PABBI, Pakistan — A Taliban suicide bomber struck yesterday near the home of a Pakistani provincial minister whose only son was recently killed by the militants, officials said. Seven people were killed and 25 wounded.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province and an outspoken critic of the Taliban, was the apparent target. He was receiving condolences from visitors elsewhere in Pabbi at the time of the blast and was safe. Some of his relatives were also receiving mourners at a mosque near the house, and two were hurt, police said.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying their goal was to kill Hussain because his political party is allied with the United States. The Awami National Party is a secular-leaning political group that has been outspoken against militant activity in Pakistan.
“This is just beginning,’’ Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said by telephone. “We will carry out more attacks against the party. We will destroy their roots.’’
The attack showed the dangers facing those in Pakistan who take high-profile positions against the Islamist militants who have wreaked havoc in the country over the last several years. Hussain is frequently the official who shows up at the scenes of bombings in the northwestern province to condemn the Taliban and allied insurgent factions.
On Saturday, his son, Rashid Hussain, was gunned down in the same area of Nowshera district, an attack that Ahsan, the Taliban spokesman, said was also carried out by the group.
The suicide bomber yesterday was on a motorcycle and was rushing toward the minister’s home when intercepted by security officials, senior police official Liaquat Ali Khan said. The bomber, believed to be a young boy, then set off his explosives.