Islamabad, Sep 23: At least 78 people were killed and 106 wounded in Pakistan’s Peshawar city after two suicide bombers blew themselves up near a church where worshippers had gathered for Sunday mass service, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported.
Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of the bomb disposal squad Shafqat Malik said that two bombers exploded themselves up in the church during Sunday prayers, killing at least 78 people and injuring 106. Eye witnesses said the bombers were wearing police uniforms.
The dead include 34 women and seven children in the attack at the historic 130-year-old white-stone All Saints Church at the Kohati Gate area of the city, Information Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Shah Farman said.
The provicial government, Bishop Churches of Pakistan and several politicial parties have announced three days of mourning to condemn the blasts.
The national flag would be flown at half mast at the all official buildings in the provincial capital, the minister said.
The provincial government has announced Rs.500,000 each for the next of kin of those killed in the blast and Rs.200,000 each for those injured.
The Sindh government has also announced same compensation amount for those affected by the blasts.
The two bombers, each carrying around six kg of explosives around their bodies, detonated themselves amidst the congregation mass of 500-600 worshippers in the church, a senior government official told reporters.
The blasts sparked widespread protests by the Christian community across the country.
In Peshawar, Christians resorted to violence by burning tyres chanting slogans against the provincial government.
The situation in Peshawar city is still tense and the law enforcers have barricaded major roads.
Enraged Christian protestors also pelted stones at the Lady Reading Hospital over what they called poor state of health facilities.
The bodies of the victims have been taken to the nearby Saint John Cathedral where the last rituals of the victims will be held.
Meanwhile, Reverend of the Cathedral Ijaz Gill, who was also injured in the blast, told APP that the church building has been damaged by theblasts.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the blasts in Peshawar and expressed his deep sorrow and shock over the loss of precious
human lives, APP reported.
Sharif said terrorists have no religion and targeting innocent people was against the teachings of Islam and all religions.
He expressed solidarity with the Christian community, sympathised with the bereaved families and prayed for the early recovery of those injured in
President Mamnoon Hussain also expressed deep sorrow and grief over the killings and said the perpetrators of such a heinous crime would not be