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The provincial government is led by the Awami National Party, and Mr. Hussain is one of the party’s most prominent faces.

The U.S. Embassy and Pakistan’s prime minister issued quick condemnations of the attack, with the Americans saying in a statement that “such brutal acts demonstrate the terrorists’ agenda of fear and intimidation.”

Bashir Bilour, a senior minister in the volatile province, bemoaned the persistent militant violence, saying, “It is a third world war, and we are the front line.”

Also Monday, the prime minister of Pakistan-held Kashmir, Raja Farooq Haider Khan, resigned ahead of a no-confidence vote scheduled against him by opposition lawmakers in the semiautonomous region’s parliament. Mr. Khan became prime minister in October 2009 after successfully spearheading a similar no-confidence vote against his predecessor.

Pakistan and India both claim the right to all of Kashmir and have fought two wars over the divided Himalayan region. India-controlled Kashmir has experienced unrest in recent weeks as anti-government protesters have staged violent demonstrations.

Associated Press writer Ishtiaq Mahsud contributed to this report from Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan.