MARDAN, June 18: A suicide bomber blew himself up at a funeral in Shergarh area here on Tuesday, killing 29 people and injuring over 60 others. Imran Mohmand, a member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, was among the dead.

Agency reports said that Mr Mohmand who had contested the May 11 elections as independent candidate later joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

Mardan Deputy Inspector General Jafar Khan told Dawn that the bomber had detonated his suicide vest soon after the funeral prayer of Haji Abdullah, an influential tribal elder who had been killed in a feud in Shahzaman Qala a day earlier.

JUI-F’s former MNA Maulana Mohammad Qasim, who led the funeral prayer, remained safe.

“It was terrible. We had to make our way through piles of human flesh, bodies torn apart and limbs blown up,” he said. “Nothing remains of the bomber. We collected bags of flesh and limbs.”

The DIG said the dead and wounded had been hit by flying shrapnel and ball-bearings.

Imran Mohmand quit the Awami National Party after he had been denied a party ticket and contested the elections as an independent candidate.

DIG Jafar said it appeared that the MPA was the target because he had been receiving threats. “We had provided him police escort and cautioned him against travelling too much.”

District Police Officer of Mardan Tahir Ayub said the bomber had blown himself up near Imran Mohmand. Some of the critically wounded had been shifted to Peshawar, provincial Information Minister Shaukat Yusufzai told Dawn.

“We condemn the bombing regardless of who carries out it,” he said, adding that the incident reinforced the call for a national policy to deal with the situation.

“All stakeholders must sit together and decide. Talks with militants are the only way out,” the minister said, echoing the stance of his party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, on dialogue with militants.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack till late in the night.

Imran Mohmand was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard.

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