Pakistani politician survives suicide attack; five killed (Lead)

October 2nd, 2008 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Oct 2 (DPA) At least five people, including two policemen, were killed Thursday when a suicide bomber tried to target the head of the ruling party in Pakistan’s militancy-hit North Western Frontier Province (NWFP), officials said.The bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the house of Asfand Yar Wali, the head of the ruling Awami National Party (ANP), in Wali Bagh village of Charsadda district. Wali was just about to leave his house when security officials stopped him, NWFP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said.

“We were fearing such an attack as our party leader was receiving threats from Taliban militants,” he told DPA.

Hussain said the sufficient security arrangements saved Wali, adding that terrorists wanted to create unrest and destabilise the country

The liberal and secular ANP defeated the Islamists parties in the Feb 18 elections and is leading the fight against Islamic militancy in the province.

The party is believed to be following pro-American policies in the region.

Wali told reporters hours after the blast that he would not be frightened by the terrorist action.

“No matter what happens, we will stand for this soil. Wherever there is a terrorist ANP will fight against him, wherever there is extremism ANP will fight against it. This land is our motherland, we will shed our blood for it but we will not let terrorists to take control of it,” he said.

He vowed to hit back “very strongly” those who tried to hit him.

Wali said he witnessed the whole episode and that a security guard jumped on him just before the attacker exploded.

Rehman Malik, the security advisor to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, said the country was in the state of war and everyone should help the government in quelling Taliban-led militancy.

“A suicide bomber who has decided to kill himself is difficult to stop,” he said, adding while vowing that the government’s offensive against the rebels in tribal areas would continue until they are eliminated.

An official in the Charsadda district hospital said 20 injured were moved there and three of them were in critical condition.

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