Taliban militants blew up the shrine of Mian Umar Baba in the jurisdiction of Chamkani police station early on Monday morning. No causalities were reported, police said.
An official of the Chamkani police station told The Express Tribune that the attack took place at around 3 am, when an explosive device planted near the wall of the shrine, exploded. A large number of devotees visit the shrine of the Sufi saint.
A Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) official said militants used a timed device to blow up the shrine.
The bomb weighed around one-and-half kilo and was packed in a plastic can.
Police have registered a case against unknown militants. However, no arrests were made till the filing of this report.
This was the first attack on any shrine in Peshawar since March 5, 2009 when militants attacked the shrine of popular Pashto poet Rehman Baba.
The first ever attack on a shrine in Peshawar was reported on December 18, 2007 when militants blew up the shrine of Abdul Shakoor Malang Baba on GT Road. The shrine was badly damaged in the attack.
On March 03, 2008, militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Islam attacked the 400-year-old shrine of Hazrat Abu Saeed Baba in Shaikhan village on the outskirts of Peshawar and killed 10 villagers.
Militants had also closed down the shrine of Pir Baba in Buner district in April last year and also blew up the shrine of Bahadar Baba in Nowshera district in March last year.
Analysts view such attacks on shrines and other cultural symbols as parting ways with established norms and values and as an attempt aimed at creating a new identity on the part of militants.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2010.