The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Bajaur suicide blast in Pakistan on Monday, which killed 54 people, including 23 children, according to Al Jazeera. On Sunday, an election rally was targeted in a bomb attack in Pakistan’s border district of Bajaur, injuring nearly 200 people. According to Al Jazeera, Amaq, the news arm of the armed group, said in a statement, “A suicide bomber from the Islamic State [ISIL] detonated his explosive jacket in the middle of a crowd in the city of Khar.”
About 400 members of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) party, a key government coalition partner led by hardline politician Fazlur Rehman, were waiting for the speech to begin when an attacker detonated an explosive-laden jacket near the stage. done. The meeting was held under a huge tent near a market, but Rahman decided not to go. As Al Jazeera reports, Rehman has previously survived at least two explosions at political rallies in 2011 and 2014.
Police on Monday took testimonies from some of the injured at a hospital in Khar, Bajaur’s largest city. Provincial Information Minister Firoz Jamal said police were “investigating all aspects of this attack.” According to the police, a First Information Report on the blast was lodged with the Counter Terrorism Department on Monday as preliminary investigations indicated that the terror group ISIS was responsible for the suicide attack. The suicide bomber detonated his explosives when JUI-F members and supporters gathered in the city of Khar near the border with Afghanistan. According to the official, the conference started at 2 pm and the blast took place at 4:10 pm.
According to Geo News, an FIR has been registered by KP CTD against unknown persons on suspicion of terrorism, murder, attempt to murder and other offences. According to Shaukat Abbas, Additional Inspector General of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), around 10-12 kg of explosives were used in the blast. According to a Geo News report, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman asked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and KP’s interim chief minister Azam Khan to investigate the incident.
The United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia have condemned the terrorist attack and expressed their condolences to the affected families. Since last year, when a ceasefire between Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamabad broke down, attacks by extremists have increased in Pakistan. Earlier this year, over 100 people were killed in the Peshawar mosque blast, Geo News reported. According to a recent report by the United Nations Security Council, the TTP is considering forming an entity with Al Qaeda that would accommodate all terrorist organizations operating in South Asia. Although cross-border militancy continues, Pakistan has long blamed Afghanistan for failing to fulfil its promise to ensure that its soil would not be used for terrorism in Islamabad.