KARACHI/PESHAWAR, Pakistan: At least eight people were killed, including a police officer guarding a polio vaccination drive, in two separate bombings in Pakistan on Sunday.Seven of the victims were killed when a bomb exploded inside a passenger train in near Unar station, 450 kilometers (279 miles)
northwest of Karachi. About 30 others were injured in the blast that badly damaged several carriages.
“The death toll in the explosion rose to seven after two injured persons died of their wounds in a hospital in Jacobabad town,” a senior local administration official, Sardar Jamali, told AFP.
He said the Khushhal Khan Khattak express was traveling to Peshawar from Karachi when it was hit by the blast.
The police casualty was killed in a roadside blast in in the Budni area of the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Police official Ibrahim Khan said another officer was wounded in the attack apparently intended for anti-polio teams who were vaccinating children, said an Associated Press report.
Anti-polio teams or their guards have been frequently targeted in Pakistan by Islamic militants, who say the campaigns are a tool for spying and claim the vaccine makes boys sterile.
Pakistan is one of the few remaining countries where polio persists and most cases found in its northwest, where militants make it difficult to reach children for vaccination.
Pakistan has endured a bloody start to the year with 114 people killed in attacks in January, according to an AFP tally.
On January 29 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced talks with the Pakistani Taleban to “give peace another chance,” but some 60 more people have died in Islamist-linked violence since then.
Three carriages were derailed on Sunday and two of them were severely damaged by the force of the explosion.
A senior railways official Sikandar Lashari confirmed the toll of the bombing, for which there has been no claim of responsibility.
Jamali said the bomb was likely an improvised explosive device. The general manager of Pakistan Railways, Anjum Parvaiz, suggested it was a remote-controlled device planted on the track.
Parvaiz said 800 meters of track had been damaged.
A bomb in one of the compartments of a train on the same route last month killed three people and wounded 20 in the central town of Rajanpur in Punjab province.
Pakistan since July 2007 has been gripped by a local Taleban-led insurgency concentrated largely in the northwest.
The government says more than 40,000 people have been killed in violence since 2001, when Pakistan allied itself with the US-led “war on terror.”