ISLAMABAD: At least 44 people, including a local leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), were killed and more than 200 injured on Sunday in a blast that ripped through a crowded JUI-F workers’ convention in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur district, police and rescue workers said.
According to reports, explosion took place inside a hall located in a market near the Dubai Mor area of Bajaur’s Tehril Khar, where the JUI-F convention was under way.
Maulana Ziaullah, the emir of the JUI-F party in Tehsil Khar also died in the explosion.
Saad Khan, the district emergency officer in Bajaur region, confirmed the casualties including the death of Maulana Ziaullah. Rescue workers said they feared the number of casualties would rise, with authorities also fearing that the number of fatalities may increase.
“I condemn the blast in the strongest words. I want to send a message to those responsible: If you call this jihad, you are mistaken. This is fasaad and outright terrorism. This is an attack on humanity, the state and region of Bajaur. This is not Islam, but a grave injustice against Islam and its followers,” JUI-F senior leader Hafiz Hamdullah told a local news channel.
The JUI-F leader demanded that the state and concerned authorities investigate the attack, and the government use all means possible to provide treatment to the injured.
As soon as the news of the blast was reported, the police and rescue agencies rushed to the scene to provide assistance, and the injured were shifted to nearby hospitals for medical treatment.
The DIG of police in Malakand division has said that they are currently gathering information about the exact nature and cause of the blast.
In the aftermath of the incident, law enforcement agencies have cordoned off the area, and investigations are underway to determine the cause and motive behind the explosion.