Pakistan blast in Peshawar kills provincial minister

  • 22 December 2012
  • From the section Asia
Media captionThe Pakistani Taliban said they carried out the attack

A suicide bomber has killed at least eight people at a political rally in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar, police say.

A senior provincial minister and anti-Taliban figure, Bashir Ahmad Bilour, was among those killed.

The blast happened at the house of a leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), which is part of the national governing coalition, local media said.

The Pakistani Taliban said they carried out the attack.

The Taliban has repeatedly targeted members of the ANP, which holds power in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Provincial information minister and ANP member, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, condemned the attack.

"Terrorism has engulfed our whole society," he said. "They are targeting our bases, our mosques, our bazaars, public meetings and our security checkpoints."

'Smoke and dust'

Some 100 people had gathered in Peshawar for the meeting of the ANP, which is part of the Pakistan People's Party-led national coalition government.

Mr Bilour had delivered the keynote speech and was leaving when the attack occurred, Nazir Khan, a local Awami National Party leader, told Associated Press news agency.

"There was smoke and dust all around, and dead and wounded people were lying on the ground," he said.

Mr Bilour, 69, was severely wounded in the chest and stomach and died from his injuries in hospital.

A senior police official told Agence France-Presse that Mr Bilour's secretary and a policeman were among the dead, as well as other ANP officials.

At least 18 people were injured in the blast, hospital and police officials said.

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