MARDAN, May 5: At least two workers of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and as many police constables were injured when an improvised explosive device planted on a roadside went off when a PTI procession was passing from there to attend a public meeting in Gharibabad area of Takhbai tehsil here on Sunday.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Nazir Khan told Dawn that preliminary investigation suggested that a remote-controlled device was exploded by unknown persons to target the PTI procession on Takhtbai road.

He said that two police personnel and two PTI workers suffered injuries in the blast. They were taken to Mardan Medical Complex by Rescue 1122. The injured were identified as PTI activists Shah Zeb and Khalid, and constables Matiullah and Altaf.

The DSP said that the police launched a search operation soon after the blast and had arrested 15 suspects, who were being interrogated. The Takhbai police have registered the case against unknown persons.

Tariq Mehmood Aryani, PTI local office-bearer, told Dawn that five of their workers were injured in the blast. He said that three of them were later referred to Peshawar for treatment.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued in Peshawar on Sunday the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Caretaker Minister for Information Mussarat Qadeem condemned the attack on an election rally of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf in Takhtbhai, Mardan.

The minister said that the government was striving hard to protect the people as well as candidates of political parties and provide them security. She said that the government was using all resources to ensure holding of peaceful, free and transparent elections in the province.

Ms Qadeem said that it was the main responsibility of the government to protect the lives and property of people. She said that the government would hold the elections in an impartial and free environment.

The minister said that the provincial government had put the security forces on alert to avert any untoward incident during the elections.

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