Nine students among 19 killed in Pakistan suicide blast

Last Updated: Mon, Sep 06, 2010 11:23 hrs

Islamabad: At least 19 people, among them nine school children, were killed and 46 injured on Monday in yet another suicide bombing in Pakistan, this time targeting a police station in Lakki Marwat, a town in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

About 130 people have died in Pakistan in bombings and other terror attacks in several cities in the past week even as the country was trying to recover from unprecedented flooding that affected nearly a fifth of the country and took over 1,600 lives.

A suicide bomber Monday morning reportedly rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the rear wall of the police station, killing nine policemen. Over 45 police personnel were present inside the police station at the time of the blast.

The police station, situated in a busy shopping area of the town, has been severely damaged. Ten civilians killed in the blast included five boys and four girls who were going to a school nearby.

Lakki Marwat is a frontier town in what was earlier North West Frontier Province that has been renamed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain confirmed 19 casualties in the blast. 'We can't hide from the terrorists and have to fight with them till the time complete success is achieved,' he said.

The school and several other government buildings were also damaged.

Police confirmed the death of nine policemen in the blast.

'We'll only be able to assess the damage once the debris are removed completely', Gul Wali, a police officer, said.

District coordination officer Ayaz Mandokhel said that 46 people, including 20 policemen, were injured in the blast. '30 injured people have been shifted to Lakki Marwat city hospital while 16 have been sent to Peshawar,' he said.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ordered an inquiry into the blast while Interior Minister Rehman Malik has sought report from the inspector general of police of the KPK province.

Senior KPK Minister Bashir Bilour condemned the incident and said that 'it will not be able to dent our resolve against terrorists'. 'We are in a state of war and have given a lot of sacrifices,' he said, adding that the government will keep the momentum in the offensive against terrorists.

In the fresh wave of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, 73 people were killed in Quetta city and 35 died in Lahore last week when Shia community processions were targeted.

A suicide blast targeting a jirga (meeting of elders) in Shah Hassan Khel village near Lakki Marwat in January this year had killed over 100 people.

KPK province is central to the 'war on terror' due to its close proximity with tribal areas and Afghanistan.

(Awais Saleem can be contacted at ians.pakistan@gmail.com)