BANNU - At least four people were killed and 35 others injured after a convoy of former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister and JUI-F Central General Secretary Akram Khan Durrani was targeted with a remote control explosive device in Bannu on Friday.

Local sources and police said Durrani was on the way back to his hometown of Bannu after attending an election corner meeting in the Haved locality when his convoy was hit by a remote control explosive device planted on a motorcycle near Haved Police Station.

Durrani and his son narrowly escaped due to their bulletproof vehicle, while four persons were killed and 35 others including a passerby and three police officials of the convoy sustained critical injuries.

The bomb near Bannu was targeting the convoy of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) candidate Akram Khan Durrani, who survived the attack, police said. "The bomb was planted in a motorcycle," regional police officer Kareem Khan told AFP.

Rescue teams rushed to the blast site and shifted the injured to Khalifa Gul Nawaz Hospital Bannu, where they were provided emergency medical treatment. Hospital authorities said that the condition of seven persons was critical.

Soon after the blast, as a heavy contingent of police rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. The bomb disposal squad collected evidence from the crime scene and sent it for further investigation.

Those who were killed were identified as Muhammad Ullah, Zarin, Janat Zaman and Bilal, who hailed from the Hawaid Khas area.

The blast also damaged vehicles parked nearby the blast site.

District Police Officer Bannu Khurram Rasheed told journalists that Durrani’s convoy was the intended target.  KP IGP Tahir Khan also confirmed the casualties and said the injured also included three police personnel who were escorting Durrani’s convoy.

It was the third major attack in KP in less than a week as on Tuesday night ANP leader and candidate for PK-78 Haroon Bilour along with 21 other party workers was killed in a suicide attack. On July 7, a JUI-F rally was targeted in Bannu, injuring JUI-F candidate for PK-89 Sheren Malak.

In 2015, Durrani’s convoy was also targeted in FR Bannu with a remote control device killing two persons on the spot; however, Durrani had narrowly escaped in that attack.

Durrani is contesting elections against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan from an NA-35 seat on an MMA ticket and he had already been informed of security threats during election campaigns and corner meetings.

"Strongly condemn the terrorist attack on Akram Durrani and his convoy," Imran Khan tweeted after the attack. "There seems to be a conspiracy to sabotage the 25 July elections but the people of Pakistan will not allow any design intended to target these historic elections to succeed," he continued.

Durrani said he was not afraid of such coward acts and he would not stay away from corner meetings and election campaigns. Later, Durrani visited the hospital and inquired after the health of the injured.

7-MEMBER JIT TO PROBE BLAST

KP Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (retd) Dost Muhammad Khan has formed a seven-member joint investigation team to investigate the Bannu bomb blast and asked the investigation team to move immediately to Bannu and nab the criminals as soon as possible.

The terrorists and criminals should be brought to justice, he directed. He was presiding over a meeting of the provincial caretaker cabinet at Chief Minister Secretariat Peshawar.

He condemned the bomb attack on the convoy of former chief minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Akram Durrani. The cabinet prayed for the departed souls and early recovery of the injured. 

Justice (Retd) Dost directed against any delay in the investigation in order to unearth the enemies of the state and people. Directing the secretary and DG health for providing all healthcare facilities, ambulances and taking all necessary steps, the caretaker chief minister directed for immediate steps to complete the burn centre Peshawar in order to provide efficient healthcare to the injured of terrorism and bomb blasts.

The cabinet reviewed the pace of progress and implementation of the decisions of the previous cabinet meeting. The meeting discussed, evaluated and examined the information gathered about the Peshawar suicide attack, the Bannu bomb blast, and the level of threat alert and decided to sensitise the relevant quarters for enhanced security.

The chief minister directed that security to the political leadership and candidates and their rallies, gatherings and corner meetings should be enhanced. He also directed to be in contact with the political leadership and the contesting candidates for securing their routes and places of meetings and gatherings.

 

Four dead in bomb attack on Durrani’s convoy