Images of KP sports minister Aqil Shah celebrating today’s hockey victory was so hearting. Aaqil Shah survived a massive bomb attack during closing ceremony of Inter-Provincial games in November 2008.
Aqil Shah and PPP KP President Zahir Shah were inside the Qayyum stadium when blast took place. Earlier this week, KP Information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain was celebrating cricket tournament played in memory of his late son in Mardan.
4 killed in suicide attack at Peshawar sports stadium
Bashir Bilour’s two guards among the dead
* Police say they had taken precautions
* Bomber had 8kg explosives strapped to his body
PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber blew himself up at a packed Qayyum Stadium in Peshawar on Tuesday, killing four people and wounding 13.
The attack was made as fireworks marked the conclusion of the weeklong 3rd Inter-Provincial Games, bringing a gloomy end to the event that marked a revival of cultural activity in the terror-hit province.
NWFP Governor Owais Ghani had just left the venue and and senior minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour was on his way out, NWFP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain told reporters.
Two other provincial ministers – Syed Aqil Shah and Syed Zahir Ali Shah – about 1,200 athletes and 200 officials were in the stadium.
“Among the dead there is one policeman and three civilians,” senior police official Abdul Qadir Qadir said.
Bashir Bilour – the apparent target – said that two of his guards were among the dead and three had been injured. “I got a new life,” he told Daily Times. Politicians of Bilour’s Awami National Party have been targeted in the past by Taliban and the party’s chief Asfandyar Wali Khan narrowly survived a suicide attack last month.
Precautions: “The bomber was stopped by the police and when he failed to enter the stadium he blew himself up at the gate,” provincial police chief Malik Naveed told reporters.
“We had some intelligence and took precautionary measures, that’s why he could not enter the stadium,” said Naveed, adding the blast could be linked to the unrest in the Tribal Areas.
Bomber: The bomber was a young man of around 20 and had explosives strapped to his body, bomb disposal officer Hukam Khan said. Investigations SSP Ghulam Muhammad said seven or eight kilogrammes of explosives were used in the attack.
A witness told Daily Times that he was standing near the gate when a young man wearing a chador tried to enter the stadium. “When the policemen asked him to leave, he ran towards the stadium. Then I heard a loud explosion and there was smoke all around.”
Human limbs and a hand – apparently of the suicide bomber were seen on the site. Nearby cars were damaged.
The injured were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital and Combined Military Hospital. One of the injured was a policeman. Emergency has been declared in all the hospitals of the city.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the bombing.
“Such cowardly acts will not deter the government from its determination to fight the menace of terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations,” Zardari said in a message.
In a separate message, Gilani “reiterated the government’s resolve to fight terrorism and militancy till the elimination of this menace from the country and society”. manzoor ali shah/agencies