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4 killed, 15 injured in Peshawar explosion
Peshawar, Dec 5 (IANS):
Published on 5 Dec. 2009 9:31 PM IST
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At least four people were killed and over 15 injured in an explosion near an office plaza in this North West Frontier Province (NWFP) capital but the incident was not a terrorist attack, a police officer said. Peshawar police chief Liaquat Ali said that the blast, which occurred in in a chemical shop in the University Road area, was not an act of terrorism. Confirming this, the additional inspector general of the Bomb Disposal Squad, Shafqat Malik, said the blast was the result of an accident, Online news agency reported. Eyewitness said the first blast occurred at 10.50 a.m. and was followed by a series of smaller blasts. A fire broke out after the blasts and a number of people were trapped in the three-storey office plaza. More than 20 shops and offices were destroyed in the blasts. Some CNG stations were also located in the area and heavy smoke was billowing out of the blast site as fire tenders reached the spot. A large number of Afghan refugees live in the area. Rescue activities began immediately after the blast, with the local people lending a hand. The injured have been shifted to the Lady Reading and Khyber Teaching Hospital. Police cordoned off the area after the blasts and the University Road and the Khyber Road were closed to the public. Interior Minister Rehman Malik, while condemning the incident, has sought a report from the provincial police chief. However, NWFP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said the blast was caused by a bomb planted in a car parked near the office plaza, adding that terrorists wanted to pressurise the government by targeting innocent people. Talking to a private TV channel, he said that foreign countries are involved in terrorism incidents in the province. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have strongly condemned the blast and directed the authorities to provide proper medical facilities to the injured. Pakistan needs to destroy terror safe havens: US Washington, Dec 5 (IANS): The United States has said Pakistan as a “nuclear state” was well aware of its “enormous responsibilities” that included working in “close partnership” with Washington to dislodge, dismantle and destroy terrorist “safe havens” in the country. “Obviously as a nuclear state Pakistan has enormous responsibilities within the community of nations that have nuclear weapons,” President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser General James Jones told reporters Friday. “They are very well aware of that and we have regular consultations on those issues,” he said when asked how Washington intended to broaden its association with Islamabad when their relationship is still tied to two issues -- Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and terrorism. “The relationship between Pakistan and the United States we feel is a very positive one and one that will only grow in a positive direction in the future,” Jones said. Assuring US support for “the democratic processes that Pakistan is adhering to”, he said “we will do everything we can to be a good friend and ally, especially to assist Pakistan in its own internal struggles in any way we can with regard to the insurgents that are operating in the border area”. “But I think the future of the Pakistan-US relationship is bright and it transcends simply just problems associated with insurgents and nuclear weapons,” Jones said. “We would like to see it evolve into the trade issues, better economic development, and absolutely as we try to move towards more peace and stability in South Asia.” “So the democratic principle we hope will continue to thrive and grow and reach its full potential in the future which will be good for the people of Pakistan,” he said. In reply to another question regarding what the US hoped to achieve in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Jones said: “If we can dislodge and dismantle and in my view destroy the safe havens along with, in closer partnership with the army of Pakistan, then I think you have a strategic change in the entire region that bodes well for the future. “Once insurgents are on the run and they don’t have the illusion of sanctuary or the reality of sanctuary, then you have a completely different problem and it’s much more manageable,” he said. “So the idea is to take care of those safe havens, take care of those sanctuaries,” he added.

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