BANNU - Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister and incumbent Federal Minister Akram Khan Durrani had a narrow escape when a roadside bomb hit his convoy in Bannu area near the North Waziristan Agency yesterday.

However, two people including a hospital employee were killed and three others injured in the powerful blast.

Local sources said Federal Minister for Housing and Works Akram Durrani along with his cousin MPA Azam Khan Durrani was on way to home after attending a ceremony organised for Malak Nawab Khan and his family when his bulletproof car was targeted with a remote-control device. He had a narrow escape while an escorting ambulance came under attack resulting in killing of two persons including a bike-rider and an employee of a hospital. The blast also injured five other people including two policemen and the driver of the ambulance. The injured were shifted to district headquarters hospital where they were provided emergency medical treatment.

“It was an IED which hit two vehicles in Akram Khan Durrani’s convoy. At least two passers-by have been killed,” said Tahir Khan, a senior police official in Bannu. Khan said Durrani was travelling in a bomb-proof official vehicle and was safe.

Five people, including two policemen in an escort vehicle, were wounded in the blast which also damaged an ambulance in the convoy, he said.

No militant group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but leaders from Durrani’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) party, an ally of the Sharif government, have been targeted by the Pakistani Taliban in the past.

Soon after the attack, red alert was declared in the area and heavy contingent of police were deployed to apprehend the militants. Police also launched a search operation in the area and arrested several suspected persons.

Meanwhile, JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rahman has condemned the attack and termed it a well-hatched conspiracy against JUI-F leadership. He also issued a call for countrywide protest against the attack.

The party’s head Maulana Fazlur Rehman once acted as a negotiator between the militants and the government.

Bannu is adjacent to North Waziristan, where the Pakistan Army launched an operation in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militants who had previously been operating in the area with impunity.

The army has intensified and expanded its offensive since the Taliban’s massacre of more than 150 people, the majority of them children, in a school in Peshawar last December.