Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Army Chief Gen. Asim Munir comfort an injured victim of suicide bombing, during their visit to hospital, in Peshawar. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Pakistan observed a day of mourning and the national flag was flown at half-mast as families began to lay to rest their loved ones lost in a horrific bombing.

The death toll from the devastating Peshawar bombing reached 100 on Tuesday, officials said. The attack is one of Pakistan’s deadliest in years.

A massive rescue and recovery operation ended on Tuesday afternoon after the bomber at a mosque in the northwestern city killed as many as 100 people, mostly police officials.

More than 150 people are also injured in the powerful blast on Monday. Some 350 worshipers were gathered for the Zuhr (noon) prayer when the bomber set off his explosives.

The powerful blast ripped through the mosque compound and blew off part of the roof, which soon caved in, injuring many more, said Zafar Khan, a police officer. Rescuers used devices that de-tect heartbeats to retrieve those trapped in piles of rubble overnight and early Tuesday.

On Monday night, collective funeral prayers for 27 policemen were offered in Peshawar’s Police Lines. There is mourning across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as these policemen came from several dis-tricts of the province.


Counter-terrorism police are investigating how the bomber got inside the mosque which is located within a high-security zone.

The Police Lines area in Peshawar is secured where many law enforcement agencies and government offices are situated. The caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan has constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the attack.

Security lapse

KP Inspector General (IG) Mauzzam Jah Ansari said that “a security lapse is also being investigated”. Ghulam Ali, the provincial governor of KP, also told reporters that “it was a security lapse.”

Security experts have also pointed out “negligence” and said there should have been more security at the police compound.

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Pakistan's security officials gather to attend funeral prayers for police officers who were killed in a mosque blast inside the police headquarters in Peshawar. Image Credit: AFP

Shortly after the explosion, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of the banned militant organization Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack. Hours later, TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khurasani distanced itself from the bombing. Pakistan has recently seen a surge in militant attacks claimed by TTP, which ended a ceasefire with the government in November.

Widespread condemnation

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who along with Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Asim Munir, visited the injured in hospital, vowed “stern action” against those behind the attack. “The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is no less than an attack on Pakistan,” he said in a tweet.

Opposition leader and former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also expressed his condolences, calling the bombing a “terrorist suicide attack.” Khan said, “It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering and properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the bombing “particularly abhorrent” for targeting a place of worship. Condemnations came from United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Afghanistan, and India.

In an official statement, the UAE gov-ernment said it “strongly condemned” the terrorist bombing that targeted a mosque and ex-pressed condolences to the people and to the families of victims of this heinous crime, and wished speedy recovery to the injured. The official Saudi statement denounced the attack, tar-geting places of worship and terrorising and shedding the blood of innocent people.

United States, Canada, Australia, and several European countries including Germany, France, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Denmark, expressed their horror at the terrorist attack and sent prayers and condolences to the victims. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken extended his condolences while describing it as a “horrific attack”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that “My thoughts are with the victims and those who are grieving during this terribly difficult time.”