Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Son of slain anti-Taliban politician among 20 dead in Pakistan blast

Son of slain anti-Taliban politician among 20 dead in Pakistan blast Son of slain anti-Taliban politician among 20 dead in Pakistan blast
Melinda Barton | 11 July, 2018, 09:51

Officer Iqbal Khan says the bomber struck a Tuesday night rally for Haroon Ahmed Bilour, an Awami National Party candidate for a provincial seat.

Confirming Haroon Bilour's martyrdom, the spokesman said that Haroon's son, Danial Bilour, was safe. The military waged a major offensive against militants in the Swat Valley in 2009.

Reacting to the incident, Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (r) Nasirul Mulk, Senate Standing Committee on Interior Chairman Rehman Malik, Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif and supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, as well as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, condemned the attack and death of the ANP leader.

The ANP was the main target of Taliban attacks in the 2013 election campaign, during which a senior party leader, Bashir Bilour, was killed in a suicide bombing.

This is the second attack before Pakistan's assembly elections.

Local television channels broadcast live scenes of ambulances arriving at the site and rushing victims to the hospital.

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. Hospital officials feared the death toll might rise as several of the injured were in critical condition.

Last month, a U.S. drone strike killed the Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah, who had claimed responsibility for most of the attacks against the ANP in the 2013 election on the grounds that it had supported operations against the militants. Reportedly, 65 people were wounded in the attack. Emergency was declared in all the hospitals of the city.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the first major pre-election violence.

"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.

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 Peshawar High Court Bar Association has announced a boycott of court proceedings to express sympathy with the bereaved families.