Wednesday, March 9, 2016
10 Killed in Suicide Attack at Pakistan Court
A suicide bombing at a court compound killed at least 10 people in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, officials said, the latest in a series of attacks in areas around the volatile Mohmand tribal area.
Pakistani militants said the attack was a revenge for the hanging of a man convicted of the 2011 killing of a prominent liberal politician who had called for reform of blasphemy laws.
Three police personnel were among the dead, and around 30 others were wounded in the blast, Reuters reported senior police official Sohail Khalid.
Saeed Wazir, another police official, said that the attacker targeted the court building in the northwestern town of Shabqadar. He had intended to enter and set off his explosives when guards challenged him.
“The suicide bomber was trying to enter the judicial complex and he blew himself up when the police stopped him,” said Wazir.
A huge explosion occurred at the scene, according to eyewitnesses.
“We were sitting with a lawyer when a huge explosion took place in the sessions court,” said Gohar Khan, a local police official who was at the scene.
“The army and other law-enforcement agencies have arrived and cordoned off the area. The injured are being shifted to nearby hospitals.”
Television news footage showed extensive damage including the charred remains of at least two vehicles.
Group spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in an emailed statement the bombing “was especially done as vengeance for the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri”.
Hard-line religious leaders have declared Qadri a hero and Ehsan said his faction would continue to attack courts.
Qadri, a bodyguard-turned-assassin, was executed last week for killing Salman Taseer, the then governor of Punjab province, after he had called for reform of blasphemy laws.
Human rights groups fear that these laws can be abused by people trying to retaliate or involved in feuds.
Shabqadar is located about 150kms (90 miles) northwest of the capital Islamabad near the Mohmand tribal area, where several attacks took place in recent days.
On March 1, a remote-controlled roadside bomb targeted a convoy of vehicles travelling in Mohmand, killing two Pakistani employees of the United States Consulate in nearby Peshawar.
About two weeks earlier, on Feb 18, Taliban gunmen killed nine Pakistani paramilitary personnel in two separate attacks on checkposts in Mohmand.
Both earlier attacks were claimed by the Jamaat-ur-Ahrar faction of the Pakistani Taliban.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, also known as Pakistani Taliban has been waging an insurgency against the state since 2007, in a bid to impose radical laws.