August 20, 2008

Taleban Claim Responsibility for Suicide Blast in Northwest Pakistan Hospital

Text of report by official news agency Associated Press of Pakistan (APP)

Peshawar, 19 August: A suicide bomber blew himself up at Emergency Ward of District Headquarters Hospital D I Khan killing 29 people and injuring 35 others mostly relatives of slain Basit Ali who had gathered in the ward to mourn his death, District Police said.

The bomber ripped through the gathering of mourners in the hospital as the body of Basit Ali was brought to hospital soon after his assassination, IGP [Inspector General of Police] NWFP [North- West Frontier Province] Malik Naveed Khan told reporters.

The injured also included five policemen including DSP [deputy superintendent of police] Headquarters Malik Mushtaq.

The bomber targeted relatives and well-wishers of slain Basit Shah who was shot dead by unknown terrorists at Faqiri Chowk earlier in the day. The people had gathered around his dead body when the bomber blew himself up.

Taleban Spokesman in D I Khan accepted the responsibility for the blast and warned to carry out more such explosions if operations in Swat and Bajaur were not halted. The spokesman informed the media men through telephonic talk.

District Police Officer D I Khan, Nasir Mehmood Sathi told APP that legs of the suicide bomber have been found and evidence was collected from the site of explosion. He said that a high level probe committee has been constituted to probe the tragic incident.

However independent sources claimed that 25 people were killed in the deadly blast that rocked the area. The DPO [district police officer] said condition of DSP Mustaq was stable.

The dead also included two sons of Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah, Sub Engineer Chashma Right Bank Canal Syed Fajdar Ali and Syed Haider Ali, school student. Both had gone to the hospital to get information about the killing of Basit Ali.

Others who were killed in the blast are Naseer Shah, Tahir Abbas Shah, Muhammad Suhail Anjum, Amjad Ali Shah, Rajab Ali Shah, Fazal Shah, Akbar, Muhammad Ali Shah, Madad Ali Shah son of Syed Inayat Ali Shah, DSP, Muhammad Taqi Shah, Alamdar Hussain, Zeeshan Ali, Saghir Abbas, Nazakat Ali, Constables Munawwar Shah and Muhammad Bilal.

The explosion was so powerful that human flesh of the victims was littered the Emergency Ward as some bodies were beyond recognition. The bang of explosion was heard at long distance as the thick smoke engulfed the area.

The mobile of the victims were ringing while the injured were crying due to severe wounds as there are reports about shortage of doctors and medicines in the hospital.

People were seen shifting their wounded relatives to private hospitals due to scarcity of doctors, nursing staff and medicines in government hospitals in DI Khan.

Emergency has been imposed in hospitals while doctors on leave were called in for duty. Police have cordoned off the area and nobody was allowed to enter the hospital.

The District Administration imposed section 144 in the district and banned gathering of five people and pillion riding with immediate effect until further orders.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister NWFP Amir Haider Khan Hoti, Deputy Speaker in National Assembly, Faisal Karim Kundi and NWFP ministers have strongly condemned the suicide blast and expressed their profound grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives.

The chief minister directed the hospitals to take extra care to ensure early recovery of the injured and prayed for rest of the departed souls in eternal peace and grant of courage to bereaved families to bear this loss with patience.

The chief minister directed the law enforcing agencies to ensure the arrest the elements responsible for this brutal act of terrorism. He said that writ of the government will be established at all costs and the elements behind it would be punished.

Originally published by Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Islamabad, in English 1531 19 Aug 08.

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