Investigators today examined the site of a suicide blast in Islamabad that targeted Pakistan’s police and left at least 15 people dead, while officials searched for clues about the alleged attacker.
No-one has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which also injured dozens and appeared to be the capital’s deadliest in about a year.
It unnerved the usually tranquil city the same day thousands of Islamists marked the one-year anniversary of a military siege on the nearby radical Red Mosque.
Politicians, including President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani decried the attack, one of many in Pakistan that has victimised security forces.
“This is against humanity,” Mr Gilani told reporters today after visiting some victims at an Islamabad hospital. “The law will take the culprits in its grip.”
Hours after the blast, Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik told Geo TV that a teenage boy was the suspected attacker, though earlier he said it was a man apparently in his 30s.
“All witnesses say that a 15- or 16-year-old boy, who had a light beard and wore a white shalwar kameez ... he came walking toward our police and blasted himself,” Mr Malik said.
Mr Malik had also initially said authorities found the “upper part” of the attacker’s body, but later he said two torsos found were identified as belonging to police.
Mr Malik also told Geo that components of a suicide jacket and two severed human legs were recovered.
About a dozen investigators milled about the scene today, some poking around the grass with sticks, others looking at police gear scattered on the ground. Barbed wire, yellow tape and metal roadblocks sectioned off the area, and rain had washed away much of the splattered blood.
Mr Musharraf urged resilience following the blast.
“The crisis we are going through at this time, it is so serious that if we do not control ourselves, it can get even more serious and perhaps we then not be able to control it then,” said the embattled president, whose alliance with the US in the war on terror has been blamed by many Pakistani for fuelling violence in their country.
It was not clear if the attack was linked to the conference held yesterday to remember last July’s government siege of the Red Mosque, and a mosque official condemned the assault.
“This is a very tragic and condemnable incident,” mosque spokesman Mohammed Amir Siddiq said.