Sectarian violence: Twin blasts ravage Parachinar markets

Published: July 27, 2013

A motorcycle burns at the site of one of the blasts in Parachinar. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PARACHINAR: 

Turi and Bangash shopkeepers were preparing to break their fast in downtown Parachinar, headquarters of Kurram Agency. Little did they know, however, that it would be the last roza for many of them. Two suicide bombings, hardly a minute apart, tore through two busy marketplaces, killing at least 48 people and injuring nearly 200 more.

A little-known militant group, Ansarul Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings in Parachinar which has been the hotbed of sectarian violence for years. Most of the victims of Friday’s blasts belonged to either Turi or Bangash tribes, who are Shias by sect.

According to witnesses, one bomber riding a motorcycle struck on Shingak Road near the main square in Parachinar Bazaar around 6:05pm. A minute later, the second bomber, who was also riding a two-wheeler, unleashed carnage on School Road.

The political agent of Kurram Agency, Riaz Mehsud, confirmed the fatalities and the nature of the blasts. “Initial investigations suggest both were suicide attacks,” he told journalists.

He added that the administration had stepped up security at mosques and Imambargahs across the city following intelligence reports that terrorists could target Friday prayers. The terrorists struck at the marketplace after failing to target Friday congregations, he added.

The medical superintendent at the Agency Headquarters Hospital, Dr Sabir Hussain, said that they received 40 bodies and 185 injured – eight of whom later died of their wounds.

“Most of the bodies were mutilated,” he said, adding that they have referred some of the injured to the District Headquarters Hospital, Hangu, Divisional Hospital and Combined Military Hospital in Kohat and to hospitals in Peshawar. He feared the death toll could go up as some of the injured had life-threatening wounds.

Witnesses said that the markets were packed with shoppers and that handcarts were sent flying after the blasts, which also damaged several shops and vehicles.

Syed Jamal Shah, who visited the twin bombing sites, said that around eight shops, several motorcycles and two four-wheelers were destroyed in the Shingak Road blast, while around 15 shops, three motorcycles and six four-wheelers were destroyed in the attack on School Road.

“The blasts took place when people were shopping for Iftar. Blood and pieces of human flesh were scattered all around,” he told The Express Tribune. Syed Wajid Ali, a security guard at Parachinar Press Club, said that the blasts took place minutes after he sent his two brothers to the market to buy some food for Iftar. “Ten minutes later, a huge explosion rocked the market and dust and thick smoke covered the scene,” he added.

“I rushed to inquire about my brothers. Tribesmen at the site told me that they were injured and shifted to hospital,” he said. “But when I reached the hospital I saw my brothers lying on the floor, lifeless.”

A deafening silence descended on the entire Parachinar town after the explosions as most of worried tribesmen rushed to hospitals to find out about the victims and help their injured fellow tribesmen.

At the Agency Headquarters Hospital, some angry tribesmen hit out at the political administration for the poor security in the city. These blasts have exposed the tall claims of the security forces and political administration who say that normalcy has been restored to the region.

Speaking to journalists by phone from an undisclosed location, a purported spokesman for Ansarul Mujahideen, Abu Baseer, claimed responsibility for the twin attacks. He warned of more attacks on the Shia community in future.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engineer Shaukatullah condemned the explosions and announced Rs300,000 in compensation for the families each of the deceased and Rs100,000 for the wounded survivors.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.

Reader Comments (29)

  • hyder uddin
    Jul 27, 2013 - 3:16AM

    We need leaders like Altaf Hussain in our country. The statement he made few days back is so true.

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  • ijaz saleem
    Jul 27, 2013 - 3:22AM

    Pakistani government better give us a seperate place if they cant protect us. We shias cant tolerate attacks on us everyday. Its a do or die situation for us now.

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  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jul 27, 2013 - 4:06AM

    Shia’s massacre now almost turning into Shia-genocide ! Shame on the collective soul of this nation that is more concerned on getting a convicted terrorist (Afia Siddiqui) back into this country than to look after its own – butchered by dozens these murderous entities !

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  • Hafiz
    Jul 27, 2013 - 4:16AM

    Like it. Just Do It.

