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Death toll in Pakistan rally attack climbs to 21

11 July 2018, 04:35 | Devin Moran

Pakistani relative mourn the death of their family member at a hospital in Peshawar Credit Muhammad Sajjad AP

Pakistani relative mourn the death of their family member at a hospital in Peshawar

Twenty people, including Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour, were killed and over 30 others were injured in a suicide attack targetting an election gathering in Pakistan's northwestern Peshawar city on Tuesday.

Police official Shafqat Malik told AFP news agency that "according to our initial investigation, it was a suicide attack and Haroon Bilour was the target". Mr Bilour was taken to hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.

A case over the incident has been registered at police station Agha Mir Jani Shah with SHO Wajid Ali as the complainant.

The ECP said that elections have been postponed due to the death of the PK-78 candidate, adding that the new schedule for the said constituency will be announced soon.

"I am also ready to sacrifice my life for your rights, but I request you to exercise restraint", Bilour's 16-year-old son Daniyal, who was wounded in the bombing, told supporters at his home.

According to police, a suicide attacker entered a corner meeting of the ANP leader and blew himself up.

He said around eight kilograms of explosive material was used in the attack.




The politicians facing security threats included the former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief ministers Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Akram Durrani and ANP's Ameer Haider Hoti. The military waged a major offensive against militants in the Swat Valley in 2009.

On July 4, NACTA Director Obaid Farooq while briefing a sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior had said, "We have received as many as 12 threat alerts which are about leadership of political parties, including the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and six personalities can be targeted during elections".

The body of Haroon Bilour was later shifted to Bilour House where ANP workers gathered in great numbers to pay respect to their deceased leader.

Peshawar hospital official Zulfiqar Babakhel confirmed the updated death toll.

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

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

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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