Reports differed on the cause of the explosion. Turi said a homemade bomb had been planted in a pile of tomatoes and exploded as people gathered in the market in Parachinar, Kurram's main town, early on Saturday morning. Taliban militants have been active around Parachinar in the past, ad the town has also suffered sectarian tension between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims. Another Kurram official, Sabzali Khan, said early reports had suggested that a suicide bomber was responsible for the blast.
An eyewitness, Ashiq Hussain, said he saw bodies strewn around the market and wounded people crying out for help. "There was no ambulance, and people had to carry the injured in cars and private pickup trucks to the hospital," Hussain told Reuters. A statement from Pakistan's military said army helicopters had been dispatched to evacuate the wounded.