Zeroing in on terrorist network behind Peshawar attack: KP police chief

IG KP Police Moazzam Jah Ansari says he is in pain as well urges people not to "provoke" his force

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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Inspector General of Police Moazzam Jah Ansari addressing a press conference on February 2, 2023. — Screengrab/PTV News
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Inspector General of Police Moazzam Jah Ansari addressing a press conference on February 2, 2023. — Screengrab/PTV News

  • IG police vows to avenge every drop of blood of martyrs.
  • Says suicide attacker was in a police uniform.
  • Asks people to end speculations and let police do its job.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Inspector General of Police (IGP) Moazzam Jah Ansari on Thursday while refuting all the conspiracies that emerged regarding the suicide attack in Peshawar pleaded to the people not to "provoke his force".

Speaking during a press conference in Peshawar about the blast, Ansari revealed that they have found the network of terrorists behind the attack.

"We will avenge every drop of blood of our martyrs," assured KP's top cop.

He added that the police has acquired the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the suicide bomber in which he can be seen in a police uniform, riding a motorcycle and wearing a face mask.

"The explosion was so powerful that the shockwaves did not find ways to escape, hence, forcing the roof of the mosque to collapse," said the IG Ansari. He added that the mosque also lacked pillars and everyone in the mosque at the time of the attack came under roof debris. 

The KP police chief said that close to 10-12kgs of trinitrotoluene (TNT) was used in the attack. 

“It took us 26-28 hours to clean up. We could have done cleaning in mere two hours. But our first target was to look for survivors then we went towards extracting the martyrs,” said IG Ansari. 

While talking about the people spreading rumours, Ansari urged them not to create hurdles in the police work

“We want to deliver to our families and our children. Do not make the bodies of our loved ones a subject of politics. Kindly end the speculations and let us do our work," said IG Ansari. He added that he will share all details once the investigation is complete.

The IG assured that he would avenge the deaths of the people martyred in the blast but appealed for time to complete the investigation. 

While explaining the time taken in the investigation, the police chief said that it takes one person 24 hours to scan a day's footage and 100 people are required to look at all cameras. He also shared that he himself had seen the footage of the suicide bomber. 

“I have seen his face in the CCTV [footage] and we have crosschecked. He is dressed in a police uniform with a casual jacket. He was wearing a helmet on a motorcycle. We have also traced the bike and we are in the stage of tracing further details,” he said.

"We are close to [tracing] the network of terrorists behind the attack," said IG Ansari.

While expressing his grief over the attack caused due to the security lapse, IG Ansari said: “I blame myself for the security lapse. My jawans are all my children. They did not stop the bomber as they considered it him one of their own as the bomber was in a police uniform.”

He shared that the bomber entered the mosque at 12:37pm, adding that he asked one of the police constables about the mosque. He added taht his question indicates that he was unaware of the place and was sent by someone to carry out the attack.

He further noted that: “There’s a complete network behind him. He is not a lone ranger. We will talk with the evidence in hand. We are burning the midnight oil in this investigation and we are exploring every possibility.”

Regarding the provocation, he said: “We were busy in funeral preparations and the conspiracies were attempted to provoke our people to launch a protest. If they take the law into their own hands then who would be the law enforcer in the streets?”

“My people do not need the protection of anyone because they are the protectors. Some nefarious elements have made this issue controversial. I have conveyed to everyone that your way is not of protest but help in finding the bomber,” he concluded.

Monday's attack on a mosque in the Police Lines area of Peshawar was the deadliest in a decade to hit the restive city near the Afghan border and comes amid a surge in violence against law enforcement agencies. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the colossal blast.

The blast martyred more than a 100 and injured over 200.

The bomber struck as hundreds of worshippers gathered for noon prayers in a mosque that was purpose-built for the police and their families living in a highly fortified zone.