Bomb blast in Pakistan heinous act - GulfToday

Bomb blast in Pakistan heinous act

Peshawar Blast

A rescue worker examines remains at the site of a blast at a religious school in Peshawar, Pakistan. AFP

The bomb attack on an Islamic seminary, in which at least several students were killed and over a hundred others wounded, was heinous and dastardly, to say the least.

The bombing happened as a prominent religious scholar was delivering a lecture about the teachings of Islam at the main hall of the Jamia Zubairia madrassa, said police officer Waqar Azim. He said initial investigations suggest the bomb went off minutes after someone left a bag at the madrassa.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Peshawar which is the provincial capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan. The province has been the scene of such militant attacks in recent years, but sectarian violence has also killed or wounded people at mosques or seminaries across Pakistan.

TV footage showed the damaged main hall of the seminary, where the bombing took place. The hall was littered with broken glass and its carpet was blood-stained. At least 5 kilogrammes of explosives were used in the attack.

Several of the wounded students were in critical condition, and the hospital feared the death toll could climb further. Authorities said some seminary teachers and employees were also wounded in the bombing.

The attack needs to be condemned outright. It blights the record of a country that has seen terror attacks decline by more than 85 per cent over the last decade. It’s a welcome statistic for the nation, but one that risks being overshadowed by international concern over its efforts to allegedly curb terror funding and lingering militant activity that could breach any future peace agreement in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Terrorist attacks dropped from nearly 2,000 in 2009 to fewer than 250 in 2019, a steady decline that underscores the long-haul nature of fighting terror.

Over the past decade, Pakistan has been home to a slew of hardline groups with multiple and sometimes overlapping motives. Some have targeted the government or unleashed horrific bombings and attacks on the country’s religious minorities. Others are connected to anti-US militant organisations in Afghanistan or have reportedly focused their attacks on India.

Since early last year, Pakistan has banned 66 organisations declared as terrorist or terrorist-supporting groups and listed an estimated 7,600 individuals under its anti-terrorism act.

Some Afghan students studying at the seminary were also among the wounded persons, officials said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the bombing and asked authorities to ensure the provision of best possible medical aid to the victims.

According to a witness, hundreds of students were present at the seminary’s main hall at the time of the explosion. He said teachers were also among those who were wounded in the bombing.

A video filmed by a student at the scene showed the Islamic scholar Haqqani delivering a lecture when the bomb exploded. It was unclear whether the teacher was among the wounded.

The attack comes days after Pakistani intelligence alerted that militants could target public places and important buildings, including seminaries and mosques across Pakistan, including Peshawar.

The latest incident comes two days after a bombing in the southwestern city of Quetta killed three people. The Pakistani Taliban have been targeting public places, schools, mosques and the military across the country since 2001, when the country joined the US-led war on terror following the Sept.11 attacks in the United States.

Since then, the insurgents have declared war on the government of Pakistan and have carried out a host of attacks. These included an inhuman assault on an army-run school in the city of Peshawar in 2014 that killed 140 children and several teachers.

Related articles