Another blast rocks Pakistan

32 killed as suicide attacker detonates car bomb in a crowded market

Tuesday’s blast is the latest in a series of deadly attacks since the army launched an offensive against the Taliban in the restive tribal belt last month.

The explosion occurred in Farooq-e-Azam Chowk, the main commercial area of Charsadda town, shortly after 4:20 pm local time.

The area was crowded at the time of the blast. “Thirty two were killed and over 50 wounded in the explosion,” Charsadda district police chief Riaz Mohammad Khan told reporters, describing the blast as a suicide attack.

However, some witnesses said the explosion was caused by a bomb planted in a car parked in the market. Doctors at Charsadda’s main government-run hospital said 33 of the injured had been admitted for treatment while more than a dozen in critical condition were sent to Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province (NWFP).  Rescue workers said they feared that several people could still be buried in the rubble of shops that had collapsed.

District police chief Khan said he and a group of policemen had passed through the market minutes before the blast. Khan also said he and the local police had recently received threats from militants. A witness said he had seen several injured elderly people and school children whose clothes were stained with blood.

Dozens of shops and residential buildings and several cars were devastated by the blast. The windows of the office of Geo News channel were blown out by the explosion. The police cordoned off the area as local residents and rescue workers rushed the injured to hospitals in Charsadda and Peshawar.  An emergency was declared in the hospitals. Footage on television showed that several shops, most of them restaurants, were completely destroyed.

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