Suicide attack near ANP meeting in Peshawar kills 18, injures 49

Published: April 16, 2013

ANP senior leader Ghulam Bilour's car was targeted in the suicide attack. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/ EXPRESS

ANP senior leader Ghulam Bilour's car was targeted in the suicide attack. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/ EXPRESS A screenshot of the site of the blast. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: At least 18 people were killed and 49 injured in a suicide blast in Peshawar near a Awami National Party (ANP) meeting on Tuesday, said officials.

The bomb blast took place in Yakatoot just after the arrival of senior ANP leader Ghulam Ahmed Bilour.

“There were a lot of people present at the site for the ANP leader’s reception. The suicide bomber merged in the crowd and blew himself up near the driver’s seat,” said Inspector General of Police Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Liaquat Ali.

The driver was killed, while Bilour escaped the attack after sustaining minor injuries.

Responding to questions regarding security arrangements, the IGP said that the deaths of policemen in the incident prove that there was adequate security arrangement. “They [police] have borne the brunt of the blast first. We did all the [security] arrangements that were required,” he added.

The IGP said that there are security threats but the police are trying on a daily basis to avert them by conducting raids, picking up people and gathering information.

At least four police officials, including SHO Kotwali Abid Khan and two constables, were also killed in the blast.

“It was a suicide bombing,” senior police official Shafqat Malik told AFP.

Up to six kilogrammes of explosives along with splinters and ball bearings were used in the bombing.

“We have found the feet of the bomber,” Malik added.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, but apologised for injuring Bilour, saying it had been targeting his nephew, Haroon.

“We apologise to Ghulam Bilour because we announced an amnesty for him,” Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“Our target was Haroon Bilour,” he said.

The injured, including Express News correspondent Ehtisham Khan and several children, were shifted to Lady Reading Hospital. Emergency was imposed at the hospital.

ANP spokesperson Zahid Khan, talking to Express News, said that his party will continue to make sacrifices but it is the government’s responsibility to provide security. He said that an FIR will also be lodged against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not taking enough security measures.

“We are screaming [about security] but the caretaker government is doing nothing. It has hijacked the ECP,” Khan added.

ANP chief Asfandyar Wali, while talking to Express News, hinted towards a concerted conspiracy against the his party. “They want us to get out of politics. They have removed security from all our members. If they are caretakers, they have to give us level playing field. It looks like to us that all of these are involved in this conspiracy.”

“If you know one political party is targeted and you take all the security away, what message are you trying to give that party?”

Wali asked whether this was a form of pre poll rigging. “Every party is allowed to conduct rallies, ANP is not allowed this. And the authorities are sitting as observers.”

Meanwhile, Haroon Bilour who was the main target of the blast, insisted that while there was no security lapse, ANP candidates needed fool-proof security. “There was no security lapse, since police suffered casualties. But the fears we had voiced that ANP is a target and that all security given to us was withdrawn.”

“The authorities should recognise this and all ANP candidates should be given fool-proof security.”

Nearby shops were also damaged in the blast.

The TTP had said that the group would continue to attack politicians from the ANP, MQM and PPP ahead of the elections. The group had also called upon people to stay away from the election rallies of the three parties.

Reader Comments (18)

  • Zain
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:11PM

    Taliban continue pre-poll rigging. Taliban approved parties (in decreasing order of approval: PTI, JI, JUI-F) to rule Taliban Emirate of Pakistan after Taliban approve targets (ANP, PPP, MQM) are wiped out.

    Only yesterday Imran “appealed” to TTP for peaceful elections in Hamid Mir’s show.

    Do Naya Pakistan supporters not feel ashamed and see the blood on their hands?

    Recommend

  • slim_shady
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:21PM

    what goes around comes around …

    Recommend

  • Only PTI
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:41PM

    This should be condemned strongly!

    Recommend

  • Syed
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:46PM

    When will our leaders learn that there is no talking with terrorists. I can’t believe we can’t go all out and clean up the filth in Waziristan area. Are Pakistanis worried that Talibans will retaliate with nuclear weapons? Or do they want to keep Talibans for some twisted reasons?

    Recommend

  • Mj
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:49PM

    My thoughts and prayers go out to those who were killed needlessly by madmen. I hope mr. Bilour realizes that there is no appeasing the Taliban, as he tried to do by announing a bounty.

    Recommend

  • Sid
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:51PM

    Should be condemned strongly but ANP was in absolute power in the province and should have pushed the Federal government for a settlement where they were an important ally but instead they focussed on ……. well……..

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:53PM

    @Zain:
    No sir there is no shame. Most feel proud and happy at their future prospects. This is the only way they can win any elections.
    Regards,
    M

    Recommend

  • Farhan
    Apr 16, 2013 - 9:56PM

    @Zain: Nobody should be ashamed in fearing the de-facto authority of Pakistan… i.e. Taliban

    Recommend

  • AB.
    Apr 16, 2013 - 10:02PM

    @Zain: i can only laugh at your absurd comment.

    Recommend

  • sensible
    Apr 16, 2013 - 10:14PM

    ANP better bycott the elections to save their remaining leaders or they will be wiped out by taliban.

    Recommend

  • Mashal
    Apr 16, 2013 - 10:49PM

    My vote is for ANP.

    Recommend

  • non political
    Apr 16, 2013 - 11:28PM

    Think again as what went wrong in last five years…slave nations always paying such pricesRecommend

  • Saleem
    Apr 16, 2013 - 11:52PM

    Pakistan is go Pakistanis and not for these terrorists.It needs more than a condemnation. Why is Pakistan army so helpless that they can’t wipe out their target. If they kill 18 innocent people then we should have killed that many them as well. These terrorists, nor their supporter, deserve any mercy.

    Recommend

  • Stranger
    Apr 16, 2013 - 11:56PM

    @slim_shady:
    Can u explain what you mean by this?

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Apr 16, 2013 - 11:59PM

    Really sad about los of life. My they rest in peace.

    The army or government of Pakistan has no writ over KPK. How can the elections held in tis state be judged free and fair if the incumbent party is not allowed to campaign upon the pain of death?Recommend

  • jerseybb
    Apr 17, 2013 - 12:00AM

    I support Pakistan Tehrek e Insaf however Imran Khan should come on tv and condemn taleban and show solidarity with MQM, ANP and PPP.
    I don’t expect anything from PML N, they are the political face of Pakistan and should be defeated. I wish Pakistan army just defeat these taleban and their sympathizers once for all

    Recommend

  • Romm
    Apr 17, 2013 - 12:54AM

    Hats off to the people of KPK.

    Recommend

  • Radial
    Apr 17, 2013 - 3:13AM

    What’s the point of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons if the biggest actual enemies of Pakistanis, the Taliban, and operating across the country and hold territory in FATA? Hey GHQ, you might want to send a few tactical nukes to Waziristan. Or stop wasting money on growing your nuclear arsenal and put more boots on the ground to wipe out these rodents.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan