ECP postpones election in PK-78 after Peshawar blast

11 July, 2018, 12:43 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Haroon Bilour was approaching the rally organised in connection with his election campaign on Circular Road when the explosion took place

His father Bashir Bilour, one of the ANP's top leaders, was also killed by a suicide bomber in 2012.

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

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.

Following the incident, the Election Commission of Pakistan postponed the polls in PK-78 (Peshawar-XIII) constituency.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday's attack.

The ANP, which governed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province from 2008 to 2013, has been targeted by the TTP for carrying out operations against militant outfits in the northwestern region of Pakistan and being secular in its ideology.

The party has been targeted by Islamist militants in the past over its vocal opposition to extremist groups like the Taliban.

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This was the first major attack on a campaign event for the July 25 general election. That is more than five times the number of troops deployed during the last elections in 2013, when the security situation was much worse. He said the deployment was requested by the elections oversight body.

Almost 135,000 of the troops have been called up from retirement. "People should vote for the candidate of their choice, without any fear", he added.

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

"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.

Global and Pakistani rights groups have recently accused the army and its intelligence agency of intimidating media outlets in an attempt to stifle criticism of the military, accused by some of seeking to play a dominant role in the country's politics.

‎"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. Earlier, Pakistan's military warned of security threats in the run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled for July 25.

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