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

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

At least 21 people including a leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), Haroon Bilour, were martyred in a suicide attack in Yakatoot area of Peshawar on Tuesday night.

Pakistani Taliban claim responsibility for targeting an election rally in Peshawar city that killed a prominent politician Haroon Bilour and wounded 65 others.

Another senior police official Kaukab Farooqi confirmed that the blast killed Bilour and injured 36 others.

Last month, a United States 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 military operations against the militants.

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 a national military spokesman warned of security threats ahead of national elections scheduled for July 25.

Bilour was a provincial assembly candidate for the July 25 general elections.

The deceased ANP candidate, who was set to contest the July 25 elections from Peshawar's PK-78 constituency, will be buried in Wazir Bagh at 5 pm today (Wednesday).

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Another resident, 82-year-old Saburo Yokoyama, said he was horrified when he saw floodwater flowing just outside his house. The Japan Meteorological Agency said as much as 10 centimetres of rain per hour fell on large parts of south-western Japan.

The Pakistan media reported that at least 8 kilograms of TNT was used in the blast.

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

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. He suffered serious injuries and was shifted to hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

Police, security forces and rescue teams rushed to the site and transported the injured to hospital.

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

But many militants have escaped into neighbouring Afghanistan, from where Islamabad says they launch attacks back into Pakistan.

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

Terming it the "peak of terrorism", ANP leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the attack is aimed at derailing democratic system in the country and a conspiracy to delay upcoming general elections.

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