Suicide bomber blows himself up at funeral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province; at least 57 wounded

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of hundreds of mourners attending a funeral in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing 27 people. Among those killed was a newly-elected legislator who may have been the target, authorities said.

The blast was the worst attack in the region since the May 11 nation-wide elections installed a new government in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The carnage poses a challenge for the newly-installed provincial government of cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan, who campaigned on a platform that he would negotiate with the Pakistani Taliban to bring an end to the years of fighting and attacks in northwestern Pakistan.

The bombing, which took place in the village of Sher Garh near the city of Mardan, killed 27 people and wounded at least 57, said Tahir Ayub Khan, a senior police officer in Mardan.

A witness told Pakistan’s Dunya television that 700 to 800 people were attending the funeral when the suicide bomber detonated the device.

“We all fell down after the blast,” he said. “There were bodies and wounded people everywhere.”

The legislator, Imran Khan Mohmand, ran in Pakistan’s May 11 parliamentary and provincial elections as an independent candidate and later supported the party of Imran Khan. This was the second provincial legislator affiliated with the party to be killed since the election. Another independent candidate who later joined Mr. Khan’s party was shot dead earlier in the month.

Mr. Khan campaigned on an anti-American platform in which he blamed the CIA’s drone programme and the war in Afghanistan for leading to much of the violence in Pakistan. He also favoured negotiations with the Pakistani Taliban over military operations to root them out, and many of his aides and supporters said the party would not allow Pakistan to be used to ferry supplies to and from NATO troops in Afghanistan.