ANP leader Haroon Bilour among 12 killed in Peshawar blast, police say

  • ANP leader Haroon Bilour among 12 killed in Peshawar blast, police say

ANP leader Haroon Bilour among 12 killed in Peshawar blast, police say

The attack on a meeting of the Awami National party (ANP) in Peshawar also injured almost 50 others, said city police chief Jamil Qazi.

His father, Bashir Bilour was also martyred in a suicide bombing targeting his rally in the fabled Qissa Khawani bazaar of Peshawar in December 2012.

Zulfiqar Ali Babakhel, a spokesman for the Lady Reading Hospital, confirmed the death toll from the blast saying that 47 wounded persons were brought to the hospital. Bilour was contesting the election from PK-78 Peshawar.

Rescue teams and law enforcement agencies have reached the site of the blast and investigations into the incident are now underway.

Haroon Bilour was one of the ANP's election candidates and belonged to an influential political family in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital.

Bomb disposal squad chief Shafqat Malik said eight kilos of TNT explosive was used in the blast.

The bomber blew himself up near Haroon Bilour during fireworks, police said. This is the second attack before Pakistan's assembly elections.

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

The Taliban have time and again threatened to target secular parties for what they call supporting the military action in tribal areas and the "war on terror".

The Pakistan Army announced on Tuesday it would deploy over 371,000 troops to ensure peaceful and fair and free elections on July 25.

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

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 ANP and its ally the Pakistan Peoples Party were unable to campaign for the last general election in 2013 because of threats and attacks on their events and supporters by terrorist groups like the Pakistani Taliban.

"Six people include Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan, Awami National Party leaders Asfandyar Wali and Ameer Haider Hoti, Qaumi Watan Party head Aftab Sherpao, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leader Akram Khan Durrani and Hafiz Saeed's son Talha Saeed".