Suicide bomber struck in the camp office of Sardar Amjad Farooq Khan Khosa who was not there
At least eight people were killed and 13 injured in suspected suicide attack targeting a camp office of a federal lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in this south Punjab district on Wednesday. Sardar Amjad Farooq Khan Khosa, a member of the National Assembly from DG Khan, was not present in the office located in Taunsa tehsil when the attack occurred.
The deadly attack took place nearly two months after Punjab Home Minister Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada was assassinated in a similar suicide attack on his camp office in Attock district.
About Wednesday’s bombing, police and witnesses said a suicide attacker entered the main hall of Khosa’s camp office at noon and detonated the explosives strapped to his body in the midst of people present there. Experts said the bomber carried 13 kilos of explosives in his vest. Ball bearings were also used in the device to inflict maximum casualties. Five rooms and the main hall of the office were destroyed in the blast.
The spokeswoman for the Punjab police, Nabeela Ghazanfar, said the bodies of seven victims had been taken to a hospital, along with a mutilated corpse that the police suspect may have been the bomber.
DPO Ghulam Mubashir Mekan said the victims included Zameerul Hasan Sanghi and Akhtar Khan Tangwani who were running for the office of union council chairman in the upcoming local government elections. He identified the remaining victims as Muhammad Hussain, Malik Iftikhar, Ghulam Jaffar Sanghi, Umar Daraz and Zahid Qureshi. “The victims were close friends and political allies of Khosa,” DPO Mekan told The Express Tribune.
“Police have sent body parts of the suspected bomber for forensic tests,” he said, adding that the head and legs of the bomber have been found, while his middle torso was blown into pieces. “The bomber appeared to be around 20-year old and supported a small beard,” DPO Mekan said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but south Punjab is said to be the home of the Punjabi Taliban and sectarian extremist groups. DG Khan shares a border with South Waziristan Agency, which used to be a bastion of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan before the group was routed in a military operation in 2009. “The attacker could have come from anywhere,” DPO Mekan said.
This is the second suicide attack on PML-N officials within two months. Earlier Home Minister Shuja Khanzada and 16 other people were killed in a suicide blast at his political office in Shadi Khan village in Attock on August 16. Khanzada was heading an active campaign to purge Punjab of sectarian militant outfits. And investigators had blamed the TTP and its affiliate, Lashkar-e-Jhnagvi sectarian extremist group, for the attack.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned Wednesday’s bomb attack on MNA Khosa’s office and sought an investigation report from the local police. He said such cowardly acts of terrorists could not weaken the Pakistani nation’s resolve to eliminate the menace of terrorism. “The war against terrorism will continue till terrorists and their facilitators are eliminated,” he said in a statement.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2015.