Pakistan blast: Videos show the moment bomb goes off at Bajaur rally killing 44 | World News - Hindustan Times
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Pakistan blast: Videos show the moment bomb goes off at Bajaur rally killing 44

Jul 31, 2023 06:26 AM IST

The blast targeted the JUI-F party led by an influential firebrand cleric as hundreds of supporters congregated under a canopy in the town of Khar.

At least 44 people were killed and nearly 200 wounded after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a political rally of the Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) in a former stronghold of militants in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Sunday.

People gather at the site of a bomb blast in Bajaur district on Sunday. (AFP)
People gather at the site of a bomb blast in Bajaur district on Sunday. (AFP)

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Watch: Moment When Pak Suicide Bomber Blew Himself Up At Bajaur Rally; Blast As Pro-Taliban Leader Arrives

Hours after the blast, several videos surfaced online showing the moment of the explosion. In one of the videos, a large gathering can be purportedly seen listing to an address by a leader when the explosion occurred.

This video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised

In another video, the blast took place close to the stage where several senior leaders of the party were sitting while one of them was addressing the rally.

The blast targeted the JUI-F party - which is a government coalition partner led by an influential firebrand cleric - as hundreds of supporters congregated under a canopy in the town of Khar.

“The tent had collapsed on one side, trapping people who were desperately attempting to escape,” news agency AFP quoted Abdullah Khan, who tried to help the victims, as saying.

The Bajur district near the Afghan border was a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban — a close ally of Afghanistan’s Taliban government — before the Pakistani Army drove the militants out of the area. Supporters of hardline Pakistani cleric and political party leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, whose JUI-F generally supports regional Islamists, were meeting in Bajur in a hall close to a market outside the district capital. Party officials said Rehman was not at the rally but organisers added tents because so many supporters showed up, and party volunteers with batons were helping control the crowd.

Officials were announcing the arrival of Abdul Rasheed, a leader of the Jamiat Ulema Islam party, when the bomb went off in one of Pakistan’s bloodiest attacks in recent years.

Suicide bomber detonates explosives

Provincial police said in a statement that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives vest close to the stage where several senior leaders of the party were sitting. It said initial investigations suggested the Islamic State group — which operates in Afghanistan and is an enemy of the Afghan Taliban — could be behind the attack, and officers were still investigating.

The Pakistan Taliban, or TTP, said in a statement sent to news agency The Associated Press that the bombing was aimed at setting Islamists against each other. Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Afghan Taliban, said on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that “such crimes cannot be justified in any way.”

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    Have 11 years' experience in print and digital media. Write on politics, defence and world affairs, and have a keen eye for human-interest stories.

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