12 killed, 32 hurt in Pakistan bus station bombing
PESHAWAR A CAR bomb ripped through a Pakistani bus station on Thursday, killing 12 people, including two children on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said.
The attack happened on the road towards the garrison city of Kohat near the lawless tribal belt, a stronghold of Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked militants blamed for violence plaguing both Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan.
“It was a car bomb blast.
Twelve people have been killed and 32 injured,” senior police official Kalam Khan said.
Around a dozen passenger coaches were heavily damaged.
At the main hospital in Peshawar, the wounded were crying and relatives of the dead sobbed over their bodies as doctors declared a state of emergency in a bid to save the most critically injured.
Doctor Rahim Jan said that 12 bodies had been brought into Lady Reading hospital and that 35 people were wounded.
“Several bodies are charred beyond recognition. Ten to 12 of the wounded are in a critical condition,” he said.
Dilawar Khan, 60, who was wounded in his left shoulder, said his 12-year-old son Abdullah was killed. He had been helping his father run his stall serving tea at the bus station while on a break from school. “I was preparing tea for the drivers and my son was serving tea for some other drivers when the huge blast happened,” said Khan through his tears.
“Something like shrapnel hit me in the shoulder but I was conscious. Then I was brought to hospital and saw my son’s dead body. I’ve lost everything.” There was no claim of responsibility and the precise target was unclear, but attacks blamed on Taliban and other homegrown extremists opposed to the government’s support for the US war in Afghanistan are common.
“At the moment I can’t say what the exact target of the bomb attack was but all those killed were innocent civilians,” Mohammad Siraj, the top government official in Peshawar, told reporters.
Tahir Ayub, a senior police official, told reporters that most of those killed were passengers waiting to board coaches.
“Two children were among the dead. According to a preliminary investigation, the bomb was planted in the car,” he said.
Bomb disposal chief Shafqat Malik said 45 kilograms (100 pounds) of “good quality” explosives and mortar shells were packed into the car to maximise destruction when the timed device detonated.
More than 530 bomb attacks have killed around 4,900 people across Pakistan since government troops in July 2007 stormed a mosque in Islamabad where Islamist extremists were holed up, provoking a local Taliban-led insurgency.
Last Friday, a suicide bomber killed 31 people in a mainly Shiite Muslim area of the northwestern town of Parachinar in the tribal district of Kurram.