At least 19 people were killed and nearly 50 injured when a powerful bomb ripped through a bus ferrying government employees and civilians in Peshawar on Friday morning. No outfit had claimed responsibility till late evening but this is the second day in a row that terrorists have struck in the north western parts of the country with sizable number of casualties.

Over the past 36 hours, 35 people have been killed in the two separate blasts — the other being at a religious seminary in Quetta where 14 people were killed on Thursday. Though there have been sporadic terror strikes in the past few months, these two blasts have raised the spectre of a fresh onslaught by terrorists. The bus — heading from Peshawar to Charsadda — was completely damaged by the explosion — a stark testimony about how powerful the bomb was. Apparently eight kg of explosives had been packed into the bus. The dead included seven women and a child, and doctors at the Lady Reading Hospital feared more casualties as some of the injured were brought in a critical condition.

Briefing media-persons, Khyber-Pukhtoonkhwa's Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain — whose only son was gunned down by terrorists — said the fight against terrorism would continue despite such setbacks. Maintaining that the government was open to talks for the sake of the people, he said if terrorists continued to indulge in violence then the administration would have no option but to mount an offensive on them.

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