Suicide bomber kills Pakistan senior official
Minister assassinated while hosting Eid celebration
Police examine the wreckage after the suicide bomb attack. (Picture: AFP/STR)
A suicide bomber killed 10 people, including a provincial minister, during an attack at the politician's residence in Pakistan’s troubled northwest region, police said.
More than 40 people also were injured in Wednesday's bombing, which occurred during the Muslim nation’s celebration of Eid al-Adha.
The blast occurred at Kulachi town in the Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
District Police Officer Nisar Marwat Khan said Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Israrullah Khan Gandapur was greeting visitors in his residence’s guest area when the attack took place. “The bomber killed a policeman before entering the area and detonating his explosives,” he said.
The death toll is feared to go up because some of the injured are in critical condition.
“A young man dressed in traditional white shalwar kamez greeted the minister in native Pashto language and then blew himself up,” SAMAA TV quoted an injured eyewitness as saying.
Rescue teams reached the scene and shifted the injured to District Headquarter Hospital.
Gandapur was elected as an independent candidate during the May 11 general elections and later joined the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf headed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.
He is the third lawmaker to have been killed in terrorist attacks this year in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after Imran Mohmand and Fareed Khan. Khan was gunned down near his house in Hangu on June 3 and Mohmand was killed two weeks later in a suicide bombing during a funeral in Mardan.
It is not immediately clear who carried out the attack but government officials in Dera Ismail Khan blamed a local affiliate of the Pakistani Taliban, according to news reports.
In a statement, Imran Khan reiterated calls for peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban.
"We must ask the federal government why it has drifted into inaction after the all-party conference, which mandated the ruling party to hold peace talks with the Taliban," he said.
Denouncing the attack, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Gandapur’s killing was a big loss for Pakistan. “Killing of innocent people was an unforgiveable sin and in contradiction of Islamic teachings and human values,” he said.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is witnessing a surge in terrorist attacks. On Sept 30, nearly 40 people were killed when a car bomb went off at a crowded market in Peshawar. A week earlier, two bombers struck the historic All Saints Church in the same city, killing at least 85 people and injuring about 150.
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