QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A roadside bomb struck a vehicle carrying a local politician and his friends in southwestern Pakistan on Monday, killing him and six others, police said.
In a separate bombing, two people were killed in the northwest.
The attack that killed seven happened in Kech, a town in Baluchistan province, local police officer Haider Ali said. He said that the slain politician, Ishaq Yaqub, was from the Baluchistan Awami Party and it was unclear who was behind the attack.
For years, Baluchistan has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by small separatist groups and nationalists who complain of discrimination and demand a fairer share of their province’s resources and wealth.
The bombing in Baluchistan happened hours after a suicide bomber apparently detonated his explosives-laden vehicle prematurely in a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban, killing a married couple in a nearby car, officials said.
A local administration official, Rehmant Ullah, said the bombing happened in North Waziristan, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan.
He said a team from the bomb disposal unit was also present nearby when the blast took place, but they escaped unharmed.
“We suspect that the suicide bomber detonated his explosives either by mistake or prematurely, but it killed a man and his wife whose car was near the vehicle of the bomber at the time of the blast,” he said.
It is unclear who dispatched the car bomber to the area, but suspicion is likely to fall on the outlawed Pakistani Taliban, who are known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, and who have stepped up attacks on security forces since last year.
TTP is a separate group but is a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.
Although the Pakistani military claims it has cleared the North Waziristan region and other former tribal areas in the northwest of militants, the violence has continued, raising concerns that the Pakistani Taliban are regrouping in the area.