At least 25 people were killed and more than 30 injured in an explosion in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Friday, said Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari. The blast took place outside a religious seminary in the Lower Orakzai area of the town of Hangu, said unidentified security officials.
A suicide bomber drove a motorcycle into the crowd gathered at a festival being held at the market and detonated the explosive, Reuters reported. “It was a suicide blast at the festival that takes place every Friday,” said Abbas Khan, the assistant commissioner of the district said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing yet.
KDA hospital’s medical superintendent Farooq Shah, however, pegged the toll at 30 and number of injured at 31, Dawn reported.
The wounded have been shifted to a hospital for treatment. The area has been cordoned off and an investigation is under way, Geo News reported.
The assistant commissioner said three Sikh community members and two security officials are among the deceased. Sikhs are a minority in the nation.
Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan condemned the attack, claiming that militants are unable to tolerate peace in the region, Dawn reported. “To target innocent citizens is inhumane,” he added. Khan also directed all hospitals to remain on high alert and provide quality care to the wounded.
Mazari said the toll could rise. “As the US fails in Afghanistan, Pakistan should be prepared for fallout and we must ensure greater security for our tribal areas especially protection of our people,” she tweeted.
Orakzai used to be a semi-autonomous region in Pakistan and is home to the ethnic Pashtun tribal people.
Earlier in the day, two police personnel were killed and one was injured after gunmen opened fire outside the Chinese consulate in Karachi. Three to four men attempted to enter the consulate and started firing after security guards stopped them.
A separatist insurgent group called the Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack in Karachi, Reuters reported.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attacks and “vowed to crush the terrorists”. “I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Chinese consulate in Karachi and in Orakzai tribal area,” the prime minister tweeted. “My prayers go to the victims and their families. Salute the brave security/police personnel who gave their lives and denied success to terrorists in the mission against the Chinese consulate.
The prime minister said both these attacks are part of a “planned campaign to create unrest in the country by those who do not want Pakistan to prosper”.