Suicide bomber kills 7 at Pakistani minister's house
A suicide bomber killed seven people today, blowing himself up at a gathering of senior Pakistani officials mourning the assassination of a cabinet minister's son by suspected Taliban.world Updated: Jul 26, 2010 15:56 IST
A suicide bomber killed seven people on Monday, blowing himself up at a gathering of senior Pakistani officials mourning the assassination of a cabinet minister's son by suspected Taliban.
Police said the bomber was stopped while trying to walk into the home of Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister in Pakistan's northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in the small town of Pabbi.
The bomber struck shortly after Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik had visited to pay his respects over the death of Hussain's 28-year-old son Mian Rashid, who was shot dead on Saturday.
"Seven people, including three policemen, have been killed and 21 injured," senior police official Imran Kishwar told AFP by telephone from the scene.
Doctor Suhrab Khan at the main hospital in Pabbi confirmed that seven bodies were brought in after the attack - three policemen and four civilians.
Critically wounded patients had been rushed to the provincial capital of Peshawar and nine others were being treated locally, the doctor said.
Hussain is considered the most vocal northwestern minister against Taliban militants. He also worked as a spokesman for the provincial government.
Bombs and attacks blamed on Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants have killed more than 3,560 people across nuclear-armed Pakistan since government troops besieged a radical mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.
Much of the violence has been concentrated in northwest Pakistan and the border areas with Afghanistan, where around 143,000 US and NATO troops are battling to turn around a nine-year war against Taliban insurgents.
"The suicide bomber was trying to enter the visitor's compound at Mian Iftikhar's house. The policeman who tried to stop him was also killed," said senior police official Liaqat Ali.
Pabbi is close to the home village of Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, who admitted to trying to blow up New York's Times Square on May 1.
US drone attacks on Sunday killed at least eight militants in Waziristan, part of Pakistan's tribal belt, which Washington calls a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous region on earth.
Waziristan has come under renewed scrutiny after Shahzad admitted to receiving bomb training there during a 40-day visit to Pakistan.
The United States has put increased pressure on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist havens along the Afghan border.
Pakistani commanders have not ruled out an offensive in North Waziristan, but argue that gains in South Waziristan and the northwestern district of Swat need to be consolidated to prevent their troops from being over-stretched.