Monday, 12 November, 2018

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

Suicide bomber kills ANP candidate, supporters at election rally Suicide bombing kills at least 12 at Pakistan political rally
Deanna Wagner | 11 July, 2018, 08:08

Bilour's father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was killed by a suicide bomber during a meeting in 2012 ahead of the election. According to the sources, 47 people got injured in the blast and now are under treatment at Lady Ready Hospital in Peshawar.

The Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) confirmed that it was a suicide blast.

The police officer did not confirm the nature of the blast, however, a local ANP leader while talking to DawnNewsTV said that a suicide bomber blew himself when Bilour entered the compound where the meeting was being held.

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. "Moreover, there are threats to senior leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz", Nacta director Obaid Farooq said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Interior.

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. Some people were seen crying.

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The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the attack. But many militants have escaped to neighbouring Afghanistan, from where Islamabad alleges they launch attacks inside Pakistan.

Police chief Jameel said the number of casualties was high because the ANP event was taking place at a house in a narrow street. "The last thing I saw was a big ball of fire", he said. The TTP spokesperson at the time, Ehsanullah Ehsan, had told journalists that Haroon was the target, but "unfortunately Ghulam Ahmed Bilour got injured".

Last month, a U.S. 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.

Following the incident, the Election Commission of Pakistan postponed the polls in PK-78 constituency. Officials have said that while the threat remains, terrorists have been significantly weakened because of military operations in recent years.