LAHORE: The killing of a Punjab minister in a suicide bombing shocked Pakistanis on Sunday.
Two suicide attackers targeted the provincial minister, who had campaigned against militants, and at least 15 other people, after detonating a bomb at a meeting the minister was attending.
“Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada has embraced martyrdom,” said chief rescue official Mohammad Ashfaq.
Khanzada, 71, had been holding a meeting with local people who had come to express their condolences on the death of his cousin. He was trapped with several others under the rubble after the blast brought down the roof of the building in the village of Shadi Khan in Attock district.
“There were two suicide bombers, one stood outside the boundary wall and the second one went inside and stood in front of the minister,” Mushtaq Sukhera, provincial police chief, told reporters.
“The blast by the bomber standing outside ripped the wall which caused the roof to fall flat on the minister and people gathered there,” he said.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan movement claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, saying it was revenge for the killing of a sectarian militant commander and others.
The prime minister, along with President Mamnoon Hussain and army chief General Raheel Sharif condemned the attack and expressed their resolve to fight terrorism.
Airstrikes Sunday killed 40 suspected militants in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border as part of a major operation against the Taleban and other insurgents.