At least 19 people were killed and 83 injured in a blast at a mosque in Peshawar’s Police Lines area on Monday afternoon, officials said.
Mohammad Asim, a spokesperson for the Lady Reading Hospital (LRC), confirmed the casualties, adding that some of the injured persons were in critical condition.
According to the details, the explosion took place at around 1:40 pm as Zuhr prayers were being offered. Personnel of the police, army and bomb disposal squads were present inside the mosque.
A portion of the building had collapsed and several people — especially those standing in the front row during the prayers — were believed to be under it.
The police have also closed roads leading to the Red Zone.
It is unclear whether a bomb was planted in the mosque or if it was a suicide attack. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The last major incident of such a nature had taken place in Peshawar last year when a suicide blast inside a Shia mosque in the Kocha Risaldar area claimed 63 lives.
In a statement issued later in the day, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast and said that the attackers behind the incident “have nothing to do with Islam”.
“Terrorists want to create fear by targeting those who perform the duty of defending Pakistan,” he said.
The premier paid tribute to the martyrs and promised that their sacrifices will not go in vain. “The entire nation is standing united against the menace of terrorism.”