Accessibility links

Twin Blasts Kill Dozens In Northwest Pakistan

  • RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Pakistani officials say a double bomb explosion at a market has killed at least 42 people and injured more than 100 in the country's restive northwest.

The blasts took place on September 29 in the busy Qissa Khwani market near a police station in the city of Peshawar, toppling buildings and setting shops and cars ablaze.

A spokesman for the main city hospital said at least 107 people were wounded. The dead included at least 15 members of a family who had come to the city from a nearby village to make wedding arrangements.

The Pakistani Taliban has denied responsibility for the attack.

Zaheerul Islam, a deputy city commissioner, told RFE/RL that investigators were attempting to determine whether a car had been used for the explosion.

"They are collecting evidence to find out what kind of and how much explosives were used," Islam said. "But I can tell you, it was a huge blast."

An eyewitness said the explosions took place around 11 a.m. local time.

"We couldn't see anything; everything turned dark," he said. "People were running around. There were dead bodies everywhere. There were no ambulances. People had to carry the wounded in their cars and on bikes."

A second man said he watched helplessly as a car carrying women and children burst into flames. "They burned to death in front of our eyes," he said.

WATCH: Rescue Efforts Under Way At Site Of Market Blasts

Local police said six children and two women were among the dead. One Peshawar resident said he lost 13 family members in the blast.

"My sisters, my wife, my sons, and my cousins are among the dead," he said. "Out of my entire family, only one of my sisters remains alive. This morning, they were wearing beautiful clothes because they were going to a wedding."

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, strongly condemned the blast.

"Those involved in the killing of innocent people are devoid of humanity and all religions," Sharif said in comments released by his office.

The September 29 attack was the third major bombing to hit Peshawar in the past week.

A twin suicide attack at a Peshawar church on September 22 killed 82 people, sparking nationwide protests by Pakistan’s Christian community.

On September 27, a bomb hit a bus carrying government employees, killing 18 people.

The violence comes as the government looks to open peace talks with the Pakistan Taliban.

But Nusrat Begum, a Peshawar resident who witnessed the Qissa Khwani blast, was skeptical that much would change.

"Nothing is going to happen regarding the prevention of such killings, because these attacks have taken place in the past and no one has come forward to be held accountable," she said. "No one is coming forward to ask why these atrocities are taking place."
With reporting by dpa and AFP