Death toll from Pakistan attacks rises to 73

The death toll from twin blasts in the northwestern town of Parachinar climbed to 55 overnight, bringing the overall death toll from three separate attacks in Pakistan on Friday to 73, with several others in critical condition.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

People gather along a road as smoke billows after twin blasts at a market in Parachinar, capital of Kurram tribal district, on June 23, 2017.

The death toll from multiple attacks in Pakistan rose to over 70, officials said on Saturday, a day after the bomb and gun assaults in three cities shook the country.

Authorities said 55 people were killed and more than 250 wounded when twin blasts tore through a market in Parachinar, capital of Kurram district in Pakistan's tribal belt. 

Officials in Quetta said the number of dead had risen by one to 14 after a blast in the southwestern city which targeted police. Ten policemen were among those killed.

Also on Friday, gunmen riding motorcycles shot dead four policemen, spraying bullets at them while they were eating dinner at a roadside restaurant in the port megacity of Karachi.

An administration official in Kurram, Nasrullah Khan, said the death toll in the Parachinar attack could rise dramatically.

"A total of 216 people were injured in the twin blasts. Some 106 are still under treatment in a local hospital," Nasrullah said.

"62 other seriously wounded people have been shifted to Peshawar," he added. 

Pakistani government and security officials offer prayers during the funeral of security personnel killed in an explosion targeting a police vehicle, in Quetta. Source: AFP

Video footage after the attack showed civilians dragging bleeding victims outside to waiting ambulances in the chaos that came when the bombs exploded in Parachinar before the sundown meal breaking the daily Ramadan fast.

Nasrullah said that the first blast detonated as the market was crowded with shoppers preparing for the Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of Ramadan.

"When people rushed to the rescue the wounded, a second blast took place," he said.

​Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for security to be beefed up across the country as he condemned the attack, saying that no Muslim could ever imagine committing such a "horrific" act.

Militant group claims responsibility

A faction of Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi on Saturday claimed responsibility for the Parachinar attacks.​

Jamaat ul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed the Quetta and Karachi attacks. Daesh also claimed the Quetta attack through a messaging network.

Pakistan's military said late Friday it had tightened security across the country, including at the Afghan border, following the attacks.

"Enemy trying to mar festive mood of nation through such coward acts. Shall fail against resilience of Pakistan," Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was quoted as saying in a tweet from the chief military spokesman.

Improved security?

Pakistan has waged a long war with militancy, but security has markedly improved in the country since its deadliest-ever terror attack, an assault on a school in northwestern Peshawar in which Taliban gunmen left more than 150 people dead, most of them children.

That attack shocked a country already grimly accustomed to atrocities, and prompted the military to intensify an operation in the tribal areas targeting militants. 

Parachinar was the location of the first major militant attack in Pakistan in 2017, a bomb in a market which killed 24 people and was claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban. 

The army has also been fighting in mineral-rich Balochistan province, since 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed.

TRTWorld and agencies