12 killed in election rally in NW Pakistan

Suicide bomber targets nationalist ANP rally in Peshawar, killing party’s provincial assembly candidate
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: At least 12 people including a provincial assembly candidate were killed and 35 wounded when a suicide bomber targeted a campaign rally in northwestern Pakistan Tuesday evening, officals said.
According to the police, the accident took place in Yakatoot in the city of Peshawar, where the Awami National Party (ANP), a local nationalist party, was holding a rally.
“Apparently it was a suicide attack and the bomber blew himself up near [candidate] Haroon Bilour,” Atiq Shah, a local police officer, told reporters.
Bilour, a provincial assembly candidate for the July 25 general elections, died after being transported to the Lady Reading Hospital in critical condition, hospital spokesman Zulfiqar Babakhel told Anadolu Agency.
Some of the 35 injured are in critical condition, he added.
Haroon Bilour was the son of Bashir Bilour, a prominent ANP leader and former senior minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, who was also killed in a 2012 suicide attack.
No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for previous attacks on ANP leaders in the province.
The attack follows a roadside bomb going off near an election rally in Bannu district last week, injuring seven people, including a Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) provincial assembly candidate.
Peshawar borders the Khyber district, once a stronghold of Pakistani militants. The area was cleared after military operation last July, and Pakistan’s army says hundreds of militants fled to border areas of Afghanistan.
Pakistani authorities claimed that those who fled from Pakistani tribal areas established hideouts in Afghanistan’s Kunar, Noristan and Nangrahar provinces, from where they carry out attacks in Pakistan.
Last month Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah was killed in a U.S. drone strike in the Kunar province.–AA

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