Peshawar: Nineteen people, including two women, were killed and 44 others injured when a bomb ripped through a bus carrying government employees on the outskirts of this northwestern Pakistani city on Friday.
The blast occurred on Charsadda Road in a bus carrying about 60 employees of the Civil Secretariat. They were being driven from government offices in Peshawar to their homes outside the city.
Police and rescue officials rushed to the area and took the injured to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar and a hospital in Charsadda. An emergency was declared in the hospitals.
Officials said two women were among the dead. Most of the dead and injured belonged to Charsadda district.
Peshawar Commissioner Sahibzada Mohammad Anis said it appeared that the bomb was planted on the bus. Officials of the bomb disposal squad said the device contained about seven kilograms of explosives and had a timer attached to it.
The powerful explosion reduced the bus to a mangled heap of metal. Witnesses said the blast hurled passengers out of the bus.
The bomb was apparently planted in the back of the bus, which suffered the maximum damage. No group claimed responsibility for the blast though such attacks in the country`s northwest are usually blamed on the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
The attack came barely five days after a pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a 130-year-old church in Peshawar, killing over 80 people in the deadliest attack on Pakistan`s Christians.
In June last year, 19 people were killed and 20 injured in another bomb attack on a bus carrying Civil Secretariat employees.