PESHAWAR: Angry residents of a northwestern Pakistani city that was rocked by a Taliban bombing protested today with the bodies of those killed in the attack, slamming the security lapse and demanding action against the perpetrators of the assault.
The Pakistani Taliban yesterday targeted a Shiite imambargah in Parachinar, Kurram Agency, with a powerful car bomb, killing at least 24 people and injuring over 100 others at a crowded market. Parachinar residents protested with the bodies of those killed and demanded immediate action against those involved in the attack.
All trading, shopping centres, markets, bazaars, government and private institutions were closed as part of a protest against the bombing. The Tori and Bangash tribes which held the protests later called off their demonstration after negotiations with the administration.
The protesting tribesmen asked the administration how the explosives-laden car entered the agency despite tough security arrangements and presence of a number of security check posts. Tribal elders and representatives of the political administration negotiated for two hours following the protests. Members of the armed forces and religious scholars were also part of the negotiations, Geo News reported.
Later, protesters moved the dead bodies of those killed in the attack to the central imambargah for the last rites following which they were buried in their hometowns. The local tribes have announced three days mourning.
Medical superintendent at the agency headquarters hospital said he received 135 injured people of whom 37 were airlifted to Peshawar and over 40 were being treated in Parachinar. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Kurram Agency is considered one of the most sensitive tribal regions as it borders three Afghan provinces and was once the main route for cross-border militant activity. The blast was the latest in a series of attacks targeting the minority Shias in the Sunni-majority Pakistan.
Pakistan, a country of nearly 200 million, has lately been rattled by a number of deadly terrorist and sectarian attacks. Last month, more than 125 people were killed and another 300 injured in a series of suicide attacks across the country, including the one in Lahore and another on the popular Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sindh.
Pakistani security forces retaliated with a crackdown, killing dozens of terrorists and destroying militant hideouts along the border with Afghanistan. Pakistan army has launched operation 'Radd-ul-Fasaad' (elimination of discord) to defeat terrorists and consolidate the gains of its counter-terrorism operations across the country.