Twenty-two people were reported dead in a bomb blast at a vegetable market in northwest Pakistan, on Saturday. Around 50 were injured.
The blast took place in Parachinar, capital of Kurram tribal region, near the Afghan border. Officials said that explosives were kept in a vegetable crate at the market.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has stated that the improvised explosive device (IED) exploded at 8.50 am. “Army and FC Quick Response officials have reached the blast site and cordoned off the area. Army helicopters have been flown in for medical evacuation of the injured,” they said.
Banned militant group Lashker-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for the attack. “That was our combined work with Shahryar group of Mahsud Taliban,” Ali Sufyan, a spokesman for the group, wrote in a text message to an AP reporter.
Parachinar has a predominant population of Shi’ite Muslims, who are a minority community in Pakistan. The region has witnessed tension between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, with an increase in militant attacks in recent years.
Some of the wounded were airlifted to hospitals in Peshawar, said Shahid Khan, an assistant tribal administrator. Hospitals in the tribal region were not equipped to handle the emergency.
One of the injured being treated at the Parachinar hospital, Ashiq Hussain said that he was purchasing fruits and vegetables loaded on a van, when the blast took place. “There was a big bang and I saw a dark cloud of smoke and dust before passing out,” he said.
According to Shiite leader Faqir Hussain, all the bodies had been brought to a Shiite mosque.
The remnants of militant groups targeted by security forces were trying to show their existence by such attacks, said Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, provincial governor. “Terrorists largely eliminated by our security forces and the remaining will soon meet their fate if we all together rise against them.”