A tragic suicide blast at a Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) workers’ convention in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) Bajaur district on Sunday has left at least 44 people dead and over 100 wounded. The devastating explosion occurred while more than 400 JUI-F members and supporters gathered under a tent in the town of Khar, near the Afghanistan border.
KP Health Minister Riaz Anwar confirmed the death toll and described the attack as a suicide bombing, with the bomber detonating himself close to the stage. Panic and chaos ensued as ambulances rushed to the scene to transport the injured to hospitals. The area was quickly cordoned off by a large police contingent.
As the injured flooded Bajaur District Headquarters Hospital, hospitals across Bajaur and nearby regions were placed on high alert. Critical patients were being airlifted to Peshawar and other hospitals via Pakistan Army helicopters to receive urgent medical treatment.
Maulana Ziaullah Jan, the JUI-F emir in Khar tehsil, was among those killed in the blast, adding to the gravity of the tragedy. At least 150 injured people were brought to the hospital, and 35 more were referred to Timargarh Hospital, while 15 critically injured individuals were transferred to Peshawar for further care.
In the aftermath of the horrific incident, authorities sought to ascertain the responsibility behind the attack. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.
Witnesses recounted scenes of horror and devastation, with more than 500 people present at the convention when the explosion occurred. Survivors described a scene of confusion, with body parts scattered amidst lifeless bodies. The scale of injuries and loss of life has left the community in shock and mourning.
The tragedy drew swift condemnation from political leaders across the spectrum. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed grief and pledged that the perpetrators would be punished. He also ordered a thorough investigation into the incident and directed officials to provide the best medical care to the injured.
The JUI-F chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, appealed for prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured and urged party workers to donate blood to assist those in need. Other political leaders, including Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Imran Khan, and Asif Ali Zardari, also expressed condolences and condemned the heinous act of violence.
The attack in Bajaur reflects the worsening security situation in Pakistan, with terrorist groups carrying out attacks with alarming frequency. The country has witnessed a rise in terror and suicide attacks, resulting in the loss of many innocent lives. The incident underscores the urgency for a concerted effort to combat terrorism and protect the nation’s citizens.