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  • Khalid Pathan
    Jul 27, 2013 - 4:27AM

    It is clear that terrorists attacks are on the rise, suicides attacks on innocent have been going on especially against the Shia community. Since the law enforcement agencies have miserably failed in controlling such barbaric acts, the natural and logical outcome is to handover the maintenance of Law and order to armed forces.

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  • aggravated
    Jul 27, 2013 - 4:30AM

    not a single consolidation msg by PM. congratulations mian ji on securing mqm’s support

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  • shahabuddin sharif
    Jul 27, 2013 - 4:47AM

    People of fata especially shias have been suffering poverty and lack of education. Its time we protect these tribes from further persecution by building modern schools.

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  • Babloo
    Jul 27, 2013 - 5:14AM

    I don’t understand Pakistan. In India, do you see muslims or Hindus bombing any place of worship every day or week ? Maybe in last 5 years, bombing a place of worship, may have happened 5 times in all of India, which is 6 times the size of Pakistan.
    In Pakistan, atleast once every week, some place of worship is bombed or some religious group, mostly Shias , killed in targeted killings.

    So in per person of population, bombing a place of worship , is happening at more than 100 times the rate that of India, in Pakistan.
    When and how will this stop in Pakistan ? Violence creates deep fissures in society. Shias will not easily forget the daily violence being perpetrated against them. They may be helpless but resentment will cause more divisions.

    I do not see a vocal and active political campaign against such mindless religious violence.

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  • A Pakistani
    Jul 27, 2013 - 5:24AM

    @ aggravated
    The President and Prime Minister of Pakistan have condemned this sad episode http://www.pakistannewsday.com/twin-blasts-in-parachinar-kill-40-hurt-hundreds/
    Some people make a biased comment without going through the facts.

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  • Ghani
    Jul 27, 2013 - 5:51AM

    @shahabuddin sharif:
    Protection from persecution by building mordern schools??? What are you talking about? First give them right to live.

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  • Ghani
    Jul 27, 2013 - 5:54AM

    @Khalid Pathan:
    So after 40K+ casualities of Pakistanis, thank God it has become clear to you now that terrorist attacks are ‘on the rise’. How many more do we need to become clear that armed forces are part of the problem!

    Recommend

  • Rafidi
    Jul 27, 2013 - 5:55AM

    I know what, lets talk to these murderers. Lets give in to all their demands because surely, we have lost any sense of self-respect as a nation by letting the systematic genocide of Shias take place in Pakistan. Was 1971 not big enough a lesson !!!!!!

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  • Jul 27, 2013 - 6:26AM

    Ansarul Mujahideen is telling a lie. A Muslim can not kill a Muslim . Shia sect is not declared as non Muslim. Hence Blasts are the handiwork of CIA/MOSSAD/RAW.

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  • aggravated
    Jul 27, 2013 - 6:45AM

    @ A Pakistani

    Oh ..please you could have done better than that .http://www.dawn.com/news/1032164/twin-blasts-in-parachinar-kill-45 this is the link by dawn and you just read by ET . i guess they purposefully missed the msg by President,PM ..Lets have Presidential elections ….hoooray

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  • Kolsat
    Jul 27, 2013 - 6:46AM

    @A Pakistani: What use are comments by politicians? Comments condemning such monstrous attacks have been made before but no effective action seems to have been taken against the perpetrators. Pakistan has so many such destructive groups that the police authorities must know them. Pakistan’s Army which boasts of having the capability of stopping Indian army in its tracks seems to be incapable or unwilling to take a role in protecting citizens. Someone has to wake up and stop these killings-cum-murders carried out in the name of Islam which is getting a bad name all over the world.

    Recommend

  • Polpot
    Jul 27, 2013 - 7:09AM

    @Babloo: To understand the unceasing cycle of violence in Pakistan listen to Najam Sethi on Youtube.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Not only does each Political Party have a Militant Wing they also have tacit understanding that as long as you dont create problems in my province do whatever you want in other provinces. The Punjab Govt is a culprit as well.
    So the genesis of violence in Public life is embeded deep in the political system.

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  • Hari Om
    Jul 27, 2013 - 7:14AM

    It is baffling that Pakistan, a country claimed to have been founded to provide a safe haven for the Muslims of the Indian Sub-Continent, sees such high levels of violence pitting Muslim against Muslim over religious doctrinal differences. Baffling to see these violent events take place on the religiously significant day of Friday during the month of Ramadan which is considered holy in Pakistan. Why not just live and let live?

