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20 killed, 66 injured in suicide blast at Pakistan election rally

The powerful blast, which also injured 66 people, took place when ANP leader Haroon Bilour, who was contesting elections from PK-78 constituency in Peshawar city, along with other party workers had gathered for a corner meeting in the congested Yakatoot area.

Peshawar: A senior secular leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) and 19 others were killed when a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up in an election rally in Pakistan’s northwestern Peshawar city, the second terrorist attack on a political rally ahead of the July 25 general elections, reports said on Wednesday.

The powerful blast, which also injured 66 people, took place when ANP leader Haroon Bilour, who was contesting elections from PK-78 constituency in Peshawar city, along with other party workers had gathered for a corner meeting in the congested Yakatoot area. The eight kg TNT explosive was exploded near Bilour’s vehicle.

Bilour was the son of the late ANP leader Bashir Bilour, who was also killed in a similar suicide attack when a Taliban bomber blew himself up at a party meet in Peshawar in 2012. The attack was claimed by banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the TTP, identified the suicide bomber as Mujahid Abdul Karim, who targeted ANP leader Bilour.

Earlier this month, seven people including a candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal were injured in an explosion during an election rally near Takhtikhel also in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, reports said.

Bilour was laid to rest in Syed Hasan Pir Graveyard after thousands of people, including ANP leaders and activists, attended his funeral at Wazir Bagh in Peshawar. A three-layer security plan had been derived for the funeral procession. The Election Commission has postponed the polls in PK-78 constituency, and the new schedule will be announced later.

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  • The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) told a Senate standing committee that some leading political leaders faced death threats from militant outfits ahead of the general elections in the country.
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