Search:
 
  Peshawar: Death toll reaches to more than 78 in church attack
 
Share |

23/09/13  PESHAWAR: A pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a 130-year-old Anglican church in Pakistan after Sunday Mass, killing at least 78 people in the deadliest attack on Christians in the predominantly Muslim country.

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

Within hours of the attack, Sharif toughened his stance considerably but fell short of calling for outright military action against insurgents holed up in tribal areas on the Afghan border – an option supported by Pakistan’s all-powerful army.

“Such incidents are not conducive of peace talks,” Sharif said in televised remarks. “Unfortunately, because of this, the government is unable to move forward on what it had envisaged, on what it had wished for.”

Explosions struck the historic white-stone All Saints Church in the city of Peshawar, near the frontier tribal areas where Islamist militants have their strongholds, as hundreds of parishioners, many of them women and children, streamed out of the building.

“I heard two explosions. People started to run. Human remains were strewn all over the church,” said one parishioner, who gave only her first name, Margrette.

Her voice breaking with emotion, she said she had not seen her sister since the explosions ripped through the area around the gate of the church enclosure.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the death toll of 78 included 34 women and seven children, in remarks televised live from Peshawar. More than 100 people were wounded.

“Who are these terrorists killing women and children?” Nisar said.

The Taliban-linked militant group TTP Jundullah claimed responsibility within hours of the attack.

“They are the enemies of Islam, therefore we target them,” said the group’s spokesman, Ahmed Marwat. “We will continue our attacks on non-Muslims on Pakistani land.”

TURNING POINT?

An assault of such scale and audacity could be a turning point for Sharif after months of inconclusive efforts to engage the Pakistani Taliban in talks, offering him a cue to give in to the tougher approach backed by the military.

The army, which keeps thousands of troops in the tribal belt, an area where insurgents are based, opposes talks with the Pakistani Taliban, saying previous attempts to bring the militants to the negotiating table yielded no results.

Christians make up about 4 percent of Pakistan’s population of 180 million, and tend to keep a low profile in a country where Sunni Muslim militants frequently bomb targets they see as heretical, including Christians and Sufi and Shi’ite Muslims.

Attacks on Christian areas occur sporadically around the country but Sunday’s assault, in a densely populated Christian residential area in the old walled city in Peshawar, was the most violent in recent history.

Some residents, enraged at the lack of adequate security at the church, took to the streets immediately after the attack, burning tires and shouting slogans.

Shops were closed in the Kohati Gate area where several other churches are located.

“Terrorists have not spared mosques, temples and churches. Please have mercy on us,” one man outside the church, his face distorted by fear and anger, told Pakistan’s private television channel.

Protests by Christians were also reported in other cities including Multan and the violent port city of Karachi.

A bomb disposal source said two blasts had been set off by a pair of attackers. More than 600 parishioners were inside the church for the service.
 
 
More News
 


Traffic police have decided to launch a campaign against vehicles lacking functional headlights and indicators.

read more
 
 

Polling for second phase of local bodies election on as many as 27 seats in federal capital Islamabad is underway today (Saturday).

read more
 
 

At least three vehicles collided on a highway owing to dense fog while traffic came to halt on national highway in Sadiqabad.

read more
 
 

Legal and constitutional experts on Friday have severely criticized Sindh Prosecution Service Amendment Bill 2015 and declared it as a mini National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

read more
 
 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed Pakistan would eradicate "evil" honour killings as he congratulated director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on her Oscar nomination for a harrowing documentary on the practice.

read more
 
 

 

 







Federal Minister for Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique on Saturday pointed out that Pakistan Railways requires at least 1,000 locomotives and 12 billion dollars to transform it into a best train service.

read more


CNG stations will remain shut in Sindh on second consecutive day, Tuesday and will reopen on Wednesday morning after 48 hours of closure.

read more


Oil prices rose modestly on Monday as dealers focused on hopes for a Greek bailout deal and a possible return of Iranian supplies to an oversupplied global market.

read more


Oil prices fell in Asia Monday after OPEC decided to maintain its high output levels, while traders were also weighing the possible return of Iranian supplies that have been curtailed by international sanctions against Tehran, analysts said.

read more


The greenback bought 101.46 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade.

read more
 
 

Copyright © 2012 www.pakwatan.com . All rights reserved.
Powered By Pakwatan-e-Services International