Slain ANP leader Haroon Bilour's funeral prayer offered in Peshawar
12 July, 2018, 08:25 | Author: Lucille Rivera
A suicide bombing at an election rally killed at least 13 people, including a politician, in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, police said, amid concerns about security ahead of national polls later this month.
"The death toll has risen to 20 and 63 others were wounded, out of whom 35 are still admitted in two Peshawar hospitals", Peshawar police chief Qazi Jameel told AFP.
The blast happened as he arrived at the event, said Shahzad Kukab, superintendent of police.
The ANP governed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province from 2008 to 2013.
Tuesday's attack came hours after the military said it would deploy more than 3,70,000 security forces to polling stations to ensure free, fair and transparent national elections on 25 July.
The attacker detonated his explosive belt close to the ANP leader's vehicle as he approached a rally organised to promote his election in the Yakatoot area of the provincial capital.
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Local authorities said a preliminary investigation concluded that the attack was targeted on Bilour and that "a young boy blew himself up at the main entrance of the gathering when Bilour entered the venue", Dawn newspaper reports.
The ANP candidate was set to contest the July 25 elections from Peshawar's PK-78 constituency. His body was later shifted to Bilour House where ANP workers gathered in great numbers to pay respect to their deceased leader.
The PakistaniTaliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Emergency was declared in all the hospitals of the city.
People took to the social media to show solidarity with the victims of terrorism soon after the tragic news broke. "Moreover, there are threats to senior leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz", Nacta director Obaid Farooq said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Interior.
Bilour's family called on his supporters to remain calm.
Responding to a question about the deadly attack on the party leader, "These are terrorists we are dealing with".
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