Peshawar: At least 34 people were killed and more than 50 others injured after a suicide bomber attacked people attending a funeral prayer in Pakistan’s restive northwest on Wednesday.

The perpetrator ran into the crowd of mourners at Mattani, 35 km south of Peshawar, and detonated his explosive vest.

The bomber targeted the members of an anti-Taliban militia who were attending the funeral of the wife of Hakeem Khan, a leader of the ‘peace committee’ of Adezai – a tribal area near Peshawar.  

Formed in 2008, the anti-Taliban militia of Adezai has been at the forefront of efforts by tribesmen to flush out militants from the region around Peshawar.

Bomb disposal experts from the Army carried out the controlled detonation of a bomb that was found at the site of the attack.

Thirty-four people were killed in the suicide attack, district administration official Siraj Ahmed Khan told reporters outside the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

Over 50 people were also injured, out of which, the condition of eight was stated to be serious by the officials.

An emergency was declared in hospitals in Peshawar.

Darra Adam claims responsibility

The Darra Adam Khel chapter of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out to avenge the killing of militants in a military operation in Adezai area.

A leader of the militia, Abdul Malik, was killed in a suicide attack in 2009.

The Taliban have repeatedly threatened members of pro-government militias in northwest Pakistan.

The militants want to have control on areas surrounding Peshawar so that they can gain unfettered access to the city.     

PM condemns attack

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the suicide attack and reiterated his government's resolve to root out the "cancer of terrorism from every nook and corner of the
country."

He said, "Such cowardly attacks on peaceful citizens cannot demoralize the nation."


(Agency)