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Pakistan bomb kills ex-provincial minister


A suspected Taliban bomb attack targeted a former Pakistan provincial cabinet minister yesterday, killing him and three other people in the country's restive northwest, police said.

The bomb exploded in Bagto village, about 10km from the town of Hangu in an area with a history of sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shias, and near the tribal belt.

"Four people, including Ghani-ur Rehman have died in the attack," said Hangu City Police Chief Abdul Rashid Khan.

"The other three are a bodyguard, his driver and a friend," he added.

A controversial figure, Rehman was once irrigation minister in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and an ex-mayor of Hangu.

He spent time in jail under the previous military regime and was one of the beneficiaries of an amnesty – scrapped by the Supreme Court last month – that protected 8,000 politicians, businessmen and officials from corruption charges.

His son, a member of parliament in NWFP, blamed the Taliban and other extremists for his father's assassination.

"My father was targeted twice before. Taliban and militant groups are involved in this attack," said Ateeq-ur Rehman.

"It was a remote-controlled roadside bomb blast. High-intensity explosives were used. The vehicle was completely destroyed," said police spokesman Fazal Naeem.

Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked militants attack daily across northwest Pakistan and the lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border that Washington has branded the most dangerous part of the world.

Bagto village is close to Orakzai, home of Hakimullah Mehsud – head of the country's main Taliban faction.


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