22 September 2013
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomb attack on a historic church (All Saints’ Church), in Peshwar, Pakistan killed at least 100 people and wounded over 120 Sunday, officials said, in one of the worst assaults on the country’s Christian minority in years.
(All Saints’ Church (built 1883); located inside the Kohati Gate of the old walled city of Peshawar in Pakistan is an architecturally unique place of worship that bears a striking resemblance to an Islamic saracenic mosque with minarets and a dome.
The Church was opened on St. John’s Day, 27 December 1883. The foundation stone was laid by Captain Graves whose widow presented the brass desk on the Lord’s Table. A plaque on a wall records: “This church is erected to the Glory of God and dedicated to the memory of All Saints in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 1883.”)
The bombing underlines the threat posed by Islamic extremists as the government seeks a peace deal with domestic Taliban militants.
It occurred as worshippers were coming out of the church in Peshawar city following services to get a free meal of rice offered on the front lawn, said a top government administrator, Sahibzada Anees.
It was not immediately clear whether one or two suicide bombers carried out the attack.
Witnesses said they heard two blasts, the second more powerful than the first. One police officer, Zahir Shah, said he believed both blasts were caused by suicide bombers.
The dead included several women and children, said Sher Ali Khan, a doctor at a hospital in Peshawar where the victims were being treated.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion will likely fall on one of the country’s many Islamic militant groups. Islamic militants have been blamed for previous attacks on the Muslim country’s Christian minority, as well as Muslim groups they consider heretics.
Islamic militants have carried out dozens of attacks across the country since Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took office in June, even though he has made clear that he believes a peace deal with the largest group, the Taliban, is the best way to tamp down violence in the country.
Pakistan’s major political parties endorsed Sharif’s call for negotiations earlier this month. But the Taliban have said that the government must release militant prisoners and begin pulling troops out of the northwest tribal region that serves as their sanctuary before they will begin talks.
National Leaders Condemn Attack On Church In Peshawar
Various leaders including President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, MQM chief Altaf Hussain, Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf chairman Imran Khan, Jamaat e Islami chief Munawar Hasan and ANP chief Asfandyar Wali condemned this act of terrorism expressing anger and deep grief over the incident
The Spokesperson for Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Chief Minister Shiraz Paracha told that,” CM Pervez Khattak has ordered health department to provide best of the facilities to the victims.” He further said that,”The government will take action against those involved in negligence while responding to the blasts.”
While PTI chairman Imran Khan has advised Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to,” immediately reach Peshawar and personally oversee the rehabilitation work.” The Khyber Pakhtunkhawa government has ordered an investigation into the suicide attack. The Provincial information minister said,” PTI leadership was present in Islamabad for a party meeting is now returning to Peshawar.”
Commissioner Peshawar has verified the reports that around 600 to 700 people were present inside the church at the time of the blast. In condemnation former ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman called on the government to,” immediately announce an end to peace talks.”
Iftikhar Hussain -former information minister visited the hospital and condemned the attack. He said,” the provincial leadership should realise that the war against terrorists is Pakistan’s war.”
PML-N Leader and Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif condemned the suicide attacks in Peshawar saying “So sad and angry to learn about the blast near a church in Peshawar.”
Shaukat Yousufzai the Provincial health minister sternly condemned the attack and said that, ”The perpetrators should not call themselves Muslims after committing such a heinous act.”
Dr. Tahir ul Qadri Chief of Minhajul Quran International (MQI) said,”We strongly condemn Peshawar blast. This corrupt electoral and so-called democratic system has failed to provide security to the people.”