The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the carnage at a mosque in Rawalpindi on Friday that killed 40 people, most of them serving and retired officers of the Pakistan Army and their family members.

Waliur Rehman Mehsud, a deputy of the TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, told BBC that the Rawalpindi mosque was no different from the Masjid-e-Zarar built in Madina to challenge Islam, and was “demolished on the orders of Prophet Muhammad”.

He said the Taliban’s primary target was the Pakistan Army, and they would continue to carry out such attacks. The civilians killed in the attack, including the 17 children and aged people, he said, were family members of army officials, and therefore their deaths “did not matter”.

The outrage at the mosque has sent anger and shock through Pakistan.

On Saturday, the Army buried its dead in the presence of Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and some members of the Cabinet, were also present at the funeral.

Across Punjab, lawyers observed a day’s strike to register their protest against the attack, while in Islamabad, a small group of students and civil society activists took out a protest demonstration shouting “Death to the Taliban”.

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