At least 40 people were killed and more than 100 wounded on Sunday, July 30, 2023 as a result of a powerful bomb explosion at the Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI) party workers convention.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a hard-line cleric, is the President of the Jamiat Ulema Islam party. Party officials revealed that Rehman was not present at the rally.
According to Senior police officer, Nazir Khan, the workers convention of Jamiat Ulema Islam party was taking place on the outskirts of Khar, the capital of Bajur district, when the bomb blast occurred.
The JUI workers convention was organized in a hall close to a market but due to the large number of supporters who turned out, tents were later added.
Party volunteers, who donned camel-colored traditional attire called Shalwar Qameez and held batons, served as guards at the rally venue.
Initially, police disclosed that 10 people were killed but later more bodies arrived at a local hospital bringing the death toll to 40. A number of those injured were in critical condition and the death toll could rise.
District health officer, Dr. Faisal Khan said that 40 bodies and 150 wounded from the blast were at Khar’s main hospital.
Some of the wounded were in critical condition and were being transferred to a facility in Peshawar and the adjoining district of Dir.
Maulana Ziaullah, the local chief of Jamiat Ulema Islam party, was among the dead. Senator Abdur Rasheed and former lawmaker Maulana Jamaluddin were also on the stage but escaped unhurt.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police Chief, Akhtar Hayat Gandapur stated that an initial investigation suggested a suicide bomber sneaked into the venue despite the security provided by party volunteers. He iterated that explosives experts were searching the scene to preserve evidence.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State group operates across the border in Afghanistan.
Rasheed, the regional Chief of Rehman’s party, said the attack was an attempt to remove JUI from the field before parliament elections in November but he stressed that such tactics will not work.
Prime Minister Shabaz Sharif, President Arif Alvi and other leaders denounced the attack and asked officials to provide all possible assistance to the wounded and the bereaved families.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman Demands Thorough Inquiry
Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the Jamiat Ulema Islam party Head, has demanded a thorough inquiry into the bomb blast incident from the Prime Minister and the interim Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Many of our fellows lost lives and many more wounded in this incident. I will ask the federal and provincial administrations to fully investigate this incident and provide due compensation and medical facilities to the affected ones.”Maulana Fazlur Rehman
In a post on Twitter, Rehman expressed deep sorrow, as he noted, “We are deeply saddened by the martyrdom of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s workers in Bajaur.”
He stated that they pray for the swift and complete recovery of the wounded.
“We will not let the conspiracies against Islam and Pakistan succeed, and we are ready to offer our lives if needed, InshaAllah,” Rehman added.
Also, Rehman urged his party workers to come forward and donate blood to help the injured victims. Moreover, he advised his supporters to remain calm during this difficult time.
Rehman is considered to be a pro-Taliban cleric and his political party is part of the coalition government in Islamabad.
Meetings are being organized across the country to mobilize supporters for the coming elections.