Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada dies

Home Minister of Punjab along with nine others killed, 25 injured in explosion that targeted Pakistan provincial minister’s office

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A strong explosion hit the political office of Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada in Attock, the northern border of the Punjab province of Pakistan, leaving him and nine others dead, local media reported.   

Khanzada's death has been confirmed by Dr Syed Elahi, adviser to the chief minister of Punjab. Deputy Superintendent of Police Hazro Syed Shoukat Shah also lost his life in the bloody attack, according to the officials.

Pakistani police said that the explosion was so intense that the roof of the office building collapsed as well as windows of other structures shattered along the city.   

A police officer from the Punjab region, Nadim Hussain said that Khanzada was in a meeting with local residents when the attack hit his office. He also said about 20 to 25 residents were trapped under rubble due to the roof of the building collapsing.

“As per initial reports Shuja Khanzada is critically injured and still trapped under debris,” Punjab Home Department Secretary Azam Suleman said to Pakistan’s major daily English-language newspaper, The Express Tribune.

Following the blast, rescue teams rushed to the scene, one person has been rescued alive and six bodies have been recovered beneath the rubble. 

Banned insurgency Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which has been involved in several attacks in the region since 1993, allegedly has taken responsibility for the suicide attack, according to Ministry sources. Khanzada had been under the threat of the group due to the killing of their chief, Malik Ishaq in July. 

Home Minister Shuja Khanzada took charge of the home department in October 2014. Previously he served as a special assistant to the chief minister of Punjab.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif  and the Interior Minister of Punjab have expressed their condolences following the attack.

A Punjab police officer killed the leader of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, one of Pakistan's most feared militant groups along with his two sons, a deputy and 10 other supporters of the militant group.

TRTWorld and agencies