8 killed in attacks against politicians in Pakistan
13 January 2014, 14:33
Islamabad - At least eight people were killed Sunday in two attacks targeting Pakistani politicians, including a close aide of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, officials said.
Six policemen and two members of a political party were among the dead in the bomb and gun attacks in the country's troubled north-west.
Two roadside bombs hit the convoy of Ameer Muqam, an adviser to Sharif, when he was heading home after attending a political meeting in Shangla district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Six policemen in his escort died. "Both bombs were detonated by remote control," said Abdullah Khan, the local police chief.
Police earlier had said one of the explosions was caused by a suicide bomber.
Muqam, one of the key leaders of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, was unhurt in the attack.
"I'm safe, but six of my guards have been killed," he told Pakistan's Geo television by telephone immediately after the attack.
It was the first attack on a member of Sharif's party since his government took over in June although Islamist militants have targeted activists of other political parties.
Two members of the Awami National Party were killed on Sunday when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in the suburbs of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's capital, Peshawar, police official Altaf Hussain said.
No group has claimed responsibility for either attack.
Sharif has said he wants to hold peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban to end a decade-long conflict, but the plan is opposed by other politicians and civil society groups.
More than 2 000 people were killed in attacks across the country in 2013, according to figures compiled by the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, a think tank.