PESHAWAR, (Dawn): At least eight people, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa law minister Israrullah Gandapur, were killed Wednesday when a suicide bomber exploded outside his residence in Dera Ismail Khan, police said.
More than 30 people were wounded in the attack, including Gandapur’s elder brother, said Irfan Mahsud, the assistant commissioner in Dera Ismail Khan.
Deputy Superintendent of police, Jan Mohammad Khan, confirmed the minister’s death.
Provincial health minister Shaukat Yousafzai also confirmed Gandupar’s death. “I talked to the minister’s brother and he told me that Gandapur has been martyred,” he said.
According to eyewitnesses, the provincial law minister was exchanging Eid greetings with people at his residence in tehsil Kullachi, about 50 kilometres from Dera Ismail Khan, when the suicide bomber detonated his suicide vest.
“I saw so many dead people and injured people crying for help,” said eyewitness Haseeb Khan, whose new white holiday clothes were drenched in blood. “There were arms, legs and heads everywhere.”
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.
Gandapur was a member of the ruling party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), a party led by former cricketer Imran Khan which favours peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban.
He is the most senior member of the party to have been killed so far.
Party chief Imran Khan condemned the killing of the Gandapur and directed the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to bring those responsible for the incident to justice as soon as possible.
The Pakistani Taliban have said they are open to talks. But they also say they will not disarm, do not recognise the Pakistani constitution, and will not talk to the government until the army pulls back from their strongholds and all their prisoners are released.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain strongly condemned the incident.
“Pakhtunkhwa lost an astute parliamentarian, a decent Pashtun and a brave leader in the martyrdom of Israr Gandapur. May he rest in peace,” tweeted prominent politician Afrasiab Khattak.