Peshawar blast kills 38, injures 100

PESHAWAR: At least 38 people were killed and 100 others sustained injuries in a blast in Peshawar’s Qissa Khwani area on Sunday, a week after a bombing at a church in the city killed scores, police and hospital authorities said.

Islamist violence has been on the rise in Pakistan in recent months, undermining Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's efforts to tame the insurgency by launching peace talks with the Taliban.



                       

The blasts hit outside a police station in an area crowded with shops and families. Police said it appeared at least one of the explosions had been a car bomb.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

A crowd gathered outside the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, where many of the victims had been taken. Distraught relatives frantically tried to dial mobile phone numbers of those caught up in the blasts but were unable to get through.

Women sobbed as ambulances pulled up with more bodies.

"Who is burning Peshawar, who is burning Peshawar?" screamed one woman in a long headscarf.

Shopowner Sher Gul said he had made repeated trips on his motorbike to bring six people to hospital. Gul cursed a provincial government minister who came to visit the victims.

"Why have you come so late?" Gul shouted.

The blasts follow an attack by a Taliban faction on Peshawar's Anglican church last Sunday that killed more than 80 people, the deadliest attack on Christians in predominantly Muslim Pakistan.

The Taliban have repeatedly rejected Pakistan's constitution and have called for the full implementation of Islamic law and for war with India.

Sharif is due to meet Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later on Sunday, only hours after Singh described Pakistan as the "epicenter of terrorism in our region".

Another Pakistani politician, former cricket player Imran Khan, has suggested the Taliban might open an office in Pakistan to negotiate but the suggestion drew an angry response from those caught up in Sunday's blasts.

"The government wants to open an office for the Taliban? What office? They are killing us, for how long do we have to suffer like this? I have no hope," said Waheed Khan as he searched for his nephew, a rickshaw driver, among the dead and wounded.

 

                                
                                 MSP

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