A senior General who headed the Pakistan Army's medical services and six other persons were killed and 29 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up near his vehicle in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Monday, in the second such attack on military medical staff this month.
The attacker detonated his explosives near the staff car of Lt Gen Mushtaq Ahmed Baig, Director General of Medical Services, on Mall Road; a busy commercial area located a short distance from the army's General Headquarters, at around 3 pm.
Baig and his driver and guard were among those killed in the blast, Interior Ministry officials told Dawn News channel.
Body parts lay strewn all over the site of the blast, which was immediately cordoned off by army personnel. At least 10 vehicles and several shops were damaged by the powerful explosion, which was heard across the cantonment area in Rawalpindi.
It was not immediately clear whether the suicide bomber was on foot or in a car. Some reports said the bomber rammed a vehicle into the general's staff car.
The suicide attack shattered the calm that followed last week's crucial parliamentary polls, which were swept, by the opposition Pakistan People's Party and the PML-N.
Security agencies immediately sounded an alert in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, where several top political leaders, including PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, are holding consultations on the formation of a new government following the polls.
Police removed all cars parked in front of Zardari House, the residence of the PPP co-chairman located in an upmarket neighbourhood in the heart of Islamabad.
Rawalpindi has witnessed several suicide attacks on security forces and army personnel in the past few months. Several of the attacks have occurred in the vicinity of the high-security General Headquarters.
This is the second attack targeting army medical personnel in Rawalpindi this month. A suicide bomber had on February 4 rammed his motorcycle into a minibus carrying medical corps staff, killing at least 10 people and injuring 30 others.