New Delhi: Atleast 24 people were killed and more than 90 were injured after a huge car bomb exploded in a busy Shia market area of Pakistan's tribal belt, official said the attack has been claimed by the Taliban.
To disperse the crowd who gathered to protest the incident, security forces opened fire, that injured several people.
The incident took place at around 11 AM outside the imambaragh, in a busy area of the city where nearly 15 to 20 shops are situated. The area was bustling at the time of the explosion, as it is Friday and people from other areas had also come for prayers.
Survivors at the spot were hiding inside shops after hearing a 'huge bang', as people rushed inside to help the wounded in the busy market of Parachinar, capital of Kurram tribal district.
The attack have occurred before in Parachinar in the past as well, but no terrorist has been arrested. In February, 130 were killed across Pakistan in terror wave of militant violence, overbearing citizens who had been emboldened by improving security and prompting a military crackdown.
"I heard a loud bang and people were screaming," Muhammad Ali, a local resident who was in a market shop when the blast detonated, said.
"We closed the doors of the shop as we thought there might be a second blast, but we heard gunshots for a while people were shouting, so we got out."
They emerged to a scene of desperation, Ali said, describing bystanders carrying the wounded in any vehicle they could find as security forces arrived.
"We have 22 dead bodies here at the hospital and 57 injured, including women and children," Moeen Begum, a surgeon at the local government-run hospital said.
Shahid Ali Khan, a local administration official, confirmed the blast had been a car bomb and not a suicide attack. The material was installed in the car parked in the area.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the blast, saying it was a "duty" to seek the "complete annihilation" of terrorism in Pakistan, and ordering assistance for local authorities.
The intensity of the blast can be gauged from the damage that has been caused to the houses and cars in the vicinity, according to a spokesman. Headed the weight of the explosive material has not yet been ascertained.
The angry Shia leader and local residents accused security forces of failure, with small protests braking out in Parachinar.
Ali and a second eyewitness described seeing security forces fire on the protesters, injuring some.
"Terrorists crossing dozens of checkposts and carrying out attacks outs a question mark over the progress of security institutions," Allama Raja Nasir Abbas, chief of Shia political organisation said in Islamabad.