Suicide bomber strikes northwest Pakistan, but police praised

The second suicide bomber in three days attacked the northwestern town of Peshawar, Pakistan, Thursday, killing four people and wounding at least 20. Amid continued bombings, commentators have praised police for their sacrifice.

Mohammad Sajjad/AP
Soldiers of Pakistan Army surround the site of a suicide bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan on Thursday. A suicide bomber struck a neighborhood near government buildings, killing four people and left many wounded.

A suicide bomber on Thursday attacked a police checkpoint in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, killing four and injuring more than 20 in the second such strike in Peshawar in three days, even as police ramp up security for the Muslim holy month of Muharram.

According to Agence France-Presse, the suicide bomber's target remains unclear. But Pakistan police are being praised for stepping up security and preventing a higher death toll in this case.

The attack occurred at a security checkpoint in one of Peshawar's busiest areas in an army cantonment outside a government office and a church... "There were several targets," said Sahibzada Mohammad Anis, the top city administration official."It could have been a Pakistan International Airlines building or a Shiite mosque. There are also several shopping malls in this area," he said.

Pakistani officials say the police presence helped reduce the impact of the attack, reports Samaa TV, an independent Pakistani news channel: “Sources said that those killed include 1 police official whereas 4 of the injured are police officials. [DCO Peshawar Sahabzada] Anees said that the suicide attacker blew himself when he was interrupted at the check post..."

Two days earlier, a teenager had killed three in a suicide attack at the Peshawar Press Club – the first such terrorist attack against the Pakistani media.

According to the Pakistani newspaper, The Daily Times, police have tightened security throughout Peshawar ahead of the Shiite mourning period of Ashura, which takes place during Muharram.

Police said pillion riding, use of tinted glasses in vehicles, and the carrying and display of weapons had been banned for the month. Also, leaves of local police officials have been cancelled….
According to them, police personnel have been deployed at the city’s important places, besides installation of closed-circuit cameras there to keep an eye on criminals and militants.

Referring to Tuesday’s bombing, an editorial in the Pakistani daily Dawn commends the police for mitigating the impact of terrorist attacks.

One must also salute the police force that is playing a heroic role in defending citizens from terror attacks. Many in the police have died in the line of duty. In spite of their inadequate training, insufficient equipment and facilities and poor monetary status, the police continue to perform their duty as best as they can.

An editorial in The News, another Pakistani daily, complains that suicide attacks are not being condemned strongly enough in Pakistan.

Those who are slaughtering their way through the population claim to justify their killing of innocent civilians by saying that that our military has joined forces with the Americans and that this legitimises the attacks here – a twisting of logic that beggars belief. Twisted perhaps; but powerfully persuasive to those who support the Taliban that regard civilian casualties as little more than acceptable collateral damage in a wider war. The reality is that there are substantial portions of the clerical cohort who refuse to condemn suicide bombing. The hold that extremism has on the country is broad and deep, and in the absence of an organised moderate political force outside of the established parties there seems to be no impediment to the gradual slide towards yet more bombs and bloodshed.
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