PESHAWAR: At least 81 people, including children, women and a policeman were killed and more than 148 others sustain injuries when twin suicide bombers detonated their vast inside All Saints Church in Kohati Gate, Peshawar. – News updated 9 PST ( 23rd September, 2013 )
The two suicide bomber entered inside the Church at end of religious services around 11:45 am when around 400 worshipers were busy in serving meal among their fellows, the suicide bombers detonated their suicide jackets and killed at least 78 people, including 44 male, 34 female and injuring more then 150, including 25 male, 37 children and 44 female. Soon after the incident the bodies were scattered in the vicinity.
Rescue teams reached to spot bit late after the incident, views of mourning were seen in the Lady Reading Hospital. The deadly attacks mostly claimed lives of children and women. Sheroz, student of 3rd year who lost his mother in attack, said that they were serving rice at the end of services inside the vicinity of church when the blasts took place, adding, that he become unconscious after the blasts. He blamed after the blast rescue teams reached to spot late while the bodies and injured were crying due to pain. He further said that when they were rushed to hospital doctors were also absent and after an hour few doctors came for their treatment. SP City Ismail Kharak confirmed that two attackers opened fire at the security guards deployed at the church’s main gate killing one guard and injuring the other before entering the church premises. The two bombers detonated their explosive vests within an interval of 30 seconds after entering the church.
The KP government announced Rs. 500,000 in compensation to the families of victims in the attack. Salman, an eye witness and government servant, said that two men wearing trouser and shirt entered the church at the end of the services adding that worshipers were busy in meeting with their relatives when the suicide bomber detonated his explosive vast. He lamented that after their services the policemen usually entered inside the church. He raised a question that police searched every male female before entering the church even those who belonged to christen community, how could the bombers entered?
A large number of christen community people reached to Lady Reading Hospital for searching their love ones.
The angry relatives of the deceased and injured chanted slogan against the administration, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Mulim League (N) leaders as no leader came at hospital.
The angry relatives besiege health minister Shoukat Yousafzai, CCPO Muhammad Ali Babakhel and two members of provincial Asmebly Javed Nasim and Arif Yousaf who came to hospital after six hours of the incident. They also claimed that hospital administration did not properly facilitate the injured. The angry protesters had done demolition in side the hospital and blocked GT Road and other routs of the city. Moreover, enraged protestors took to the streets and set ablaze the belongings of the police personnel who were deputed at the church for security. The blast also claimed lives of five members of same family identified as Pinkey daughter of Saleem Mashie, Brother Nazir Mashie, Babi Jamila Mashie, Sami Mashie, and Yasmeen. A 1st year student Junaid Mashie resident of Kohati also lost his life in deadly blasts who is the only brother of six sisters who came to church for his religious services when the twin suicide blasts took place. Residents of LRH colony Sabir Shahzad, his wife Sobia, two sons, 13-year old Shaman and 10-year old Sameed Jan also lost their lives while two sons of Sabir (5), and three-year old Naveed remained safe because they were not present inside the church. Due to powerful blasts panes of church and nearby buildings were also smashed. The head of suicide bomber was also recovered after the incident.
Bomb Disposal Squad said that 12 kg explosives were used in twin suicide blasts.
Sources said that only four doctors were present in emergency ward of hospital when the injured reached hospital.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chair Person Imran Khan and Chief Minister along with other party members leave the central executive committee meeting and returned to Peshawar to condole with the victims of twin blasts. It was the second deadliest blast of Peshawar after an explosion which took place in Meena Bazaar claiming lives of more then 100 citizens. Christen community has called protest demonstration in the whole Pakistan. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan did not claim the responsibility of blast and informed that they were not involved in blast took place in church adding that this was conspiracy against peace talks between government and TTP. Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa JUI (F) ANP, MQM and Bishops of Pakistan announced three days mourning in condolence with christen community who were killed and injured in twin blasts in church. Christen community Schools and churches will be closed for three days. All Saints Church was established in 1883 and the said church is the second oldest church of Peshawar. The arrangements for the funeral services of the blast victims were being made at the St John’s Cathedral in the city. Only around two percent of Pakistan’s total population of 180 million is Christian. The community complains of growing discrimination.
Christians across country stage demos against Peshawar blast: Christians in Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Islamabad, Rawalpindi Shiekhupura and other cities staged protest rallies to condemn the killings of innocent Christians in Peshawar on Sunday. In Karachi, angry protesters clashed with police when they tried to clear a road in Essa Nagri, a low-income Christian locality. Protesters also clashed with police in Peshawar where people complained about the highhandedness of police. Police arrested several protesters who tried to damage the public properties.
Condemning the attack Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed that proper treatment of the people injured in the blast. In a statement the prime minister said “terrorists have no religion and targeting innocent people is against the teachings of Islam and all religions.”
The premier said such cruel acts of terrorism reflect the brutality and inhumane mindset of the terrorists.
Nawaz Sharif also expressed solidarity with the Christian community and deep sympathies with bereaved families.
President Mamnoon Hussain also condemned Sunday attack in strong words. In his message the President said that Church attack was coward act of militants added that minorities in the country would be protected.
Meanwhile, Awami National Party (ANP) leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, who himself is facing severe threat from the terrorists, lost no time to reach the Church attacked by two suicide bombers for expressing his sympathy and solidarity with the mourning Christian community.
However, he had to return soon as the environment over there was highly charged, while some enraged persons started voicing slogans. ( MQM ) Muttahida Qaumi Movement also condemned the blast and announced to observe three-day mourning.
Former minister for inter-faith harmony Paul Bhatti and provincial lawmaker Fredrich Azeem Ghauri both said the attack was the deadliest ever targeting Christians in Pakistan.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah and Balochistan chief minister Dr. Malik Baloch also condemned church attack.