Peshawar: At least 34 people were killed and more than 50 others injured when a suicide bomber targeted members of an anti-Taliban militia attending a funeral in Pakistan's restive northwest on Wednesday.
The bomber targeted the funeral prayers of the wife of Hakeem Khan, a leader of the "peace committee" or anti-Taliban militia of Adezai, a tribal area near Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
The attacker, a youth who was on foot, ran into the crowd of mourners at Mattani, 35 km south of Peshawar, and detonated his explosive vest.
Over 200 tribesmen were attending the funeral.
Bomb disposal experts from the army carried out the controlled detonation of a bomb that was found at the site of the attack.
Thirty-four people were killed in the suicide attack, district administration official Siraj Ahmed Khan told reporters outside the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.
Over 50 people were also injured, other officials said. The condition of eight of the injured was described by officials as serious.
The Darra Adam Khel chapter of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out to avenge the killing of militants in a military operation in Adezai area.
An emergency was declared in hospitals in Peshawar.
The anti-Taliban militia of Adezai, formed in 2008, has been at the forefront of efforts by tribesmen to flush out militants from the region around Peshawar.
A leader of the militia, Abdul Malik, was killed in a suicide attack in 2009.
In recent months, leaders of the militia have complained that the government has not been providing adequate support for their efforts to take on the Taliban.
The Taliban have repeatedly threatened members of pro-government militias in northwest Pakistan.
The militants want to have control on areas surrounding Peshawar so that they can gain unfettered access to the city.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the suicide attack and reiterated his government's resolve to root out the "cancer of terrorism from every nook and corner of the country."
He said, "Such cowardly attacks on peaceful citizens cannot demoralise the nation."