| Interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao
Peshawar, April 28 (Reuters): A suicide bomber killed 22 people in Pakistan today and wounded dozens more, including interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, a senior government official said.
However, PTI reported that 30 people were killed in the blast.
The bombing took place as people gathered around the minister at the end of a public meeting in Charsada, 20 km northeast of Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province.
“It was a suicide attack,” Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema, spokesman for the interior ministry, said. Police said they had found the torso of the bomber.
At least 22 people were killed, and 25 wounded, Cheema said, though doctors at hospitals in Charsada and Peshawar said the number of wounded was far more, with some in critical condition.
Witness Alaf Khan said Sherpao was receiving guests from his political party when the attacker struck. “The people were garlanding the minister when all of a sudden a big explosion took place,” Khan said.
Bacha Gul Wazir, home secretary of the province, said he saw blood on the minister’s face, but a central government official said his wounds were not life-threatening. State-run PTV showed Sherpao, in bloodsoaked clothes, waling to his car accompanied by his supporters.
“He is slightly wounded. He is stable. He is talking to people on the telephone,” Tasnim Aslam, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said. Several of Sherpao’s security detail were among those killed, police said.
Sherpao’s son Sikander, who is a member of parliament, was also wounded in the blast.