SWABI, Oct 22: Six persons were injured as two blasts rocked Swabi when Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti arrived in the district on an official visit on Monday.
The first bomb, planted in a motorcycle near Sehsat Medical Centre on Swabi-Jahangira road, exploded as soon as the motorcade of chief minister passed through the area.
The officials of bomb disposal squad said that three kilograms of explosives were used in the expulsion. No casualty was reported in the blast. The chief minister was on his way to inaugurate Swabi-Jahangira and Swabi-Topi roads.
The second blast occurred in Shewa Adda that injured six persons including a traffic constable. Sources said that an explosive device was planted in a bicycle parked in Shewa Adda Chowk that went off with a big bang, injuring six persons.
The local people took part in rescue work and shifted the injured to a hospital in Kalu Khan. The injured were identified as Rashid Bahadar, Khursheed Ali, Shad Ali, Iqbal Hussain, Waris Khan and 11-year-old Sadiq Usman.
Sources said that two of the injured were in critical condition.
However, the chief minister didn’t cancel a public meeting of Awami National Party and returned to its venue at Swabi grid station on the same route. The public meeting was shortened and only Provincial Minister for Usher and Zakat Zarshed Khan and Mr Hoti addressed it.
“As you know, we were also welcomed by some other people (militants) here today,” the chief minister said in his address. He said that after the explosion security staff advised him to move back to Peshawar instead of attending the public meeting.
“I told the security staff to let me die with my brothers. The people, who were killed in mosques, in police uniform and in operations, all are our brothers and we want to stand with them,” Mr Hoti said.
He said that he decided to address the public meeting because the party workers and followers of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan were waiting for him. “Secondly, it is against the Pakhtun culture and traditions to leave colleagues and move away from them when they are in trouble,” he said.
The chief minister said that the government was ready to hold talks with militants if they gave up subversive activities, upheld the principles of peace settlements and expressed readiness to sit across the table.
However, he said that they were ready to render sacrifices for their motherland if militants didn’t stop subversive activities. “If they (militants) continue their attacks then we would fight till last. We are Pakhtuns and we know how the motherland can be defended,” he added.
Mr Hoti said that Pakhtuns had already rendered numerous sacrifices and they were ready to foil the designs of those elements, who were challenging the writ of the government.
Earlier, he inaugurated work on Kotha bypass that would cost Rs180 million. It has been planned that the project will be completed within seven months.
The chief minister also announced construction of Panjpir Khur causeway and Panjpir School causeway. Both the roads would cost Rs65 million and Rs47 million respectively. The six-kilometre Turbandi road in PK-32, Swabi-1, would cost Rs65 million and the 10-kilometre Sherdara road in the same constituency is estimated to be completed with Rs109.7million.
Mr Hoti said that completion of Swabi-Jahangira road cost Rs1618.89 million. The project was funded by Asian Development Bank and provincial government. The Swabi-Topi road was financed by provincial government and it cost Rs364.618 million.
The chief minister also inaugurated upgradation of Swabi grid station that cost Rs65.600 million. A new transformer was installed at the grid station to reduce loadshedding, accommodate new feeders and fulfil requirements of farmers and other consumers.