Pakistan: Bombing Kills Anti-Taliban Minister, 10 Others

August 16, 2015 Updated: August 16, 2015

ISLAMABAD— A suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the home of an anti-Taliban provincial minister, killing him and 10 others in eastern Pakistan, officials said.

Shuja Khanzada’s body could be seen in the rubble of the collapsed building in his hometown of Shadi Khan in Attock district, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of the capital, Islamabad, government official Saeed Elahi said.

The Punjab provincial head of Pakistan’s National Action Plan against terrorism, Khanzada took a bold public stance against the Taliban and Islamic militancy. A former army officer, Khanzada helped establish the anti-terrorism department in Punjab province — which is home to a variety of local militant groups, most of them allied to the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Nearly a dozen others were wounded in the explosion, four of them in critical condition, said Deeba Shahnaz, an official with the state rescue agency.

He was a vocal public advocate for harsh government tactics against the militants, and endorsed the government’s recent decision to bring back the death penalty for terrorism cases.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion is likely to fall on the Taliban and their allies, who have waged a lengthy insurgency seeking to overthrow the government and install their own harsh brand of Islamic laws. They have killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis in over a decade of attacks.

Live Pakistani TV footage showed rescue workers and cranes working at the site of the collapsed house. “We’re working with all care. We will save anyone who is alive,” Shahnaz, the rescue official, said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistani army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif condemned the attack.