At least 15 were killed as a bomb went off in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi on Monday, said reports, this being the latest in series of a number of explosions that rocked Pakistan since an army offensive was launched against Taliban.
The explosion took place following announcement of reward up to $5 million for information leading to the capture, dead or alive, of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud and his top aides.
“We have information that 15 to 20 people have been killed,” Rana Sanaullah, Punjab Law Minister who is also responsible for security of the province, was quoted as saying by Reuters about the bombing in Rawalpindi.
“Around 20 people were killed in the blast,” said Rao Mohammad Iqbal, the city police chief.
Army offensive against Hakimullah and his followers in South Waziristan have led to retaliation by the militant outfit by stepping up bombing campaign against urban targets across the country.
The blast occurred in an area in Rawalpindi that is home to the army headquarters as well some hotels.
“It was a huge blast. Smoke is rising from the scene,” Nasir Naqvi, who runs a travel agency near the site of blast, told Reuters.
TV stations showed ambulances and police vehicles racing through the streets and officials said they expected the casualty figures to rise.