Today, on Saturday, a blast killed at least 20 people and injured 50 others at a vegetable market in northwest Pakistan’s restive Kurram Agency.
The powerful blast took place at the crowded Sabzi Mandi inside Eidgah Bazaar in Parachinar, the administrative headquarters of the agency near the Afghan border.
Preliminary reports suggest that explosive kept in a vegetable crate blew up during auction of the vegetables making the causalities. According to the officials, the decease toll is expected to increase since the market was crowded because of early morning rush.
Security personnel rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area. A search operation has been started.
The injured were shifted to Parachinar headquarters hospital. There was a shortage of doctors and medical facilities.
The improvised explosive device (IED) blast took place at 8.50 am in the vegetable market, said the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement.
It said, “Army and FC Quick Response officials have reached the blast site and cordoned off the area. Army helicopters have been flown in for medical evacuation of the injured.”
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan chided the attack and ordered a thorough report about the incident.
Kurram is one of the most sensitive tribal areas because it borders three Afghan provinces and at one point was one of the key routes for terrorist movement across the border. It has witnessed a plenty of attacks.
Parachinar has a large Shia population and in the past the minority community was targeted through bombings. In December 2015, a bomb hidden in a bag ripped through a crowded bazaar in a mainly Shia area of the northwestern tribal region, killing at least 23 people and injuring more than 30.
A few days before, police killed Asif Chotu, chief of banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) near Lahore in Punjab province. He was on Pakistan’s most wanted militant list and carried a reward of Rs 3,000,000 on his head.
LeJ was founded in 1996 as a militant offshoot of Sipah-i-Sahaba, a Sunni sectarian group that emerged in mid 1980s. LeJ has claimed responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of civilians, mostly minority Shia Muslims.