At least 9 dead, scores injured in Pakistan suicide bombing
Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour passed away in hospital after getting critically injured in his chest and stomach, local media quote hospital officials as saying. Bilour's personal secretary and a police chief were also killed in the blast.
Bilour had been participating in a rally organized by the Awami National Party (ANP). The demonstration took place at a bazaar, while the blast targeted the nearby house of where another ANP meeting was to take place later in the day, News Pakistan daily reported.
Conflicting reports suggest that Bilour was actually leaving an ANP meeting which was held at a local party leader's residence, when the bomb went off.
Pakistani militant group Tehrik-i-Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The ANP is their frequent target since it is a prominent regional movement representing the people of Pashtun, the second-largest ethnic group in Pakistan. Bilour, who occupied the post of the Senior Minister for local government and rural development in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region, was one of the ANP leaders.
Pakistani rescues collect evidence at the suicide attack site in Peshawar on December 22, 2012. (AFP Photo/A Majeed)
Pakistani paramedics treat critically injured senior minister of the provincial government, Bashir Bilour after the suicide blast in Peshawar on December 22, 2012. (AFP Photo)
Police officers investigate the site of a bomb attack in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar in Peshawar December 22, 2012. (Reuters/Fayaz Aziz)
Awami National Party (ANP) activists carry the coffin of senior provincial minister Bashir Bilour in an ambulance in Peshawar on December 22, 2012. (AFP Photo/A Majeed)
Awami National Party (ANP) activists mourn the death of senior provincial minister Bashir Bilour in Peshawar on December 22, 2012. (AFP Photo/A Majeed)
A man is comforted by his relative as he mourns his brother who was killed in a bomb blast in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar, at a hospital in Peshawar December 22, 2012 (Reuters/Khuram Parvez)
Security forces photograph evidence at the site of a bomb attack in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar in Peshawar December 22, 2012. (Reuters/Fayaz Aziz)