Suicide bomber strikes during funeral in Pak; 20 killed



Peshawar: At least 20 people including a provincial legislator were killed on Tuesday and over 50 others injured when a suicide bomber targeted a funeral at Mardan in the troubled northwest Pakistan.

About 100 people were at the funeral of a businessman in Shergarh area of Mardan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on Tuesday afternoon when the bomber detonated his explosive vest, police officials and witnesses said.

"Legislator Imran Khan Mohmand was among 20 people killed in the attack," Shaukat Yousafzai, Information Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, told reporters.

Other officials said more than 50 people were injured.

Several local dignitaries and politicians were attending the funeral of Haji Abdullah, the owner of a petrol pump who was gunned down by unidentified armed men last night.

The injured were taken to hospitals in Mardan and nearby cities.

Mohmand was elected to the provincial assembly as an independent candidate in the May 11 general election.

He later joined Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party, which heads the ruling coalition in the province.

He was the second legislator of the Tehrik-e-Insaf to be killed this month.

On June 3, legislator Farid Khan was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Hangu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Information Minister Yousafzai said police officials in Mardan had told him that Mohmand had been receiving threats for some time.

During the recent polls, his election office was attacked. Following this, Mohmand was provided two police guards.

Despite the killing of the legislator, Yousafzai said the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government was committed to holding talks with militants.

"There can be no solution without talks. All the stakeholders must be brought to the negotiating table so that we can hear their views," he said.

Operations by security forces alone cannot resolve the problem of militancy, Yousafzai claimed.

The central government also has an important role in the matter as it sets policy, he said.

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan condemned the attack.

PTI