A peace committee member and his police guards were among five people who lost their lives in a "remote controlled" blast in Swat's Bara Bandai area on Tuesday, according to the police.
The apparent target was identified as Idrees Khan, a member of a "peace committee" — or village defence committees — which were constituted across Swat after the Taliban took control of the area between 2007 and 2009. As per locals, the members of these committees fought against Taliban militants to protect their villages and union councils.
Swat Station House Officer (SHO) Fayaz Khan told Dawn.com that preliminary investigations suggested today's attack was a "remote control bomb" which targeted Idrees.
He said that Khan and his police guards, identified as head constable Rambil and constable Tauheed, were travelling in a vehicle when a blast occurred near the Kot Katai village at 6:30pm.
A passerby, Sanaullah, and another unidentified man were killed in the attack as well. The bodies have been moved to the Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital.
The vehicle Khan was travelling in was also reportedly completely destroyed, Fayaz said, adding that the police have cordoned off the area.
Later, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Immediately after the blast was reported, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan took notice of the incident and summoned a report from the inspector general of police.
He extended condolences to the family members of the deceased and said he was saddened by the lives lost. "The sacrifices of the martyred will not go to waste. The culprits will be brought to justice," CM Khan vowed.
Meanwhile, a resident of Bara Bandai told Dawn.com that members of peace committees have long been threatened by banned outfits and militants. "During militancy, these people picked up guns against the Taliban and opposed them," he added.