Pakistan provincial minister among 16 dead

August 16, 2015 6:56 PM

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Pakistan provincial minister among 16 dead

Two suicide attackers have killed a Pakistani provincial minister, who had campaigned against militants, and at least 15 other people, after detonating a bomb at a meeting the minister was attending.

'Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada has embraced martyrdom,' said chief rescue official Mohammad Ashfaq after Sunday's attack.

Khanzada, 71, had been holding a meeting with local people who had come to express their condolences on the death of his cousin.

He was trapped with several others under the rubble after the blast brought down the roof of the building in the village of Shadi Khan in Attock district.

'There were two suicide bombers, one stood outside the boundary wall and the second one went inside and stood in front of the minister,' Mushtaq Sukhera, provincial police chief, told reporters.

'The blast by the bomber standing outside ripped the wall which caused the roof to fall flat on the minister and people gathered there,' he said.

Sukhera added police were investigating whether the attacker inside the building detonated a bomb.

A police spokeswoman said that 16 people including the minister and two policemen were killed and 22 others were wounded in the attack, 70km northwest of Islamabad.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the hardline Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, saying it was revenge for the killing of a sectarian militant commander and others.

Khanzada, a retired army colonel, had been a member of the Punjab assembly since 2002 and an active member of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), the party of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.


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