The head of security at the Karachi residence of Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari died Wednesday along with two other people in a bomb attack, a police spokesman told Efe.

The attack took place in the Gurumandar area when Bilal Sheikh got out of his vehicle to do some shopping in preparation for the start on Thursday of the Muslim festival of Ramadan.

The spokesman could not say if it was a suicide attack or if the bomb was detonated from a distance, but he did specify that it used four kilograms (8.8 pounds) of explosives and that nine people were wounded, among them three police officers and four civilians.

According to The Express Tribune, the wounded, three of whom are in serious condition, were transported to the Jinnah hospital.

Other media outlets emphasized Sheikh's activism within Zardari's PPP party, something that - Dawn newspaper said - could have made him into a target for the Taliban insurgents.

Karachi, with some 20 million residents, is Pakistan's most populous city and the country's financial capital.

Long plagued by violence linked to organized crime and by sectarian and ethnic strife, Karachi has grown even more tense in recent years with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Pashtuns fleeing conflict in northwest Pakistan.

Besides adding another element to an already volatile ethnic mix, the Pashtun influx has served as cover for the infiltration of Pakistani and Afghan Taliban fighters into Karachi. EFE