Dir: A suicide bomber blew himself up on Monday at a political function of the ethnic Pashtun nationalist political party in a northwest district of Pakistan, killing at least 38 people and injuring over 100.
The suicide bomber attacked the open-air gathering in Timargarah, the main town in the district of Lower Dir, where Pakistan waged a major offensive against local Taliban insurgents last year.
“The bomber wanted to enter the ground where the ANP (Awami National Party) meeting was taking place but was stopped at the gate and blew himself up," said police official Sarzamin Khan.
"We have received 38 dead bodies," Doctor Wakeel Ahmed, head of the main hospital in Timargarah said. "There are more than 100 injured. Most of them are in a serious condition. I'm still sending out my ambulance."
The ANP heads a coalition government in North West Frontier Province.
Relief work is on at the site. The critically injured are being shifted to hospitals in Peshawar.
A spokesman for the ANP, Zahid Khan, says members of his party were celebrating the recent decision to change the name of North West Frontier Province to Khyber Pakhtoonkhaw when the attack occurred.
"Our party had arranged a thanksgiving day to celebrate the changing of the name after 200 years of colonial legacy," ANP spokesman Zahid Khan told Pakistan's private Geo television.
Pakistani state television said hundreds of people were participating in the rally in the town of Timergarah.
The security personnel have cordoned off the affected area.
First Published: Monday, April 05, 2010, 14:34