PESHAWAR: A policeman was killed and two others suffered injuries when an explosion hit a police party providing security to a polio vaccination team near here on Tuesday.

The area where the blast took place is about 9km from here and situated along Charsadda Road, which has witnessed a spike in militant activities over the past few months.

A police official told Dawn that there were two blasts in the area.

The first explosion occurred in the Mewra locality near a roadblock set up by the police for random checking to provide security to polio teams working in the area.

The explosion caused injuries to policemen Mohammad Nazir and Mian Liaqat Jan.

They were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital where the former died.

The other blast took place when personnel of the Bomb Disposal Unit were clearing the area, the official said. Policeman Mohammad Zubair sustained injuries in this attack.

SP Bilal Furqan said that he was overseeing security arrangements in the area when one of the blasts occurred, “just moments after my vehicle passed the area”.

“Perhaps the assailants intended to hit my vehicle but the device did not go off when my vehicle was in its range because of a jammer installed in the automobile,” he added.

The SP said that one the two devices used in the blasts weighed around five kilogrammes and the second was a booby trap.

BDU officials said that both the devices were remotely controlled.

Police closed the area following the blasts and conducted a search operation; however, there were no reports of arrests.

The banned Jamatul Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack through its spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan.

The Counter Terrorism Department of police force has registered a case.

Our correspondent from Khar adds: Six people, including a polio worker and three personnel of the Levies Force, were injured when the vehicle they were travelling in was hit by a bomb blast in the mountainous area of Bajaur Agency’s Salarzai tehisl.

Officials said that a remote-controlled device was used in the blast that took place in the hilly area of Mulla Said Banda, some 30km from Khar, the headquarters of the agency.

The vehicle was going to Khar from the Salarzai area when an improvised explosive device, planted along a link road, went off.

Local people said that the explosion occurred when the vehicle just reached there.

The area people and Levies personnel took the injured -- Rahimullah, Rasool Khan, Salahuddin, Mujeeb Gul, Bali Khan and Imran Khan -- to a hospital in Khar. Doctors at the hospital said that the injured were in stable condition.

The injured included the driver and conductor of the vehicle, officials said. But they refused to say anything about the activities of the injured polio worker and Levies personnel in the area.

“I have no information about the activities of the injured Levies men and polio worker in the blast area, but it’s clear that they were on official duty,” said an official.

The explosion in the Mulla Said Banda area took place four days after security forces foiled an attempt by militants to carry out terrorist activity by recovering a cache of weapons and explosive devices during a search operation. Two suspected militants were also taken into custody.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

The Levies Force backed by members of the local peace committee mounted a hunt to capture the elements responsible for the blast, but no arrests were made till evening.

However, according to the local people, some residents of nearby areas had been arrested under the collective responsibility clause of the colonial Frontier Crimes Regulation.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2016