Pakistan: Government must deliver justice for victims of Peshawar bus bombing

16 March 2016, 17:21 UTC

The Pakistani authorities must promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate this morning’s bomb attack on a bus which killed at least 15 people and severely injured 25 in Peshawar, and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible in fair trials, said Amnesty International.

“There can be no justification for intentionally targeting civilians or carrying out indiscriminate attacks. Those responsible for the bombing have shown contempt for the right to life and fundamental principles of humanity,” said Champa Patel, Director of Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Office.

Media reports indicate that explosive material was packed into a toolbox and detonated remotely inside the privately hired bus, which was carrying government employees from Mardan to the provincial capital. No individual or group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast.

“As well as providing victims and their families with access to justice or reparations, the Pakistani authorities must now ensure that their response to this atrocity is compliant with international human rights law. It is abundantly clear that putting people to death in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’ has done nothing to protect civilians from these kinds of attacks,” said Champa Patel.

Indiscriminate attacks continue in several regions of Pakistan, despite a military offensive in the north of the country and the implementation of the ‘National Action Plan’ to counter terrorism.

There have also been other attacks recently in the same region. In January, 22 people were killed when gunmen stormed Charsadda’s Bacha Khan University. On 8 March, 18 people were killed and 31 injured in the town of Charsadda, 30 kilometres from Peshawar, after a suicide attack outside the district court. Jamatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack on the court, while there were conflicting reports about who was responsible for the attack on Bacha Khan University.