Rescue workers transport an injured person to the hospital after gunmen attacked the Directorate of Agriculture Institute in Peshawar. In latest attack, eight people died at the scene while one person later died in hospital. Image Credit: Reuters file

PESHAWAR: Nine people, including two off-duty army personnel, were killed when gunmen opened fire on a bus travelling through northern Pakistan, causing it to crash into an oncoming truck and catch fire, officials said Sunday.

The bus was attacked at around 6:30pm local time (1330 GMT) on Saturday from both sides by at least five militants.

“Following the firing, the bus lost control and collided with an oncoming truck. Subsequently, both vehicles caught fire. Among the casualties are both drivers,” said Arif Ahmed Khan, a senior government official for the district.

He said eight people died at the scene while one person later died in hospital.

The attack happened near Chilas in Gilgit-Baltistan, along the Karakoram Highway that connects the capital Islamabad to the mountainous north and China, tracing one of the many paths of the ancient Silk Road.

The bus was travelling south to the garrison city of Rawalpindi, which neighbours the capital.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Chilas, a town within the popular tourist destination of Gilgit-Baltistan, lies close to the Diamer-Bhasha Dam, a Chinese-backed mega project being built on the River Indus.