PESHAWAR: A cylinder exploded close to the home of Mian Iftikhar Hussain, a prominent provincial minister in restive northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, wounding six people including three children, police said.

The injured included three children, a woman and plain clothed policemen.

Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) chief Abdul Haq told media that the blast occurred due to a cylinder explosion which was kept at an under-construction house, along with other construction material.

Haq further said that there was no evidence of any explosive material in the blast and that cylinder shrapnel and material was collected for further testing.

Panic and fear spread the area where a political gathering was scheduled to take place at the provincial ministers house at 2 pm today.

Consequently the gathering was rescheduled.

The blast hit in the town of Pabbi, just 60 metres from the home of Hussain, the information minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which is frequently hit in attacks by militants.

Hussain, a member of the province’s ruling Awami National Party (ANP) whose son was killed by Taliban militants, was 25 kilometres away in Peshawar at the time of the blast, police said.

Hussain is well known in Pakistan for speaking out against militants. In July 2010 the Taliban shot dead his only son Mian Rashid Hussain, 28, as he travelled home.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan have vowed to kill politicians from the secular ANP and in December a suicide bomber killed Hussain’s colleague Bashir Bilour, the number two minister in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, along with eight other people at a political meeting.

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