|1 February 2023 PAKISTAN: CSW CALLS FOR INCREASED PROTECTIONS OF PAKISTANIS AFTER SUICIDE BOMB ATTACK|
|CSW has called for increased protections for Pakistani citizens following a terrorist attack on a mosque in Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, on 30 January. According to a spokesperson for Lady Reading Hospital, the death toll from a suspected suicide bomb targeting a mosque in a police compound in the city of Peshawar has risen to at least 100, marking one of the deadliest attacks in the country in years. In a statement on 31 January Peshawar deputy commissioner Shafiullah Khan added that 177 people had been injured, and that 57 of them were still being treated in hospital. Photos and video show walls of the mosque reduced to fragments, with glass windows and panelling destroyed. The attack is the latest sign of the deteriorating security situation in Peshawar, capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, that borders Afghanistan and is the site of frequent attacks by the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP). TTP officials Sarbakaf Mohmand and Omar Mukaram Khurasani initially claimed the blast was ‘revenge’ for the death of TTP militant Khalid Khorasani in August 2022. However, the TTP’s main spokesperson later denied the group was involved in the attack. Pakistan authorities say an investigation is underway and have not confirmed either claim. Peshawar Police Chief Mohammad Aijaz Khan said in a statement to CNN that the blast inside the Police Lines Mosque was ‘probably a suicide attack.’ Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack in a tweet, writing: ‘The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is no less than an attack on Pakistan. The nation is overwhelmed by a deep sense of grief. I have no doubt terrorism is our foremost national security challenge.’ Rights groups have condemned the deadly attack, which has raised fears of fresh violence amid a deteriorating security situation in the country. The attack also comes at a fragile time for Pakistan, which has been grappling with a cost of living crisis amid ongoing food and fuel shortages. CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: ‘As the death toll from Monday’s horrific suicide attack in Peshawar continues to rise, CSW extends our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones, and we hope and pray for a full recovery for those still fighting for their lives. We urge the government of Pakistan to implement its 2014 National Action Plan to counter violent extremism and terrorism in order to increase protections for all citizens from such deadly attacks.’|
|For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press and Public Affairs Team Leader at CSW on +44 (0)782 332 9663 or email [email protected]. |
CSW is a human rights organisation specialising in freedom of religion or belief. We work on over 20 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. www.csw.org.uk
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