PESHAWAR – At least 15 people travelling on a bus have been killed by a bomb in Peshawar. According to the reports, the vehicle was carrying 50 government employees of Civil Secretariat from Mardan to Peshawar to their offices. An improvised device apparently inside the bus caused the blast, police say. The explosion took place this morning near Gharbi Police Station in Saddar, a busy shopping district. SSP Operations Abbas Majid Marwat confirmed the death toll, saying it was an improvised explosive device (IED) which was placed under a seat. He said that the bomb attack might be a backlash of Zarb-e-Azb operation by militants. The dead and injured were shifted to Cantonment Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital. Hospital sources said that three females were among the injured taken to hospital. The condition of five injured is said to be critical. Police and security forces have cordoned off the area. Bomb disposal squad said over 8 kg explosives were used in the blast. A hospital official said the death toll was likely to rise. The 35 wounded were taken to Peshawar´s main Lady Reading Hospital, hospital spokesman Jamil Shah said. “Emergency has been declared and all doctors have been called in to handle trauma,” he said. Many of the wounded were in critical condition and the death toll could rise, he said. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan strongly condemned the blast and expressed grief and sorrow over loss of lives.