Islamabad: At least 12 people were killed and 41 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance of Mardan’s district and sessions court on Friday, Deputy Inspector General Mardan Aijaz Khan said.
The Jamaatul Ahrar (JA) claimed responsibility for the attack. The suicide blast comes just hours after gunmen attacked Peshawar’s Christian Colony, which was also claimed by JA. District Police Officer (DPO) Mardan Faisal Shahzad said the attacker detonated a hand grenade before exploding his suicide vest. The bomb contained 8 kilograms of explosive material, the DPO said, adding that security arrangements at the site of the attack helped mitigate the damage.
Rescue 1122 sources confirmed that a police officer was among those killed. An emergency has been imposed at hospitals in the area. People from the legal community have been targeted several times in the last few months. Last month, 73 people, most of them lawyers, were killed after a suicide bomber struck the emergency ward of Quetta’s Civil Hospital. The lawyers had gathered to mourn the death of Balochistan Bar Association (BBA) president Bilal Anwar Kasi in a gun attack earlier in the day.
The Quetta attack was claimed by Jamaatul Ahrar and the militant Islamic State group, but Balochistan Chief Minster Sanaullah Zehri hinted at the involvement of Indian spy agency RAW. The attacks in Peshawar and Mardan come a day after Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa gave an exhaustive rundown of progress made against militants in the country’s northwestern region in Operation Zarb-i-Azb which was launched in June 2014.
He highlighted that Pakistan had suffered a cumulative loss of $106.98 billion in the war on terror between 2001 and 2015. “We are not doing it for anyone but ourselves,” he stressed. He said 3,500 terrorists had been eliminated during the course of Operation Zarb-i-Azb, while 2,272 soldiers were and 537 personnel had embraced martyrdom, including 18 officers, 35 junior commissioned officers and 484 soldiers.