On Sunday, two suicide bombers detonated their explosives at anti-Taliban provincial minister Shuja Khanzada’s home in eastern Pakistan, killing him and 13 others, the Associated Press reports. A militant group associated with the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
A government official, Saeed Elahi, said the bombing took place at Khanzada’s hometown of Shadi Khan, about 50 miles northwest of the capital, Islamabad. Another official, Deeba Shahnaz, said 17 people were wounded in the explosion, four of whom were in critical condition.
Khanzada was a vocal public advocate for harsh government tactics against the militants, and endorsed the government’s recent decision to bring back the death penalty for terrorism cases. Late last month, he had announced the killing in a police shootout of one of the most feared Islamic militants Malik Ishaq, who was the chief of al-Qaida linked Pakistani sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
“We will not spare any of the 63 proscribed militant organizations,” Khanzada said in a recent local TV interview.
The New York Times reports that Khanzada, who officials said had received death threats, was holding a “political meeting” at his home when the attack took place. “People had come to condole the death of one of our uncles, who had died a few days ago,” his son, Jahangir Khanzada, told local reporters.
“Such dastardly, cowardly attempts can’t dent our national resolve to eliminate the menace,” a military spokesman said in a statement. “Khanzada was a bold officer whose sacrifice for the greater cause of cleansing Pakistan won’t go to waste.”