PESHAWAR / ISLAMABAD: A bomb hidden in a bag ripped through a crowded bazaar in a mainly Shia area of northwestern tribal region Sunday, killing at least 23 people and wounding more than 30, officials said.
The death toll was expected to rise after the explosion at the Eidgah used-clothes market in Parachinar, the capital of Kurram Agency on the border with Afghanistan.
“The death toll has reached 23 as many of the critically wounded succumbed to injuries as they were being shifted to helicopters to fly them to Peshawar,” Amjad Ali Khan, the political administrator of Kurram, told AFP.
“Some of the injured are in critical condition and we are planning to send them to Peshawar and Kohat for better treatment,” Shafiq Hussain, a health worker at the Agency Headquarters Hospital said.
It could not be ascertained immediately whether the blast was a suicide attack or a remote-controlled blast. Security forces have cordoned off the area and are investigating.
Security sources were of the view that the explosion was carried out through a planted device, adding that two suspects had been taken into custody from the blast site.
An emergency has been imposed at DHQ Parachinar.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif have condemned the blast.
Kurram is one of the most sensitive tribal areas as it borders three Afghan provinces and at one point was one of the key routes for militant movement across the border. It has witnessed scores of such attacks and kidnappings for ransom incidents in the past several years. Parachinar is the administrative headquarters of the agency near the Afghan border.