A blast in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, or KP, province has killed dozens of people and injured more than 100 others, according to authorities.
The explosion in the tribal area of Bajaur, near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, occurred Sunday afternoon during a convention of the religious political party Jamiat Ulema Islam.
There are conflicting figures about the number of people killed and injured.
District Police Officer Nazeer Khan told VOA that 30 people were confirmed dead while 90 were injured. He said the terror attack was being investigated as a suicide bombing.
A local health official, Dr. Faisal Kamal, told VOA the bodies of 35 people were brought to the district hospital and 16 critically injured victims have been transported via helicopter to another facility.
Other media reports say at least 40 people were killed and 150 others were wounded.
A health emergency has been declared in hospitals across the province as the death toll is expected to rise.
The inspector general of police in KP, Akthar Hayat Gandapur, told media that their initial information indicates the attack could be the work of a suicide bomber.
Zabiullah Mujahid, chief spokesperson of the Afghan Taliban issued a statement condemning the incident, which is being investigated as a terrorist attack.
“Such crimes are not acceptable or justifiable in any way,” he said.
Since the Afghan Taliban took control in Afghanistan in August 2021, Pakistan has seen a major increase in terror attacks, led primarily by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an ideological offshoot of the Afghan Taliban.
Pakistan accuses the Afghan Taliban of harboring anti-Pakistan terrorists, a charge the Taliban in Afghanistan have denied.