ECP postpones election in PK-78 after Peshawar blast

Cheryl Sanders
July 11, 2018

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.

Haroon Bilour's father Bashir Ahmed Bilour was killed by a Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber in Peshawar in 2012.

‎"The death toll from last night's suicide attack has reached 20 while we have 65 injured, some of them in critical condition", Zulfiqar Ali Babakhel, a spokesman for Peshawar's main Lady Reading Hospital, told Reuters. The rally that was targeted had been organized by the anti-Taliban Awami National Party.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but there have been dozens of such bombings in recent years in Peshawar.

The bombing came hours after the Pakistan military spokesman warned about security threats ahead of the national elections.

Haroon Bilour, who was set to contest the July 25 elections from Peshawar's PK-78 constituency, will be buried in Wazir Bagh at 5pm today (Wednesday). The TTP spokesperson at the time, Ehsanullah Ehsan, had told journalists that Haroon was the target, but "unfortunately Ghulam Ahmed Bilour got injured".

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

The head of Peshawar city police also informed media representatives that some 8 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.

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

The ANP faced hostility from Islamic extremists when the party ruled the capital of Peshawar - the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province - from 2008 to 2013.

His body was later taken to Bilour House where party workers paid tributes to him.

This is the second terrorist attack on an election rally in Pakistan ahead of the July 25 general elections.

The Pakistani Taliban, a loosely aligned umbrella group of several militant and sectarian bands, has been waging a war against the Pakistani state for over a decade, killing tens of thousands of people.

Pakistan's Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza strongly condemned the attack.

Bilour's family called on his supporters to remain calm.

"This shows the weakness of our security institutions and a conspiracy against transparent elections", he said in a statement.

Other reports by iNewsToday