Prominent local politician among Pakistan's bomb blast victims

Prominent local politician among Pakistan's bomb blast victims

Bomb disposal chief Shafqat Malik told AFP that the suicide bomber - who he said was around 16 years old - had eight kilogrammes of explosives and three kilogrammes of pellets, ball bearings and other shrapnel on his body. Bilour's father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was killed by a suicide bomber during a meeting in 2012 ahead of the election.

The ANP is a predominantly secular, ethnic Pashtun nationalist party, which has long competed with Islamist parties for votes in Pakistan's volatile Pashtun lands, along the border with Afghanistan.

Police said the bomber struck when Bilour was about to address some 200 supporters.

The ANP, which governed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province from 2008 to 2013, has been a continual target of militant groups operating in the northwest.

They have often been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban and their allies.

Militant organisations have claimed responsibility for attacks on several prominent political figures, including the assassination of former PM Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

The Election Commission has delayed the election on Peshawar's PK-78, from where ANP leader Haroon Bilour was contesting.

An AFP reporter saw human remains, shoes, broken chairs, and caps littered at the scene.

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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.

"I lost consciousness after the blast".

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

Another party worker, Yaseen Khan, said a deafening explosion rocked the compound as Bilour shook hands with supporters.

Major General Asif Ghafoor, an army spokesman, said 371,388 troops - almost a third of the total armed forces - would be deployed to provide security for the upcoming vote.

The Pakistani Taliban said the attack on Tuesday night was an act of revenge for the ANP's rule.

According to a tweet by Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Army Chief shared grief of Bilour family and ANP on condemnable targeting of Haroon Bilour & victims of heinous terrorist attack. Officials have said that while the threat remains, militants have been significantly weakened because of military operations in recent years.

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