PESHAWAR - Two policemen were killed and three other persons sustained injuries when former interior minister and Qaumi Watan Party Chairman Aftab Sherpao’s convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber in Umarzai Town of Charsadda district on Thursday.

According to local sources and eyewitnesses, Sherpao was attacked as soon as he left the venue of a public gathering organised in connection with the death anniversary of former MPA Alamzeb Umarzi.

When the suicide bomber tried to come close to Sherpao, police officials shot him dead. However, the explosives wrapped around his body detonated. As a result, two policemen were killed and three other persons injured. The injured were shifted to Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the suicide attack on Sherpao’s convoy. He offered condolences to the family of the deceased police officials.

It is pertinent to mention that Sherpao survived in March 2012 in a similar attack when a suicide bomber targeted his vehicle as was returning along with his son and another lawmaker from a rally in Battagram on the outskirts of Shabqadar Town.

The bomber walked into the security convoy at Kangra village and detonated the explosives wrapped around his body near the four-wheeler in which Sherpao was travelling. One person was killed and six others injured in that incident.

In December 2007, he escaped unhurt in the attack when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque in Sherpao’s hometown. He and his son Sikandar Sherpao narrowly escaped while dozens of people were killed and injured.

In yet another incident, he narrowly escaped when he was attacked in a Charsadda public meeting. At least 12 people were killed and 24 others wounded in that attack.

Thursday’s attack was fourth attempt on the life of Aftab Sherpao. Some circles and security sources said the attacks might be reaction of the Lal Masjid operation for he was interior minister in the Musharaf cabinet at that time.

AFP adds: Izharullah, an official at the local police station, confirmed the attack, saying the injured were taken to a government hospital in the area.

“I was the target of this attack. This is the fourth attack on my life. The policemen sacrificed their lives to save me,” he told AFP. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Pakistan Army has been waging a major campaign against Taliban and other militant strongholds in the North Waziristan tribal area since June last year.

Most of the fighting is now concentrated in the tribal districts of North Waziristan and Khyber, which border Afghanistan.

Nisar condemns attack on Sherpao

Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Thursday made a telephonic contact with head of the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao following a terrorist attack on his convoy.

Nisar condemned the terrorist attack and inquired after former interior minister Aftab Khan Sherpao. He also paid tributes to the martyred constable who sacrificed his life during the attack. The minister also sought report from Inspector General of Police KP about the incident.