By Kamran Chaudhry
Church leaders in Pakistan are offering condolences to the victims of an explosion that killed seven people at a religious school in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province today.
At least seven people, including four students, were killed and more than 70 injured in the blast at the Jamia Zuberia madrasa in Dir Colony of Peshawar, close to the Afghan border.
The madrasa was known for having links with Afghanistan. Video footage posted by social media users shows Islamic scholar Haqqani reciting the Quran before collapsing in a fiery blast.
According to police, an improvised explosive device was hidden in a bag inside the madrasa.
Father Nasir William, director of the Commission for Social Communications in Islamabad-Rawalpindi Diocese, condemned the blast.
“My condolences with Muslim siblings who were decorating streets and mosques for Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, this Friday. Our hearts are heavy seeing the books covered in ash and bodies in a holy place,” he told UCA News.
“The unrest started since opposition parties initiated an anti-government movement. The ongoing terrorism is not planned like the past. This is an attempt to fail the image of the country amid Financial Action Task Force (FATF) evaluation.”
Last week FATF in its virtual plenary meeting decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list after the Imran Khan-led government failed to comply with all 27 parameters of the world’s top anti-terrorism monitoring organization.
“The Covid-19 pandemic had already shattered our peace. Worshippers are slowly returning to places of worship following the lockdown. This is so wrong,” said Father Sohail Patrick of St. Michael’s Church in Peshawar.
Last month two blasts in Nowshera and Mardan Pakhtunkhwa cities of the Northern Province killed nine people and injured 18.
On Oct. 25, three people were killed after a bomb blast ripped through a market in Quetta, the capital of restive Balochistan province, where opposition parties staged a rally to oust PM Khan over his alleged failure in handling the country’s economic crisis.
Khan condemned the bombing and asked authorities to ensure the provision of the best possible medical aid to the victims.