| President says terror incidents in Pakistan linked 

to India’s sinister plan | 5 to 6 kg explosive used 

to detonate time device concealed in a bag: BDS

PESHAWAR   -  At least eight students of a religious seminary died and more than one hundred others injured when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded inside the main hall of Jamia Zubairia Madrassah in Peshawar.

The explosion took place on early Tuesday when more than 1,000 students were attending a lecture at the mosque located in Dir Colony on Kohat Road.

Police officer Mansoor Aman and spokesman Lady Reading Hospital while confirming the deaths of eight students and injuries to nearly 95 others said it was an IED explosion that occurred inside the hall of the mosque in seminary when the religious teacher, Maulana Rahim Ullah was delivering the lecture. 

Rahim Ullah sustained injuries in the bomb attack but he was in stable condition, SSP (Operations) Mansoor told reporters.

The hospital spokesman Muhammad Asim said a total of 103 victims were brought to the hospital among them seven were dead while another expired during treatment. He said 95 victims were still under treatment. He said condition of five injured was very critical.

The police identified five of the dead persons as Muhammad Zahoor, resident of Waziristan, Muhammad Arif, resident of Khyber district, Naimat Khan from Afghanistan, Zubair a resident of Afghanistan and Maroof Khan a resident of Mashokhel, Peshawar. The police were yet to ascertain the identity of the three other dead bodies.

Provincial Health Minister, Saleem Taimur Jhagra after visiting the Lady Reading Hospital strongly condemned the blast and told media that best possible treatment facilities were being provided to the injured of the blast. He said many of the injured received with burn injuries adding lethal chemical and components were used in the IED to cause maximum damage to human life. 

He said initially 37 injured were brought to Naseerulah Babar hospital while two were received by Khyber Teaching Hospital. From Naseerulah Babar Hospital 25 injured were referred to LRH and some with minor wounds were discharged.

Emergency was declared at three big hospitals including LRH, KTH and HMC.

Provincial Information Minister Kamran Bangash while talking to media at the site of the blast said a suspected man was reportedly seen entering the seminary around 08:00 am with a bag in his hand. The man placed the bag inside the hall and left the premises.

After some time the bomb concealed inside the bag exploded with a big bang killing and injuring the innocent students. He said that students aging from 20 to 28 years were in the last stage of their courses’ completion but the anti-state and inhuman elements did not let them to accomplish their religious schooling.

He said terrorists attacked innocent students as they were the easy target and expressed the resolve that elements involved in this inhuman act would be brought to justice as soon as possible.

After the APS tragedy, he said it was the second bloody and cowardice attack targeting students. There were security threats and fear of terror attacks and proper security measures were adopted at sensitive place but the terrorists choose an easy target of attacking innocent seminary students.

He expressed the resolve that such incidents could not deter the resolve of government and every available mean will be utilized to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), Shafqat Malik told media that a time device was used in the powerful explosion. The bomb was concealed in a bag that was placed inside main hall of the mosque of a local seminary where students were being taught. He rejected reports that it was a remote controlled blast.

To cause maximum damage flammable chemicals and extra components were used in the improvised explosive device. Around five to six kilogram explosive was used in the IED, he added. The AIG said important evidences were collected and investigation was in progress.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan strongly condemned the blast and said that perpetrators of this inhuman act would soon be brought to justice. He directed the hospitals’ managements to provide best possible treatment facilities to the injured.

In his statement on Tuesday, the chief minister expressed profound grief over the loss of precious lives and prayed for speedy and complete recovery of the injured. He said that targeting the innocent children was a highly deplorable and cruel act.

Meanwhile, Central President Awami National Party (ANP) Asfandyar Wali Khan has also strongly condemned the blast and underlined the need for implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) in a more effective manner to curb such acts of terrorism in future.

UN strongly condemns attack on students

United Nations (UN) in Pakistan on Tuesday strongly condemned the attack on students in Peshawar.

The United Nations family in Pakistan stands together with all in Pakistan in shock and grief after the heinous attack on the Jamia Zubairia Madrassah in Peshawar where children also take classes.

A press release said, “We are appalled by this attack on children while they were in a place of prayer and learning”, adding that we express our profound condolences and sympathy to the families of all those who lost their lives or were injured in this heartless attack. Our thoughts today are with the victims and their families.

India’s sinister plan

President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday said terrorist incidents within Pakistan pointed that India was already implementing its “sinister plan”.

“We are alive to this threat and our security forces as well as the brave people of Pakistan are committed to winning against all nefarious designs by our extremist neighbour,” the President said in a series of tweet.

President Alvi said the recent warmongering by Indian politicians reflected the expansionist mindset of ruling Bharatia Janta Party.

“The recent remarks by Indian National Security Adviser about fighting wars in neighbouring countries is a vindication of Pakistan’s stand and a tacit acceptance of Indian involvement in terrorism inside Pakistan,” he said. On Kashmir Black Day, he said, the day marked India’s illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.

“For 73 years, Indian forces have turned IIOJK [Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir] into an open prison, subjugating Kashmiri people, killing, raping and brutalising them but their resistance continues,” he said.

Dr Alvi said Pakistan stands with Kashmiris till their right to self-determination is recognized.

“Solution to Kashmir dispute is anchored in UNSC [United Nations Security Council] resolutions. History and time stand with them too,” he said.

The President said no effort by Indian Hindutva oppressive regime could re-write the destiny of Kashmiri people against their will.

UNICEF condemns attack on religious school

Also, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday strongly condemns the attack on a religious school which took place in Peshawar earlier today, reportedly killing at least seven people and injuring more than 75 -- some of them children and teachers.

“Education is the fundamental right of every girl and boy, everywhere. Schools must never be targeted. They must remain safe learning environments at all times to protect the growth and healthy development of children, adolescents and young people,” said UNICEF’s Pakistan Representative Ms. Aida Girma, said a press release. According to several reports, the blast occurred as students were attending an early morning class at Jamia Zubairia Madrasa in the Dir Colony Area of Pakistan’s northwestern city.

This comes two years after an attack on a school in Chitral in October 2018 and a string of attacks on a dozen schools - most of them for girls - in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Diamer district in August 2018.