Death toll in Pakistan rally attack climbs to 21

12 July, 2018, 08:22 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Haroon Bilour was approaching the rally organised in connection with his election campaign on Circular Road when the explosion took place

People carry the coffins of the victims of a suicide bombing at an election rally for burial in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Wednesday. Senior party leader Iftikhar Hussain said funeral prayers will be offered on Wednesday at 5 pm (5.30 pm Indian Standard Time) in Peshawar's Wazir Bagh area.

The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) on Monday had told a Senate standing committee that some leading political leaders faced death threats from militant outfits ahead of the July 25 general elections in Pakistan.

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has chose to halt all electioneering in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Punjab following the attack on an Awami National Party rally on late Tuesday night.

Another senior police official Kaukab Farooqi confirmed that the blast killed Bilour and injured 36 others.

"According to our initial investigation, it was a suicide attack and Haroon Bilour. was the target", said AIG Shafqat Malik.

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His father Bashir Bilour, one of the ANP s top leaders, was also killed by a suicide bomber in 2012.

Following the incident, the Election Commission of Pakistan postponed the polls in PK-78 (Peshawar-XIII) constituency.

The blast happened as he arrived at the event, said Shahzad Kukab, superintendent of police.

The government of Turkey has condemned a suicide bomb attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital at a political rally late Tuesday which killed at least 21 people.

His body was later taken to Bilour House where party workers paid tributes to him.

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Hospital's spokesperson Zulfiqar Ali Baba Khel reportedly said that 13 people died and more than 47 are wounded in the blast. Extremists killed hundreds of ANP leaders and supporters in attacks around the 2013 election.

Mohammad Khorasani, spokesman for the Taliban militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

Pakistani terror organisations have claimed responsibility for attacks on several prominent political figures, including the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza denounced the attack, saying: "This shows weakness of our security institutions and a conspiracy against transparent elections".

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