Four of a family killed in Pakistan rocket attack
A rocket attack claimed four lives in Pakistan's troubled Peshawar city, the severest hit city of the country in the ongoing wave terror acts. The dead include a woman and her three children -- two girls and a boy.
PESHAWAR: At least four persons were killed including a woman and her three children as a rocket, fired from an unknown location, landed on her house in Bhanddi Pura locality early on Wednesday, Geo news reported.
Police sources told media, the incident took place early on Wednesday morning at 5am when a rocket fired from unidentified location hit the house of Amanullah, resulting in the deaths of his spouse and three children including two girls and a boy.
Meanwhile, the residents of area together with police have recovered the dead bodies from rubble, police sources told media.
Also, police claimed registration of FIR against anonymous assailants.
The historic city of Peshawar is suffering immensely because of suicide attacks, fatal explosions, rocket barrages, kidnapping for ransom and almost every kind of terrorism for the last four years.
The dwellers of once known as the City of Flowers have offered enormous sacrifices for the security of Pakistan in the ‘war against terror’ launched by the US and Nato forces against al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11. Unfortunately, Pakistan was forced to become an ally of the US in this war that could not be won in eight long years with now it becoming seemingly clear that it could never be won.
Recalling the history of the recent wave of terrorism in the city, one knows about few small bomb blasts in Cantonment, near the Lady Reading Hospital, on GT Road and near the headquarters of paramilitary Frontier Corps in Balahisar Fort during the last half of 2006. The top security authorities at that time downplayed these incidents. Even they denied the occurrence of some blasts and argued the bangs were either that of gas cylinder or because of some fault in electricity transformers.
The terrorists then struck with a huge blast opposite the Frontier Corps headquarters on GT Road to cause several casualties and injuries to many a few moments before the Iftar time to confirm their presence and strength.
The first suicide attack in the walled city was reported on January 27, 2007 in Dalgaran on 7th of Muharram. Those killed in the first-ever suicide attack in Peshawar included the-then capital city police officer Malik Mohammad Saad, a deputy superintendent of police, two union council nazims, a deputy nazim, while several senior police officers were among the wounded people.
The terrorists then struck every nook and corner of the capital city of the Frontier province, the softest high-profile target, with suicide bombings, rocket attacks and blasts.
The extent of the sacrifices of Peshawar and its dwellers in this war could be gauged from the statistics of terrorism incidents in 2009 as around 20 out of the total 80 countrywide suicide blasts, few of which were later declared planted or car bombings, ripped through the parts of Peshawar while over 65 of the total over 490 explosions occurred in this capital city of Pakistan’s troubled Frontier province.
The attacks on Peshawar, especially suicide bombings, recorded sharp increase after the Pakistan Army launched military operation in North Waziristan in 2006. The last quarter of 2009 would be remembered as a nightmare for the residents of Peshawar when they witnessed suicide attacks with short intervals with five major bombings occurring in only eight days. The latest victim of the suicide bombings in Peshawar was media. A suicide bomber blew himself up at the Peshawar Press Club on December 22 to fix the media for their anti-terrorist stance.
Before the media, the general public including women and children, senior and junior cops, army and paramilitary soldiers, businessmen and industrialists, politicians and almost every section of life fell victim to the longest spell of violence during the last over three years.
Attendance at schools, particularly that for girls in rural and suburban areas, is at the lowest after many of the institutions have been bombed. Trade activities are on the decline and entertainment opportunities are seen nowhere.
“One remains worried until all the members of his or her family return home safe and sound in the evening. Worries start the next morning when children leave for schools and adults for their workplaces. This is part of our lives now,” says Ismail Ilyas, a senior citizen. “I never witnessed such testing times in my life in Peshawar before 2009.”
Over three million population of the city, which is under threat from three sides for sharing boundaries with the volatile tribal areas, have developed a number of psychological disorders after losing their loved ones, visiting the blast sites and wounded persons in hospitals and watching and reading in the media daily about the terrorism. The staff members of hospitals in the city remain standby round the clock to rush to their duty in case of any blast.
Peshawar suffered the worst bombing of 2009 in the country on October 28 when a car blast ripped through the crowded Meena Bazaar, trade hub in the interior city. Over 120 innocent men, women and children were killed in the blast and over 200 were wounded while over a dozen have neither been found dead nor wounded.
Other major terrorism incidents included the bombing in Pearl Continental Hotel on June 9, which forced the foreigners to leave the city, the blast at Soekarno Square on October 9, a blast in Barrisco, a suicide attack on Special Investigation Unit of police in Swati Phatak area, the killing of MPA Alamzeb Khan in a blast in Momin Town, suicide attack on anti-militant nazim (mayor) Abdul Malik, etc.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the NWFP information minister, believes their house – Peshawar -- could be secured only by specifically targeting the terrorist hideouts in tribal areas.
The miseries of the dwellers of Peshawar have, however, not ended yet. Innumerable threats to the city and its people are there and would end only when the ‘war against terror’ would come to an end, which seems impossible for the coming many years.
To counter the threats, novel security measures have been taken in and around the city, which has been divided into three zones for the purpose. Several main roads in the city have been permanently blocked by constructing walls on both ends. When one goes through 105 security checkpoints of police and dozens of others set up by the army, he feels to be travelling in a war-hit city.
The residents of the city have been directed to keep their original national identity cards and documents of their cars with them otherwise they could be stopped for long to be quizzed at security checkpoints. Many have even stopped driving their own cars and prefer to travel in cabs to avoid the strictest checking across the town.
Terrorists, however, succeed in hitting their targets despite all these security measures.
“This is not humanly possible to check each and every vehicle. We have only 20 explosive detectors and a few sniffers for the whole of the city while we need at least five for each of the 30 police stations,” argues Peshawar city police chief Liaqat Ali Khan.
The officer points out that junior cops sacrificed their lives and thus avoided innumerable terrorism acts in the city. “I feel proud to be heading such gallant cops who are ready to hold a suicide bomber despite knowing he is wearing a jacket filled with explosives.”
Peshawar has suffered immensely in the past few years. The government has done a great job by diverting development funds to the security needs of Peshawar and the rest of the province as security forces need explosive detectors, moving scanners, bullet-proof jackets, armoured personnel carriers, sophisticated weapons and other facilities to have a final showdown with the violent terrorists.
The government has not much time to equip the forces, especially police, against the miscreants and steps are needed to be taken without any further delay.