Lahore: Pakistan's Punjab province Home Minister Shuja Khanzada was assassinated on Sunday by a suicide bomber who blew himself up at his ancestral home in Attock district, killing at least 13 people in the brazen attack.
Khanzada, 71, and a DSP were among the 13 people killed when the suicide bomber attacked his political office in his native Shadi Khan village, Punjab Emergency Department spokesperson Deeba Shahnaz said.
At least 17 people were also injured in the blast. The condition of three injured persons is stated to be critical.
The suicide bomber entered the building disguised as a visitor and blew himself up. As a result of the blast, roof of the house caved in burying the minister and about thirty other people.
Saeed Elahi, advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, confirmed the death of the Home Minister in the suicide bombing.
"Punjab Home Minister has died in the suicide bombing," Elahi said. Khanzada's body has been shifted to District Headquarters Hospital Attock.
"Some 40 to 50 people were present at the dera (out house) of Col Shuja when a suicide bomber managed to enter there and blew himself up," Commissioner Rawalpindi Zahid Saeed said.
Khanzada, a retired colonel, was holding a jirga (reconciliatory meeting with his area people) at his house, some 100 km from capital city of Islamabad, when the bomber managed to enter and blew himself up.
Saeed said Deputy Superintendent of Police Shaukat Shah was also among those who died in the blast.
Rescue work was on to retrieve the people trapped under the rubble of the roof which collapsed due to the bombing.
The banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on Khanzada, sources in the interior ministry were quoted as saying by Dawn News.
They alleged Khanzada was under threat following the killing of LeJ chief Malik Ishaq in July.
The intelligence reports say that there are at least 150 sleeper cells of LeJ in south Punjab.
Khanzada had also received threats from al Qaeda and Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.
"The hall of the building where the meeting was underway collapsed in the blast and over three-dozen people including the minister were trapped in the rubble," Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters.
Police sources told PTI that inadequate security was provided to the minister at his Attock residence.
"The home minister's security was not at optimum level at his ancestral place," the sources said blaming the Punjab government for providing a chance to terrorists to target a minister.