive material was placed inside a vehicle loaded with vegetable that exploded in front of a Madrassa and mosque where a large number of people come to offer Jumma prayer. However, later on the Commissioner Kohat division who oversees the administration of Orakzai tribal district termed the blast as suicide.
Kalaya is popular Friday bazaar in the district wherein people from far flung areas and adjoining tribal districts of Khyber and Kurram also visit to buy daily items. Members from minority communities such as Sikhs and Hindu run shops of flour and herbal medicines in the market.
Funeral prayers of seven victims of the blast were collectively offered in Kalaya soon after the Friday prayers. The area is mainly inhabited by Shaia Muslims. Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen, a representative body of Shia Muslims while condemning the terrorist act gave a call of protest against it in Peshawar in the evening. Civil and military leadership of Pakistan strongly condemned the attack and vowed to bring the culprits to the task.
Protests were staged throughout tribal areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa following the blast. Political leaders, ulema and tribal elders demanded effective strategy against terrorism and compensation package for the deceased.
Some people gathered outside Peshawar Press Club and staged a protest demonstration against the security failure that led to martyrdom of 34 innocent people.
Another protest was staged at Kurram tribal district wherein protestors demanded a thorough investigation of the blast.