Death toll in Pakistan suicide bombing rises to 54 as families hold funerals, police say

KHAR: The dying toll from an enormous suicide bombing that focused an election rally for a pro-Taliban cleric rose to 54 Monday, as Pakistan held funerals and the federal government vowed to seek out these behind the assault.

Nobody instantly claimed duty for Sunday’s bombing, which additionally wounded almost 200 individuals. Police stated their preliminary investigation prompt that the Islamic State group’s regional affiliate might be accountable.
The victims had been attending a rally organized by the Jamiat Ulema Islam get together, headed by hard-line cleric and politician Fazlur Rehman. He didn’t attend the rally, held beneath a big tent near a market in Bajur, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan.

Rehman, who has lengthy supported Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities, escaped at the very least two identified bomb assaults in 2011 and 2014, when bombings broken his automotive at rallies.
Victims of the bombing had been buried in Bajur on Monday.
As condolences continued to pour in from throughout the nation, dozens of people that acquired minor accidents had been discharged from hospital whereas the critically wounded had been taken to the provincial capital of Peshawar by military helicopters. The death toll continued to rise as critically wounded individuals died in hospital, doctor Gul Naseeb stated.
On Monday, police recorded statements from a few of the wounded at a hospital in Khar, Bajur’s largest city. Feroz Jamal, the provincial data minister, stated police had been “investigating this assault in all points.”
At the least 1,000 individuals had been gathered beneath a big tent Sunday as their get together ready for parliamentary elections, anticipated in October or November.
“Individuals had been chanting God is Nice on the arrival of senior leaders, once I heard the deafening sound of the bomb,” stated Khan Mohammad, a neighborhood resident who stated he was standing exterior the tent.
Mohammad stated he heard individuals crying for assist, and minutes later ambulances began arriving and taking the wounded away.
Abdul Rasheed, a senior chief in Rehman’s get together stated the bombing was aimed toward weakening the get together however that “such assaults can not deter our resolve.”
Islamist teams have lengthy had a presence in Bajur. The district was previously a base for Al Qaida and a stronghold of the outlawed Pakistani Taliban, often called Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP. The military declared the district away from the group in 2016 following a collection of offensives.
The IS regional affiliate, often called the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, relies in neighboring Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province and is a rival of the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaida.
Shaukat Abbas, a senior police officer, stated that police have made progress of their investigation, however didn’t present particulars.
Pakistani safety analyst Mahmood Shah advised The Related Press that breakaway factions of the TTP may be behind the assault. He stated some TTP members have been identified to disobey their prime management to hold out assaults, as have breakaway factions of the group.
Shah stated such factions may have perpetrated the assault to trigger “confusion, instability and unrest forward of the elections.”
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is anticipated to dissolve Pakistan’s parliament in August.
Rehman’s get together is a part of Sharif’s coalition authorities, which got here to energy in April 2022 by ousting former Prime Minister Imran Khan via a no-confidence vote within the legislature.
Sharif referred to as Rehman to precise his condolences and guarantee the cleric that those that orchestrated the assault can be punished. The bombing has additionally drawn nationwide condemnation, with ruling and opposition events providing condolences to the households of the victims. The U.S. and Russian embassies in Islamabad additionally condemned the assault.
Khan condemned the bombing Sunday.
The Pakistani Taliban additionally distanced themselves from the assault, saying that the assault aimed to set Islamists in opposition to one another. Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Afghan Taliban, wrote in a tweet that “such crimes can’t be justified in any approach.”
The bombing got here hours earlier than the arrival of Chinese language Vice Premier He Lifeng in Islamabad, the place on Monday he was to take part in an occasion to mark a decade of the China-Pakistan Financial Hall, a sprawling bundle beneath which Beijing has invested billions of {dollars} in Pakistan.
In latest months, China has helped Pakistan keep away from a default on sovereign funds. Some Chinese language nationals have additionally been focused by militants in northwestern Pakistan and elsewhere.
Sunday’s bombing was one of many 4 worst assaults in northwestern Pakistan since 2014, when 147 individuals, largely schoolchildren, had been killed in a Taliban assault on an army-run college in Peshawar.
In January, 74 individuals had been killed in a bombing at a mosque in Peshawar. And in February, greater than 100 individuals, largely policemen, died in a bombing at a mosque inside a high-security compound housing Peshawar police headquarters.

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