June 2017 Pakistan attacks

On 23 June 2017, a series of terrorist attacks took place in Pakistan resulting in 96 dead and over 200 wounded. They included a suicide bombing in Quetta targeting policemen, followed by a double bombing at a market in Parachinar, and the targeted killing of four policemen in Karachi.[1][2][3]

June 2017 Pakistan attacks
Part of the insurgency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
June 2017 Pakistan attacks is located in Pakistan
Location of incidents shown in the map of Pakistan.
LocationQuetta, Parachinar and Karachi, Pakistan
Date23 June 2017
TargetLaw enforcement personnel and civilians
Attack type
Suicide car bombing, targeted killing
WeaponsBombs, including car bomb and explosive belt
DeathsQuetta - 14
Parachinar - 78
Karachi - 4
InjuredQuetta - 20
Parachinar - 200+
Karachi - 1
ISIL – Khorasan
Ansar al-Sharia Pakistan

Responsibility for the Quetta attack was claimed by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and ISIL,[4] while no group accepted responsibility for the Parachinar attack.[5] According to the military, both attacks were coordinated from terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan.[6]

Background edit

The attacks followed earlier blasts that had occurred in Quetta and Parachinar in 2017: Quetta on 13 February[7] and 21 April; and Parachinar on 21 January and 31 March.[8] In response to these and other attacks, the Pakistani military had launched Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad in February which aimed to eliminate the "residual/latent threat of terrorism".[6] A period of relative calm followed in between, although Balochistan witnessed minor violence in June when three security personnel were injured from an improvised explosive device targeting their vehicle, and two sailors were killed after their vehicle was targeted in Jiwani.[2]

The bombings were carried out on Jumu'atul-Wida, the last Friday of the Hijri month of Ramadan before the Eid ul-Fitr celebrations.[5][9]

Attacks edit

Quetta bombing edit

Earlier in the day, a suicide car bombing took place at 08:45[10] at the Shuhada Chowk on Quetta's Gulistan Road targeting policemen.[11] The attacker rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a peripheral wall of the Inspector General of Police Ehsan Mehboob's office, but it failed to explode. The policemen present at the site, unaware of the fact that the car was rigged with explosives, recovered the vehicle from the wall and brought it to Shuhada Chowk. They ordered the driver — the would-be bomber, to get down and began searching the vehicle. The bomber refused to descend and instead triggered the explosives.[4]

At least 14 people including seven policemen were killed; 20 others including four military personnel, a woman, and a girl were injured. A checkpoint on Mission Road Chowk was destroyed by the blast. Two four-wheelers, rickshaws and motorcycles each were also destroyed and a vehicle carrying military personnel was damaged in the bombing. The shock-wave of the blast smashed windows of several buildings in the neighbourhood[12] and brought down the walls of a nearby girls' school.[4]

Parachinar bombings edit

Hours after the bombing in Quetta, two back-to-back blasts hit the Turi Market near Tal Adda in Parachinar city of FATA's Kurram Agency. Parachinar is a predominately Shia-populated town, located near the Afghan border.[8] The first blast took place in the evening around 17:00 local time in Turi Market, located just outside of the city's recently designated Red Zone. The explosive device was planted in the market, where many people were busy shopping for Eid. The second explosion targeted rescuers and bystanders, as they rushed to help the survivors of the first blast. A suicide bomber detonated the explosives strapped to his body.[13] At least 72 people were killed and more than 200 others were injured in the twin bombings.[14][15][2][16]

Karachi targeted killings edit

Separately in Karachi, unidentified gunmen opened fire on four policemen whilst they were observing iftar in the evening at a roadside restaurant in SITE, killing them on the spot.[17]

Response and aftermath edit

In Quetta, the local police, Balochistan Constabulary and Frontier Corps personnel cordoned off the area. The casualties were shifted to the Civil Hospital where a state of emergency was declared. The injured military personnel were driven to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Quetta. At least five of the injured sustained life-threatening injuries.[4] The funeral prayers for the seven policemen were offered at the Police Lines, Quetta.[4]

In Parachinar, security forces sealed off the affected area and conducted a search operation in the adjoining areas following the blast. A state-of-emergency was imposed across all hospitals in Parachinar.[16] According to the ISPR, the Pakistan Army dispatched two helicopters from Peshawar to Parachinar "for the speedy evacuation of the injured to Peshawar" and airlifted 15 critically injured.[8][13]

Investigation edit

According to Bomb Disposal Squad officials, 90 to 95 kilograms of explosives were used in the Quetta car bombing.[4][18] While according to the Director General of Civil Defence, 75 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.[11] Authorities examined CCTV footage of the area to understand further details of the incident.[19] According to Balochistan's Home Secretary Dr Akbar Harifal, security had been beefed up in Quetta and other areas of the province following the attack.[4]

According to the Director-General of ISPR, Major General Asif Ghafoor, security and surveillance of the Pakistan–Afghanistan border was enhanced with stringent actions against illegal border crossers, in the aftermath of the Parachinar attack.[13]

