37 killed, 92 injured as blasts jolt Pakistan


 At least 36 people were killed and 93 others injured in six terrorist and sectarian attacks across Pakistan over last 24 hours, police said.

In the latest incident on Thursday, unknown gunmen attacked a police checkpost in Peshawar, capital of northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Police said that at least one policeman was killed, two others were injured and several went missing when a group of motorbike riders opened fire at a police checkpost in Badaber area of the city.

Soon after the attack, the body of one of the missing policemen was found in a nearby area, bringing the death toll to two.

In a sectarian attack Wednesday night, 23 people were killed and 62 others including eight children were injured when a suicide bomber hit a procession of Shiite Muslims in the country’s northern city of Rawalpindi in Punjab province, Deeba Shehnaz, spokeswoman of state rescue department, said.

The suicide bomber blew up his explosive-laden jacket in a gathering of over 1,500 Shiite Muslims when police tried to stop him for checking in Misrial area of the city.

Following the blast, the police also recovered seven hand grenades from the site.

Bomb disposal squad said that an estimated four to five kilograms of lethal explosives were used in the attack.

It was the first sectarian attack of its kind in Rawalpindi since the wave of extremism hit the country in 2001.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf and leaders of all political parties condemned the blast.

The President, who himself is a Shiite Muslim, asked the police to beef up deployment in the city.

Four hours before the Rawalpindi attack, three people were killed and 13 others injured as twin blasts hit a Shiite shrine in the port city of Karachi in the country’s southern Sindh province.

According to the police investigation report on Thursday, three people were killed and five others injured in the first blast at about 6:15 p.m. local time on Wednesday when a bomb went off at the main gate of a Shiite Shrine in Orangi Town of the city.

The report said that the bomb was detonated by a remote control device and explosives were fixed at a motorbike.

When police and rescue teams gathered at the blast site to carry out rescue and relief work, another blast took place, injuring eight people including policemen and journalists.

The attacks on Shiite Muslims escalated in the first Islamic month of Muharram during which they observe mourning for the death of the Prophet’s grandson.

Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for both Rawalpindi and Karachi blasts. Ahsan Ullah Ahsan, the spokesperson of Pakistan Taliban, said from an undisclosed location that more attacks would come on Shiite Muslims in the future.

The history of sectarian clashes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims dates back to 1980s in Pakistan but the issue became more serious during the recent years.

According to a report by International Human Rights Watch in September, at least 300 Shiite Muslims have been killed in sectarian attacks across the country since the beginning of this year.

In an earlier incident, four cops were killed when an unknown number of gunmen ambushed a police vehicle carrying four policemen in Jani Khel area in Bannu district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Later, Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

In another terrorist attack in Quetta, capital of the country’ s southwest province of Balochistan, five people were killed and 15 others injured when a remote-controled bomb hit a security convoy, police said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but government and army vehicles often come under attack by the separatist groups who demand more autonomy and a greater share of the province’s natural resources.

The blasts happened when Pakistan is hosting a conference of the developing Muslim countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Iran, Egypt and Turkey.

The D8 (Developing Eight) summit kicked off in Islamabad on Thursday to promote closer trade and economic ties among the Muslim countries.

Security has been beefed up for the conference, and thousands of policemen were deployed in Islamabad where a public holiday has been announced on Thursday.


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