Peshawar: 889 killed, 2,072 hurt in 61 suicide attacks this year
PESHAWAR: Suicide bombings in 2008 surpassed the last year’s figures, with 61 attacks so far killing at least 889 people and injuring 2,072 others, a source in the investigation agencies disclosed. The total number of suicide blasts in Pakistan since 2002 has risen to 140 todate while 56 bombers had struck last year. In one such attack, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, whose first death anniversary would be observed on December 27, was killed in Rawalpindi. At least, for 29 times, suicide bombers struck in the NWFP, while 16 others hit their targets in the adjacent Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) during the current year. Swat topped the list of districts where 11 suicide bombers hit targets, killing 101 people and injuring 294 others. Four suicide bombers struck in Peshawar in 2008, killing 99 and wounding 226 others. Punjab witnessed 10 suicide blasts with five in Lahore alone. Three suicide bombers hit their targets in the federal capital during the year. One of these attackers targeted the Danish embassy.
Apart from the killing of three alleged bombers in Karachi, no suicide attack took place in the entire Sindh province. A single incident was reported in Balochistan when a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing a young girl student and injuring 22 persons in Quetta on September 23.
With 29 suicide attacks in 2008, the number of these incidents in the Frontier reached 57 in the last three years — 2006, 2007 and 2008. Twenty-three of these blasts ripped through different towns of the NWFP in the previous year while 29 blasts occurred in the current year.
Apart from 60 suicide bombers, who accomplished their mission, 12 were those who were caught by the security agencies before hitting their targets. They are still being interrogated in police custody. The Marriott blast, which is considered as Pakistan’s worst-ever act of terrorism, occurred during the current year.
The tragedy is being termed as 9/11 of Pakistan where around 60 people were killed and over 200 wounded on September 22. Damage to the infrastructure was horrible. President of the Awami National Party (ANP), Asfandyar Wali Khan, survived a suicide attack at his Hujra on October 2, 2008, where three of his guests and a guard were killed.
The Koocha Risaldar blast in Peshawar in December is being considered the worst terrorist attack in the provincial capital. As many as 34 people were killed and around 120 wounded in the incident. The blast triggered a fire that engulfed several buildings in the area to cause millions of rupees losses to local shopkeepers and residents.
All the tribal agencies, Khyber, Mohmand, Bajaur, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan and South Waziristan have witnessed either one or more suicide attacks during the year 2008. The districts and towns where suicide attacks occurred during the current year include Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Bhakkar, Attock, Peshawar, Mardan, Parachinar, Swat, DarraAdamkhel, Landikotal, Bannu, Bara, Dera Ismail Khan, Dir Upper, Buner, Charsadda, Hangu and Quetta.