Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Prominent local politician among Pakistan's bomb blast victims

Haroon Bilour was approaching the rally organised in connection with his election campaign on Circular Road when the explosion took place Suicide bomber kills ANP candidate, supporters at election rally
Ellis Copeland | 11 July, 2018, 16:33

At least 20 people, including a senior Awami National Party (ANP) leader, were killed and more than 30 others injured after a Taliban suicide bomber attacked an election rally in Pakistan's northwestern Peshawar city, the second terrorist attack on a poll rally ahead of the July 25 general elections.

The dead include a prominent local politician, while 36 others were injured in the attack on Tuesday, Police said. Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said in a statement that they targeted ANP's rally, killing Bilour.

Bilour had suffered serious injuries in the blast and was shifted to the hospital where he succumbed to the wounds.

Another party worker, Yaseen Khan, said a deafening explosion rocked the compound as Bilour shook hands with supporters.

General elections in Pakistan are set for July 25, with 342 seats in contention. ANP leader Iftikhar Hussain said the funeral prayers of Haroon Bilour will be offered on Wednesday at 5pm at Wazir Bagh in Peshawar.

The ANP and its ally the Pakistan Peoples Party were unable to campaign for the last general election in 2013 because of threats and attacks on their events and supporters by militant groups like the Taliban.

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"According to our initial investigation, it was a suicide attack and Haroon Bilour. was the target", police official Shafqat Malik told AFP.

Militants grew to despise the ANP when it ruled the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital, from 2008 to 2013.

Haroon Bilour's father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was killed by a suicide bomber during a meeting in 2012 ahead of the election in Qissa Khawani Bazaar of Peshawar. Fazlullah had claimed responsibility for most of the attacks against the ANP before the 2013 election on the grounds that it had supported an army offensive against the militants. Hospital officials feared the death toll might rise as several of the injured were in critical condition.

People took to the social media to show solidarity with the victims of terrorism soon after the tragic news broke.

But many militants have escaped into neighbouring Afghanistan, from where Islamabad says they launch attacks back into Pakistan.

"Political differences apart, all political parties and their candidates must be provided proper security during their election campaigns by the state", he said in a tweet.

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