QUETTA: Pakistan’s prime minister has ordered security to be tightened across the country after multiple bomb attacks killed at least 54 people and injured more than 120 others.
One of Friday’s attacks killed 41 people and injured more than 100 others when two explosions struck a crowded market in Parachinar, a predominantly Shia Muslim area located in the country’s northwest, according to officials.
“Terrorists are attacking soft targets and no Muslim can ever imagine to commit such horrific act,” Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister, said in a statement.
“Such acts of terrorism will be dealt with the full power of the state.”
The blasts, minutes apart, occurred at Parachinar’s Toori Bazar during rush hour on Friday afternoon.
Parachinar is the capital of Kurram, one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts that are governed according to local laws and customs.
“The military sent two helicopters from Peshawar to ferry the ones that are in need of help,” he said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Earlier on Friday, a suicide bombing at a police checkpoint in Quetta, in Balochistan province, killed at least 13 people, at least six of whom were police officers.
Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistan Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent out by its spokesman, Asad Mansoor.
In yet another incident on Friday, armed men in the port city of Karachi, in Sindh province, attacked police officers at a roadside restaurant and killed four of them before fleeing, Asif Ahmed, a senior police officer, told the Associated Press news agency.
The blasts in Parachinar came on the final Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan, just days before Eid-al-Fitr, one of Islam’s holiest festivals.
The third major attack to hit Parachinar this year, the explosions occurred just hours before iftar, when the streets are often crowded with people shopping for food to break their fast with the evening Ramadan meal.
“This happened on the last Friday of Ramadan, just a few days to go before the Eid holiday, so most of the people who were the victims in Parachinar were ordinary shoppers going about their shopping routines and possibly buying gifts for Eid,” Hyder said.
UN chief deplores Quetta, Parachinar bombings
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Friday’s twin bombing at a marketplace in Parachinar, capital of Kurram Agency, and a suicide attack at a checkpoint in Quetta.
“He hoped those responsible for these crimes will be swiftly brought to justice,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
In his statement, Guterres extended his condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery. He also expressed his solidarity with the people and government of Pakistan in its efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism.