CHARSADDA: At least 16 people were killed and more than 20 others injured on Monday when a suicide bomber hit the gates of a local court building in Shabqadar tehsil of Charsadda district in northwestern Pakistan, police and hospital officials said.
The large explosion rocked a District and Sessions court building in Shahbqadar town, which lies close to Mohmand Agency in the militancy-hit Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
According to police, the suicide attacker attempted to enter the court building but detonated his explosives when he was stopped at the gates by policemen.
“Policemen were deployed here for security duty. The bomber tried to force himself inside the court. He had a weapon and fired shots before blowing up his explosives,” DIG Saeed Wazir, who said the injured included five police constables.
Hospital and police officials confirmed at least 20 people were wounded in the attack. “A woman constable was also injured in the blast,” said DSP Fayyaz Khan, who confirmed the explosion was a suicide bombing.
Eyewitnesses described a huge explosion at the scene.
"We were sitting with a lawyer when a huge explosion took place in the sessions court," said Gohar Khan, a local police officer who was at the scene.
A large contingent of army and other law-enforcement personnel had arrived at the location following the blast, and the injured were shifted to the Tehsil hospital and the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.
PM condemns terrorist attack
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the terrorist attack in Shabqadar. In a statement issued from the PM’s Office, the prime minister extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.
He said that the countless sacrifices by law enforcement agencies in the fight against terrorism will not go in vain. He said the nation is united in its commitment to wipe out menace of terrorism from our soil.
PM Sharif lauded the brave police officials who embraced martyrdom in the line of duty in Shabqadar today.
Security was beefed up in Shabqadar following the attack, with entry and exit routes of the tehsil closed down. Shabqadar is adjacent to the Mohmand tribal area, which has seen several attacks in recent days.
On March 1, a remote-controlled roadside bomb targeted a convoy of vehicles travelling in Mohmand, killing two Pakistani employees of the United States Consulate in nearby Peshawar.
About two weeks earlier, on Feb 18, Taliban gunmen killed nine paramilitary personnel in two separate attacks on checkposts in Mohmand.