Officials said they were investigating the motive for the attack. In the past, Islamist militants and other gunmen have been accused of attacking charity workers.
The victims — all Pakistanis — worked for a Pakistani charity which runs health and education projects, said Abdul Rashid Khan, police chief for Swabi district where the killings took place.
They were on their way home from a local community centre when they were attacked. “Four men came on two motorbikes. They attacked their van. They opened fire to the right and left of the van and fled on their motorbikes,” Khan said.
“Six women and a man have died. The driver is injured,” he said. Rooh ul-Amin, who heads an umbrella organisation of charities in Swabi, said the victims worked for Ujalla, which was formerly known as the Swabi Women Welfare Society and which ran classes on health education and employed health visitors.
He said his initial information was that five women teachers, one woman health worker, and a male health technician were killed.
Police also identified five women teachers among the dead, saying they worked for a local charity that promotes health and education at a community centre in a Swabi village.
Last month, nine polio vaccination workers were shot dead in a string of attacks in Karachi and northwest Pakistan.