Peshawar, March 4, 2011
The blast took place near the mosque in Nowshera’s Akbarpura area when food was being distributed to the poor after midday Friday prayers, a Reuters report said.
A shrine is also situated near the mosque.
Ten worshippers, including a child, were killed and 30 others injured when a powerful bomb blast ripped through a mosque within a Sufi shrine at Nowshera in northwest Pakistan today.
The explosion targeted the mosque inside Akhun Punjo Baba mazar (shrine) in Akbarpura area of Nowshera, about 15 km from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital Peshawar.
Scores of people were offering Friday prayers at the mosque while hundreds had gathered to take food from a ‘langar’ or community kitchen. Ten worshippers, including a child, were killed, the police said.
At least 30 others were injured and the condition of eight was described by the officials as serious.
The injured were taken to hospitals in Nowshera, Pubbi and Peshawar. A witness told Geo News channel that the blast occurred just after the prayers ended. “The blast occurred within the mosque,” he said.
He estimated that over 1,000 persons were present in the shrine. No group has claimed responsibility for the blast. The explosion was heard from several kilometres away.
Reports said the blast was caused by a remote controlled bomb hidden in a cupboard within the mosque.
Footage on television showed caps and shoes strewn within the mosque. Windows were blown out by the blast, which also caused extensive damage to the walls of the mosque.
Witnesses said many worshippers were hit by shrapnel. They added that there was almost no security at the shrine complex.
The Pakistani Taliban are opposed to the practice of worshipping at Sufi shrines and consider it “un-Islamic”. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for several recent attacks on Sufi shrines in cities across Pakistan, including Lahore and Karachi.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the bomb blast in the mosque.
In a message, Zardari described the attack as an “abhorrent act” and said its perpetrators were the enemies of Islam.
“The government would continue to take a firm stand against extremist and terrorist elements across the country and would not be cowed down by such acts of violence,” he said. Nowshera has been targeted by militants in the past too.
On June 12, 2009, at least six persons were killed and over 90 injured when a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden truck into a mosque within an army supply depot in the city. — PTI & Agencies.
Blast outside police post kills 7 in Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A powerful explosion targeting police in Pakistan‘s troubled northwest killed three officers and four civilians Thursday (3rd March,2011) police said.
The attack happened in the Hangu area, just outside the tribal regions along the Afghan border where al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters have long operated, said senior police official Rasheed Khan. It underscored the continued strength of the militants, despite army operations against them.
The bomb was hidden in a vehicle in a residential area where a small police station was located. It went off as a police vehicle carrying officers drove by, Khan said. The blast also wounded 30 people and damaged around a dozen houses, he said.
The U.S. has pressed Pakistan to eliminate hide-outs used by Islamist insurgents, saying they threaten not only American and NATO troops in Afghanistan but also the stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan itself.
But even as Pakistan has carried out some operations against militants, it has found itself challenged on other fronts that threaten to bring down the weak civilian government, notably a struggling economy.
After months of delaying it, the government this week raised fuel prices 9.9% because of spikes in international markets spurred by strife in the Middle East and North Africa.
The price increase has angered opposition parties and even some allies of the ruling party, who have urged the government to reverse the hike. Earlier this year, the ruling party narrowly avoided a collapse of its governing coalition over another attempted fuel price hike.
Public transportation workers in the southern port city of Karachi went on strike over fuel prices Thursday. The strike crippled much of the city, which is Pakistan’s most populous with 18 million people as well as its main economic hub. Many schools were closed.
Irshad Bukhari, the president of the Karachi Transport Union, said more than 25,000 buses and other vehicles stayed off the roads. Millions of commuters could not travel as a result, he said, expressing confidence they supported the strikers.
“People respond to our strike call because it is not only the transporters’ problem but also the people who have to bear the cost of higher fares,” he said.
Courtesy : Reuters || AFP || AP || PTI || Agencies.