Counterterrorist operations edit

On 24 June, police and military sources reported that five terrorists were killed and nine security personnel injured during an intelligence-based operation in Peshawar's Chamkani and Mathra areas. A "high profile terrorist commander" was reported amongst those killed.[20]

Responsibility edit

Asad Mansoor, a spokesman of the banned Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (a Tehrik-i-Taliban splinter group), claimed his group was behind the Quetta bombing, while the militant Islamic State (ISIL) group also claimed responsibility, saying that one of its followers had carried out the attack.[4] ISIL also released a photograph of the alleged attacker, identified as Abu Othman Khorasani.[21][22] Anwarul Haq Kakar, a Balochistan government spokesman, said India had a role in the attack in Quetta.[11][23]

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Parachinar attack.[5] Pakistan's interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said such incidents always took place whenever Pakistan's border with Afghanistan was opened up. He added: "It is important that we police our borders effectively and protect them from outside threats."[2]

In Karachi, pamphlets belonging to an unknown militant group — Ansar al-Sharia Pakistan — were found on the crime scene.[17]

On 24 June, army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa chaired a high-level meeting in Rawalpindi and called on Afghanistan to "do more" in the fight against terrorism. According to the ISPR, the attacks in Quetta and Parachinar were linked to terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan which enjoyed the "patronage of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) and India's spy agency Research and Analysis Wing".[6][24]

Reactions edit

Domestic edit

In Parachinar, protesters raided the Parachinar Press Club and severely wounded five journalists. The police then resorted to aerial firing to defuse the situation.[13]

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif condemned the terrorist attacks, and ordered for security measures to be tightened across the country.[25] Sharif reiterated that "such acts of terrorism will be dealt with full power of the state" and added that "terrorists are attacking soft targets, and no Muslim can ever imagine to commit such horrific acts."[3][15] President Mamnoon Hussain, Senate chairman Raza Rabbani, Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, Balochistan governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, former president Asif Ali Zardari and other figures also issued statements denouncing the terrorist incidents.[19]

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan condemned the attacks, terming them "attacks against the nation". Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto also condemned the blasts, sending "prayers for the bereaved families".[25]

International edit

  •   United Nations: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the Quetta and Parachinar bombings and extended his condolences to the victims' families. He expressed "hopes [that] those responsible for these crimes will be swiftly brought to justice".[26]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Pakistan: Bombings in 2 cities kill at least 38". CNN. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Parachinar, Quetta mourn amidst rising death toll from attacks". Dawn. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  3. ^ a b "PM condemns Parachinar bombings". Samaa TV. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Zafar, Mohammad (23 June 2017). "Suicide car bombing kills 13 in Quetta". Express Tribune. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Masood, Salman (23 June 2017). "Bombings in Pakistan Kill Dozens, Putting Country on Edge". New York Times. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Time for other stakeholders in fight against terrorism to do more: COAS". Dawn. 24 June 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  7. ^ Zafar, Mohammad (13 February 2017). "Two killed in Quetta IED blast". Express Tribune. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Akbar, Ali (23 June 2017). "At least 30 dead, 100 injured in twin explosions in Parachinar". Dawn. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Tragedy strikes again". Dawn. 24 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  10. ^ Hashim, Asad (23 June 2017). "Police office attacked in deadly Quetta suicide blast". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Shah, Syed Ali (23 June 2017). "13 killed in suicide attack on Quetta's Gulistan Road". Dawn. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Pakistan: 11 dead after car bomb near police chief's office in Quetta". The Guardian. Associated Press. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d Hussain, Mehdi (23 June 2017). "Parachinar wrecked by back-to-back blasts". Express Tribune. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Anger grows in Parachinar after three attacks in six months". Dawn. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Death toll in Parachinar and Quetta attacks passes 80". Al Jazeera English. 24 June 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Parachinar incident: Death toll reaches 43, several injured". Samaa TV. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  17. ^ a b Khan, Faraz (23 June 2017). "Four policemen martyred in Karachi gun attack". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Pakistan day of violence: Scores killed and injured". BBC News. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Multiple terror attacks across Pakistan leave 62 dead, 100 injured". Indian Express. 24 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  20. ^ Farhan, Hassan (24 June 2017). "Five 'terrorists', including commander, killed in Peshawar operations". Dawn. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  21. ^ Ali, Zulfiqar (23 June 2017). "Attacks in three Pakistani cities leave at least 56 people dead, many injured". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  22. ^ Abdul, Sattar (23 June 2017). "At Least 40 People Killed in 3 Bomb Attacks in Pakistan". TIME. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  23. ^ "Pakistan bombings: 42 killed, 121 injured in triple blasts in Parachinar, Quetta; Balochistan govt blames India". First Post. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Nawaz confident of better ties with Afghanistan". Dawn. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  25. ^ a b Afzaal, Ali (24 June 2017). "Death toll from twin blasts in Parachinar rises to 57". Geo TV. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  26. ^ "Pakistan: UN chief condemns separate deadly bomb attacks". UN News Centre. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2017.