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13 killed, 45 injured in Pak suicide attack

The suicide bomber strikes at the venue of a lawyers' meet due to be addressed by the suspended Chief Justice.

world Updated: Jul 18, 2007 03:28 IST
KJM Varma

At least 13 people were killed and 45 injured on Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up near an enclosure of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto-led Pakistan People's Party at a meeting of lawyers in Islamabad, due to be addressed by suspended Chief Justice Iftikar M Chaudhry.

The Chief Commissioner of Police in Islamabad, Khalid Pervez told the media that it was a suicide bomb attack and it took place 100 metres outside the venue where a number of political parties had set up their booths to welcome Chaudhry.

He said the attack left 13 dead and 45 wounded.

TV channels, however, put the number of injured at around 100.

The blast took place at around 2030 hours Pakistan time, when Chaudhry was being brought in a procession to the District Bar Association meeting venue. His convoy was 20 minutes away from the spot when the explosion occurred. He was immediately driven to safety.

It appeared that the bomber, whose severed head was found close to the site of the explosion at busy F-8 area of the city, was aiming to cause maximum casualties to PPP.

It was suspected that the PPP was made a target because Bhutto, who lives in self-exile abroad, was the only opposition leader to have welcomed the July 11 military crackdown on Lal Masjid in which 103 people, including radical cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi, were killed.

Some of the injured were stated to be activists of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), headed by exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.