PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A bomb ripped through a crowded Sunni Islamic seminary Thursday night in northwestern Pakistan, killing seven people and wounding 55, police said.
The explosion took place as thousands of people had gathered at the Tableeghi Jamaat religious school ahead of the traditional Islamic day of prayers Friday, police officer Malik Javed said. Tableeghi Jamaat adherents generally gather at the sprawling seminary and mosque located on the outskirts of Peshawar on Thursday nights, as well as Fridays.
Another police official, Shafqat Malik, said the bomb was 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of explosives stuffed into a canister likely set off by a timer.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but militants at war with the Pakistani state often have targeted houses of worship with bombs timed to kill the highest number of people.
Sunni militants often target mosques belonging to Shiite Muslims who are a minority in Pakistan and across the world. They also have targeted Sunni Muslims who do not ascribe to their strict interpretation of Islam.
Meanwhile Thursday, a lawyer for Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf, who is on trial for high treason, said his client needs to go to the U.S. for further medical treatment following a heart scare.
The development is the latest legal twist in a series of legal cases Musharraf has faced since returning to the country nearly a year ago. It came as the former president and retired general failed yet again to appear in court for a hearing.
The attorney, Anwar Mansoor Khan, said a U.S. doctor who has treated Musharraf in the past advised that he be transferred there following recent heart problems.
Musharraf's repeated failure to appear in court and his admission to the hospital — where he was taken Jan. 2 while on his way to a court hearing — has led to speculation that he'll leave the country under the guise of seeking medical treatment abroad.