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Pakistan: Bomb kills former senator close to Afghan border

July 3, 2024

A bomb blast has killed five people including a former senator in northern Pakistan, according to local police. The politician was campaigning when his vehicle was struck by a remote-controled device.

People carry the coffin of former senator Hidayatullah Khan to an ambulance
Former Senator Khan was killed along with two companions and two police officersImage: AFP/Getty Images

A former Pakistani senator was among five people killed in a roadside bombing in the country's northern Bajur district on Wednesday, local police said.

Hidayatullah Khan was on the campaign trail ahead of an election in the tribal region just 45 kilometers (30 miles) from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border when the vehicle he was traveling in was hit by a remote-controlled bomb, according to police spokesman Bakhr Munir.

Prime minister condemns attack

Government official Anwarul Hag confirmed the use of an improvised explosive device or IED, which also killed two of Khan's colleagues and two police guards.

"It appears that a remote-controlled bomb targeted the car carrying the former senator," a district police spokesman told AFP.

"An investigation is currently underway to ascertain the type of explosives used and who was behind it. But miscreants have stepped up their activities in the region lately."

Pakistani government leaders including President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif have condemned the attack.

Tehrik-e-Taliban denies involvement

Bajur, a district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was until recently a stronghold of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an ally of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pakistani authorities often claim that Afghan Taliban are providing shelter for TTP militants, which the Taliban denies.

The TTP, which has been emboldened by the Taliban seizure of power in Afghanistan since 2021 following the withdrawal of international forces, has denied involvement in Wednesday's bombing.

Last year, a suicide bomber killed dozens and wounded 200 more when he blew himself up at a political rally of the Jamiat Ulema Islam party in Bajur.

The government announced a new counterterrorism operation in the region last month.

mf/ab (Reuters, AFP, AP)