BAJAUR AGENCY - Senior tribal elder and leader of Salarzai Peace Committee Malik Mohammad Younis Khan was killed while his two sons sustained injuries in a roadside bomb blast in Bajaur Agency on Tuesday.

Officials said Malik Younas was going from his Tali village to Raggan in a car along with his sons when the vehicle was hit by a remote controlled bomb in Gallushah area in Khar tehsil.

According to the officials, the tribal elder died on the spot while his two sons sustained critical injuries in the blast. The injured were taken to agency headquarters hospital in Khar where condition of one was stated to be critical.

Soon after the blast, residents of the area and members of peace committee rushed to the blast site but the assailants managed to escape. Later, officials of the local administration accompanied by personnel of Levies force also reached the site and mounted a hunt for the attackers.

According to the officials, Malik Younas was actively involved in organising local people against militants in Salarzai tehsil.

AFP adds: Tribal administration official Saaz Mohammad told AFP nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the bomb blast.

Taliban militants have carried out several bomb attacks against tribal elders who have raised and supported vigilantes against them.

Intelligence officials confirmed the attack and death, and said Younas supported the government’s offensive against Taliban militants and had been active in organising tribes to combat the insurgents.

Bajaur is one of seven semi-autonomous tribal districts along Pakistan’s mountainous western border which became a hotbed of militants following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Pakistan began a long-awaited push to clear insurgent bases from the North Waziristan tribal district in June last year after a bloody Taliban attack on Karachi airport sank faltering peace talks.

The army has intensified its offensive since the Taliban’s massacre of 153 people, 134 of them children, in a school in Peshawar last December.