Peshawar, Pakistan – Naib Rehman lies on his hospital mattress together with his leg wrapped in plaster. The 44-year-old recollects that as he stood for the afternoon prayer together with 300 different worshippers, an enormous blast shook the mosque within the northwestern Pakistani metropolis of Peshawar.
A minimum of 100 folks, most of them policemen, have been killed and more than 225 people wounded within the suicide blast on Monday, the deadliest in a decade as assaults by armed teams are on the rise.
“I was standing with my friends when the blast threw us away, and just as we tried to get our bearings, within a few seconds, the entire roof collapsed,” Rehman, who works within the telecommunications division for the police, informed Al Jazeera.
“We were lucky enough to find a way and crawled out, but my leg was badly wounded,” Rehman mentioned. Like many of the wounded, he was delivered to the town’s essential hospital, Woman Studying.
Rehman mentioned he’s decided to hold on.
“Even though I lost a few of my friends, it will not deter me,” he mentioned as he lay with seven different sufferers in a hospital ward. “I will go back to my job. This is my duty. I will not be afraid of this attack.”
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has condemned the assault and promised “stern action”. Officers have introduced an investigation into the blast in a high-security police zone.
“The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable,” Sharif tweeted after visiting Peshawar. “This is no less than an attack on Pakistan.”
A faction of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), often known as the Pakistani Taliban, claimed accountability for the assault, however a TTP spokesman later denied a task within the blast.
A tenuous months-long ceasefire between the TTP and Pakistan collapsed final yr and the group has since intensified its assaults in opposition to Pakistani safety personnel.
Yashwa Tariq, a 28-year-old police constable, was on an obligation in Peshawar when he acquired a name from a pal on Monday afternoon telling him that his home subsequent to the mosque had been broken in an explosion.
“My heart just sank,” mentioned Tariq, who rushed residence. He described what he discovered as rubble and utter chaos.
“All my neighbours and friends were trying to remove the debris with their bare hands,” he mentioned. “I managed to find my son who was hurt, completely covered in dust and couldn’t open his eyes.”
Tariq’s spouse, sister and grandmother have been trapped below the collapsed roof in one other room. The police constable managed to get his son out and rushed him to Woman Studying Hospital, praying that the remainder of his household would survive.
His spouse, son and sister did, however his maternal grandmother, Rasheeda Bibi, was killed.
“My wife has suffered a fracture in both her legs,” Tariq informed Al Jazeera. “My sister has a gash in her head. My son is suffering from trauma. My grandmother has died. I have nowhere to go back to. I don’t have a home anymore.”
A number of different homes subsequent to the mosque the place policemen stay have been additionally broken.
The influence of the blast was so extreme that it introduced down the roof over the principle prayer corridor of the mosque, below which near 300 worshippers have been about to start their prayers.
Kashif Aftab Abbasi, a senior superintendent of police operations in Peshawar, confirmed to Al Jazeera that preliminary police investigations discovered that the blast was brought on by a suicide bomber and the overwhelming majority of deaths was brought on by the roof collapse.
Greater than 90 p.c of those that died labored for the police.
The explosion within the Police Traces Mosque was the primary main assault in Peshawar since March when a Shia mosque was attacked by the Islamic State of Khorasan Province, killing greater than 60 folks.
Muhammed Asim, a Woman Studying Hospital spokesman, mentioned the scenario on the facility on Monday was “overwhelming” as ambulances introduced in droves of useless and wounded.
Not like Rehman, Yasir Khan – a police constable who additionally lives in Police Traces, a secured a part of Peshawar the place necessary authorities installations are – says the incident has shaken his confidence.
“We are aware of the attacks on police and security officials,” the 29-year-old informed Al Jazeera whereas standing close to the rubble of the mosque. “We expect attacks on checkpoints. But we could never have imagined an attack taking place inside our compound. It is so heavily guarded.”
Deciding to go away his job has by no means as soon as occurred to him, he mentioned. “This is the job that feeds us. My father was in the police as well. What else am I going to do if not this? My wife asked me to quit the job and move back to our village, but I told her duty comes first.”
Kamran Khan, a authorities trainer, mentioned that when he noticed the information of the explosion on TV, he rushed to the blast website within the Police Traces compound. His brother Irfanullah in addition to his cousin Shafiq labored within the police division.
His brother was amongst these killed whereas his cousin was admitted to Woman Studying Hospital.
“We are eight siblings, and Irfanullah was third.” Khan mentioned. “He worked as a government teacher like me for the longest time, but he always aspired to wear a uniform.”
Irfanullah, who joined the police in 2010, is survived by 5 youngsters, two sons and three daughters.
“I used to try to stop him from joining the force,” Khan mentioned. “But now, I will not only encourage his son to follow in his father’s footsteps, I will also push my own son to join. I want them to serve the nation and honour Irfanullah’s name.”
Abid Hussain is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @abidhussayn.