Matani blast follow-up: Probe committee formed as victims laid to rest

No policemen deployed to provide security for funerals.


Riaz Ahmad September 02, 2012

PESHAWAR:


The police have formed a nine-member committee to investigate Friday’s deadly bombing in a market in suburban Peshawar that killed 11 people – including an official of the North Waziristan political administration.


The senior superintendent of police (SSP) Investigation, Sajid Mohmand, will head the investigation committee.

On Saturday, a pall of gloom hung over Matani village, where the blast took place, and adjoining Adezai village as residents buried the victims.

Surprisingly, no security arrangements were put in place by authorities for the funerals even though in the past, Taliban insurgents have attacked funerals for their enemies. Volunteers of the local Adezai peace militia, however, were deployed to ensure security.

Among the victims of Friday’s blast were Hashim Gul, a political tehsildar of North Waziristan Agency, his brother, son and cousin.

“It was a targeted attack – and the target was Hashim Gul,” Farman Khan, chief of the peace militia told The Express Tribune.

“The authorities did not deploy even a few policemen to provide security to the mourners knowing well that militants have attacked similar gatherings in the past,” said an apparently disillusioned Khan.

A couple of police officials showed up after the funeral – but even they were on routine patrol, he added.

However, another leader of the peace militia sought to deflect his colleague’s criticism of the police.

“The police did not turn up at the funeral because we had not announced timings. This was done deliberately to dodge the militants and thwart a possible attack on mourners,” Waqif Khan told The Express Tribune.

In Matani bazaar, shopkeepers observed a ‘day of mourning’ as investigators sifted through the rubble to look for possible leads.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, thus far. But similar attacks have been blamed on the infamous Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan – a group responsible for most violence in the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2012.

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