Islamabad, Feb 27: The Chief Minister of Pakistan's restive Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province Ameer Haider Khan Hoti today escaped a apparent assassination attempt when a powerful bomb went off near the venue of a political rally addressed by him, killing seven persons and injuring 24 others.
The bomb, planted in a motorcycle, was triggered by remote control after the Chief Minister had left the venue in a helicopter with senior leaders of the Awami National Party, which rules Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. No leaders of the ANP were among the casualties, police said.
The explosion occurred near a police check post, about 200 yards from Farooq Stadium in Nowshera city, where the ANP had organised the rally.
People were leaving the stadium at the time of the blast. Police officials said seven persons were killed and 24 others, including seven policemen, were injured.
Those with serious injuries were taken to a hospital in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Officials said the motorcycle with the bomb was left in a parking lot.
Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who was part of the Chief Minister's team, said the attackers had failed to target the rally because of tight security.
He reiterated the firm resolve of the provincial government and the ANP to wipe out terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations.
Besides the Chief Minister and Information Minister, several other senior ANP leaders, including parliamentarian Afrasiab Khattak and provincial ministers, had attended the rally.
The blast, which was heard from several kilometres away, created panic among the thousands of people present at the stadium.