Blast rocks NW Pakistan’s Peshawar, several killed

December 6, 2009

At least three people were killed and 14 others were injured as a blast rocked an office building and a neighboring restaurant in northwest Pakistan’s Peshawar on Saturday.

People gather around burned cars at the blast site in Peshawar, northwest Pakistan, Dec. 4, 2009. At least three people were killed and 15 others were injured in a powerful explosion near a restaurant on University Road in Peshawar on Saturday. More than 20 shops and several cars were destroyed due to the blast and fire.(Xinhua/Umar Qayyum)

The explosion occurred in the United Plaza on University Road in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Many lawyers and other professionals have their offices in the plaza while Afghan refugees also reside in nearby residential block.

Shafatullah Malik, chief of local Bomb Disposal Squad, told reporters that the blast was caused accidentally in a paint shop located at the ground floor of the building. He said that no proofs about use of explosives were found from the blast site.

Earlier, District Coordination Officer of Peshawar Sahibzada Muhammad Anis confirmed that the blast was a car bomb blast.

Eyewitnesses also said that a suspected car which was parked there for a long time blew up with a loud explosion. Afterwards, some low intensity blasts were also heard.

Firefighters extinguish fire at the blast site in Peshawar, northwest Pakistan, Dec. 4, 2009. (Xinhua/Umar Qayyum)

Witnesses said that soon after the blast the building caught fire and the smokes are seen billowing from the building.

Many tenants were stranded in the building as it caught fire after the blast and later were evacuated by the local people. According to NWFP Inspector General Malik Naveed, all the trapped people in the building have been evacuated.

More than 20 shops and several cars were destroyed due to the blast and fire. Heavy black smoke caused by the fire surrounded the blast site and created hurdles in relief activities.

The relief teams including Fire Brigade and police and ambulances arrived on the spot. The injured are being rushed to the nearby Lady Reading Hospital.

Police have also cordoned off the area while the firefighters are engaged in extinguishing fire.

The University Road area is a commercial site, where many offices including those of lawyers and custom agencies and handicraft shops are situated at this plaza.

Pakistan has been suffering almost daily attacks in recent days. At least 36 people, including a major general, a brigadier, a colonel, two lieutenant colonels, two majors, three soldiers and 17 children, were killed and 83 others were injured when two Taliban suicide bombers, aided by two gunmen, ripped through a mosque in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, during Friday prayers.

VietNamNet/Xinhuanet

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