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Anti-Taliban minister among 15 killed in Pakistan suicide attack

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Islamabad: At least 15 people, including home minister of Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, were killed and 23 others injured in a suicide attack that destroyed a political camp in Attock district on Sunday, officials said.

Spokesperson of the rescue department Deeba Shehnaz said that 15 bodies were shifted to hospital while two of the injured were in critical condition and were undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit, Pakistani media reported.

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest when Home Minister Shuja Khanzada was hearing complaints from residents in his native village Shadi Khan, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said.

“There were two suicide bombers, one stood outside the boundary wall and the second one went inside and stood in front of the minister,” Punjab Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhera told reporters.

“The blast by the bomber standing outside ripped the wall which caused the roof to collapse on the minister and the people gathered there,” he said.

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Image Source: www.dailymail.co.uk

The roof of the camp collapsed and the whole building was leveled to the ground due to the impact of the explosion.

Police, security forces and rescue teams rushed to the site and took out the bodies and injured from the debris.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Shaukat Shah, who was present at the camp to look after the security of the minister, was also killed in the attack.

According to police officials, at least 100 people were present at Khanzada’s office and many of them were buried underneath the rubble.

The minister had reportedly received threat calls from terror organisations since the launch of the targeted operation against the terrorists in the province over the past eight months.

A retired army officer-turned-politician, Khanzada was given charge of the province’s home department in October last year and had successfully set up an anti-terrorism squad that was conducting major operations against terror outfits in the province — Pakistan’s most populous.

According to interior ministry sources, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban splinter group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the audacious suicide attack.

The group’s spokesperson was quoted as saying that the attack on Khanzada was to avenge the killing of their chief Malik Ishaq in a police encounter on July 29.

Ishaq, along with his two sons and 11 others, was killed in a police operation in Punjab’s Muzaffargarh district.

President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations Asim Bajwa condemned the blast and expressed condolences and sympathies with the families of the deceased persons.

(IANS)

Next Story

India Says Pakistan’s Links with Pulwama Attack Clear For All to See

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits

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Arun Jaitley
"The most favoured nation status which has been granted to Pakistan stands withdrawn.", says Jaitley. Pixabay

India has rejected Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua’s claims denying her country’s links to the Pulwama terror attack, saying that JeM, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday, is based in Pakistan, and the “links are clear and evident and for all to see”.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson on Friday termed as “preposterous” the demand for an investigation, saying there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

The spokesperson said India has not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on bilateral relations and it has been sheltering terrorists and terror organisations such as JeM. He said Islamabad has not taken any action against such groups despite international demands.

India also demanded that Pakistan take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create a conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror.

The spokesperson’s response came over Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s briefing rejecting Pakistan’s involvement in the terror attack on a paramilitary convoy in Jammu and Kashmir that killed at least 45 troopers. Janjua met envoys of P-5 countries late on Friday.

The spokesperson said JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the attack was a matter of “grave concern” and it had been condemning “heightened acts of violence in the (Kashmir) Valley”. Pixabay

“The organisation and its leadership are located in Pakistan. LeT and other terror groups have welcomed the news of the attack. These groups are also based in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot claim that it is unaware of their presence and their activities.

“They have not taken any action against these groups despite international demands, especially against groups and individuals proscribed by the UN and other countries. The links to Pakistan are clear and evident for all to see. Its own Ministers have shared the same podium with UN proscribed terrorists,” the spokesperson said.

He said there was audio-visual material linking JeM to the terror attack.

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“The demand for an investigation is preposterous when there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the JeM. There are also other audio-visual and print material linking JeM to the terrorist attack. We have therefore no doubt that the claim is firmly established,” the spokesperson said.

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits.

“We have not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on relations with India. What we have noticed however, are claims to offer dialogue on the one hand, while sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and terrorist organisations such as JeM on the other,” the spokesperson added. (IANS)