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  • Feroz
    Jul 27, 2013 - 7:46AM

    Please stop this violence immediately. Animals at least kill only when they are hungry, comparatively we humans are the most wretched of the Earth.

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  • hasan
    Jul 27, 2013 - 7:46AM

    Its high time Shia raises this issue strongly with the govt.. either protect them, or carve our a seperate province for them governed by shia people… that way they can live in peace .. its time to create seperate provinces for shia majority areas..

    Recommend

  • Murali
    Jul 27, 2013 - 10:00AM

    Mumbai carnage integrated us. Political class had to toe the line of public rather than trying to gain milage.
    I pray that type of public pressure builds on both political as well as military class to act and prevent such carnage in future.
    May departed rest in peace.

    Recommend

  • True Karachiwala
    Jul 27, 2013 - 10:14AM

    PTI has not yet formed any committee which would hold talks with these terrorists with “noble cause”. Forget federal APC, at least PTI should start implementing its policy of negotiations.

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  • Gratgy
    Jul 27, 2013 - 12:23PM

    48 killed in a blast and its not headline news on ET. Life has surely become cheap

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  • Jul 27, 2013 - 1:26PM

    @whitesky:

    A Muslim can not kill a Muslim .

    This absurd claim (nobody should be killing anyone regardless) is empty rhetoric of a utopian religious ideal which has been disproven time and again throughout history, as there can indeed be bad and criminal Muslims (or still think their still good/great Muslims, or were once Muslim, etc).

    Shia sect is not declared as non Muslim. Hence Blasts are the handiwork of CIA/MOSSAD/RAW.

    Thanks for not declaring Shia Muslims as non-Muslims, however, some Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni extremists have decided otherwise, and hence called takfiris, and most militant terrorism in Pak and globally is their handiwork. This pathetic lack of critical thinking and dishonest delusional denial and misdirecting conspiracist mindset of trying to blame unseen ‘foreign hands’ only serves to give cover to the actual local culprits, who are indeed very likely considered to be from Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni Muslim backgrounds.

    Recommend

  • Sultan Mirza
    Jul 27, 2013 - 3:54PM

    @Haris Chaudhry: Aafia is our sister and as far as her conviction is concerned, the whole issue is farcical. We can care about both Aafia and the rest of our brothers and sisters in Pakistan. The issues are not mutually exclusive.

    Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli
    Jul 27, 2013 - 7:14PM

    @bigsaf
    stop using these words of wahabi/salafi etc they are true muslims and majority of islam and go search the terrorism of so called shia and read the history of Ismael safavis and its followers. and I am proud to be true wahabi muslim.

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  • Dr. A.KTewari
    Jul 27, 2013 - 8:55PM

    Forget Kashmir and save remaining Pakistan . Immidiate ban on kashmir solidarity day and moral support to Freedo Fighters in Kashmir through NBC brodcast !!!……

    Recommend

  • Jul 27, 2013 - 9:59PM

    @Sultan Mirza:

    It feels like most Pakistanis seem to prioritize and value Aafia Siddiqui, a person who has an incredibly shady past with links to Al Qaeda and Taliban extremist terrorists who have killed innocent people, than the many many Pakistani victims of terrorism, including the minority folks here.

    Recommend

  • Jul 28, 2013 - 10:43AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    No. Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni extremism in Pak and globally is a fact, recognized by Canada and the EU, and its time people realized this ideological crisis among the majority. I’m sure Al Qaeda and the Taliban share the same delusions of being the only ‘true Muslims’. Such propagation of hate and resentment against Shias about an irrelevant moment in history centuries ago (like as if there were no other brutal dynasties, then and now, including multiple Sunni empires), is a sad commentary of trying to smear the victims, justifying the extremists’ violence and a desperate deflection that can’t hide the fact that today it is these ideologies you so cling to that are considered to be the fundamentalist basis of radicalization and intolerance.

    Recommend

  • GIndian
    Jul 28, 2013 - 8:49PM

    Mark my words. By 2023, the present version of Pakistan will cease to exist and whole Pakistan will be overrun by Taliban and Taliban like entities. If it doesnt happen, I will eat crows. It is 1971 all over again. By 2023, Indian per capita income will quadraple and Taliban ruled ????stan will become a black hole. Shame on you guys.

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