Pakistani official targeted, killed in suicide blast

Story highlights

  • A suicide bomb attack kills at least seven and injures 20
  • Pakistani Taliban admitted it targeted a provincial official
  • Provincial minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour dies in surgery

A Pakistani provincial government official openly targeted by the Pakistani Taliban was killed Saturday in a suicide bomb attack, officials said.

At least seven people were killed and 20 injured in the blast at downtown Peshawar, in an area known as the "storytelling market," police official Asif Iqbal said.

Among the dead was Bashir Ahmed Bilour, a provincial minister who a Pakistani Taliban spokesman admitted the militants were aiming for.

Bilour died at the hospital while undergoing surgery, Iqbal said.

A suicide bomber detonated himself in the crowded market where the secular political party ANP gathered ahead of upcoming elections, senior police official Shafqat Malik said.

The Pakistani Taliban claims responsibility for the attack, which was aimed at the political party and Bilour, Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said.

"Bashir Bilour had received threats before," Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said.

The threats stemmed from the party's stance against terrorism, he said.

"I and him both were threatened by terrorist groups who warned they would cut our heads off," Hussain said. "Bilour stood up against terrorism so he was always under threat."

The attack will not deter the party's resolve to advocate for operations to destroy militant operations, he said. "Just because we are targeted doesn't mean we will back down against terrorism."

The slain official's brother called for the fight against militants to continue.

"He devoted 40 years of his life to politics and working for Pakistan," Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said. "We will continue the struggle, I am not afraid."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the bombing, saying the organization supported Pakistani efforts to "combat the scourge of terrorism."

      CNN Recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.