TTP boasts responsibility for attack; Bilour laid to rest
Asfandyar says ‘not every man with a beard is a Taliban
Banned outfit Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the Peshawar suicide attack that killed senior Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour and 19 others late Tuesday night.
Haroon Bilour was targeted at an electioneering gathering in the Yakatoot area. He was contesting the election from the PK-78 constituency.
The ANP leader’s funeral – held at Wazir Bagh on Wednesday was attended by the ANP’s central leadership, including Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, hundreds of party workers and supporters. Leaders from other political parties, including QWP’s Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao and PPP’s Humayun Khan were also in attendance.
Condolences poured in late in the night and continued until Wednesday afternoon. Politicians and celebrities alike condemned the incident and said that ‘Bilour was a brave son of a brave father’. Shehbaz Sharif, Miftah Ismail and various other personas expressed their grief over the incident.
The blast took place on Tuesday when Bilour arrived at the site of a corner meeting. He suffered serious injuries and was shifted to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) where he succumbed to his wounds.
Rescue teams and law enforcement agencies rushed to site after the blast. Police and bomb disposal officials collected evidence from the blast site and initiated an investigation into the incident.
“According to our initial investigation, it was a suicide attack and Haroon Bilour… was the target,” said Additional Inspector General Shafqat Malik. He said that an initial probe suggested that a young boy blew himself up at the main entrance of the gathering when Bilour entered the venue.
Meanwhile, the death toll was initially reported to be 13, but it rose to 20 overnight, according to Lady Reading Hospital Spokesperson Zulfiqar Ali Baba Khel.
Police arrested a suspect from the hospital. The suspect was among the wounded who were shifted to the hospital by rescuers, police sources said.
The body of Haroon Bilour was later shifted to Bilour House where ANP workers gathered in large numbers to pay respect to their deceased leader. The funeral prayers of nine blast victims were offered on Wednesday morning and were laid to rest at Rehman Baba graveyard.
Peshawar Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Qazi Jameel said that the provincial police chief has constituted a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe into the incident. The team has been tasked to submit its report within a week.
The deputy inspector general of the Counter-Terrorism Department is heading the JIT. A First Information Report has been filed in by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).
Law enforcement personnel have also launched a search operation in the city.