Death toll in Pak blasts rises to 57
The death toll from a pair of bombings at a market in a Shiite-dominated region of northwest Pakistan on Friday rose to 57, officials said yesterday.
Around 167 people were wounded in the attacks in the town of Parachinar, which sits in the Kurram tribal area that borders Afghanistan to the west, hospital official Shabir Hussain and Shiite leader Hamid Ali said.
There was no claim of responsibility, but authorities have blamed militant groups belonging to the Sunni Muslim majority for previous gun and bomb attacks against the Shiite minority.
Ali said the market was full of Shiites, who were buying items for their evening meal that breaks the daytime fast during Ramadan. “We demand protection. We request the government to take action against those who routinely kill our people,” he said.
Another doctor Zahid Hussain earlier said the dead bodies quickly overwhelmed Parachinar's main hospital. “We have no place to keep the wounded,” he said. “Many of them are lying on the hospital floor and on the lawn.”
One bomb was believed to have been planted on a motorcycle, according to Police spokesman Fazal Naeem Khan. The second bomb detonated about four minutes after the first, about 365 meters away from the initial blast, according to government official Javed Ali.
Said Hussain, who was in the area where the second blast struck, reported seeing a boy shout “God is great!” moments before the blast. Pakistan is a majority Sunni Muslim state, with around 15 per cent of the population Shiite. Most Sunnis and Shiites live together peacefully in Pakistan, though tensions have existed for decades.